Posts Tagged ‘best steaks in SF’

Beef Bavette (Spruce, SF)

Beef Bavette

The grilled beef bavette steak at Spruce is thick-sliced and flayed out like meaty arrows. dipped in Bordelaise and ready to pierce your taste buds. What an amazing steak;  this is one of the best of 2009. The richness of Bordelaise (sauce made from bone marrow, red wine, and broth) soaking the beef bavette can make your eyes roll back when you chew. Spruce’s bavette is paired with duck fat potatoes, which are terrific, and a seasonal vegetable.  A simple and fantastic dish, and a perfectly grilled steak.

Grilled Beef Bavette - Spruce, SF

Grilled Beef Bavette - Spruce, SF

The Spot: Spruce

Spruce itself is one of the smartest designed restaurants in San Francisco. Opulent but coolly so, every table comfortable and distant enough from neighbors to make you feel your party is the only one there. And faux-ostrich dining chairs…they should sell them.  Comfortable, plush, dark, romantic, Spruce is a great place for dinner. And there are great small tables in the bar area if you don’t have a reservation. 

The Grade: Awesome/Phenomenal 

(highest grade)

The Damage: $30

The Skinny: Spruce

3640 Sacramento Street, San Francisco CA
Phone: (415) 931-5100
Website: http://www.sprucesf.com/
Hours: Lunch M – F 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner nightly 5 – 10pm
Chef: Mark Sullivan 

Make a reservation at Spruce via Open Table

 
If you want to try a Bordelaise yourself, here’s a decent recipe (not from Spruce): Steak with Sauce Bordelaise

Rib Eye Steak (Town Hall, SF)

Niman Ranch Rib eye Steak 

Niman Ranch Rib Eye Steak, Town Hall, SF

Niman Ranch Rib Eye Steak, Town Hall, SF

Town Hall, San Francisco CA

As much as we might belabor the point, a truly superior steak is actually far harder to find than it should be. There are a slew of pretty decent steaks out there, but if you consider the steaks you’ve eaten in the past 5 years that sear your memory like grill marks, I’ll bet the farm you won’

t have many to report. I am happy to share, however, that the Niman Ranch rib eye at Town Hall is in that exceptional beast who deserves a place in the pantheon of the best steaks in the San Francisco Bay Area.

With great meat, as the Argentineans will show you, you don’t need to get too fancy. Just honor the beef. Salt, grill, a little gravy, voila.And that’s what Town Hall’s chefs do here, taking a fine (and generously sized) piece of meat from Niman Ranch and, without much gussying up, delivering a stellar dining experience. Perfectly seared hash marks on the outside, enough fat for flavor but not so much that you start getting self-conscious about how much you’re spitting out, and a mild but flavorful gravy/jus that honors the true flavor of the beef. Everyone making steaks in this town should come down and use this as their benchmark.

Seasonal pairings with the rib eye vary. My rib eye came with absolutely fabulous mac-n-cheese croquettes that had a crisp exterior crunch and a hot carbo-cheese interior that ignites the shivering soul.  Mac-n-cheese croquettes? Really, that’s warped enough to be considered visionary. (Maybe it came from somewhere else, but who cares…these are awesome little poppers. And if they don’t come with the rib eye, they’re usually available as a side for $6.)

The last item on the plate offered a shock of fallen green. The verdant broccolini bouquet sat diagonally across the steak like mislaid compass points, or like beautiful flowers resting on a grave after a very focused toss: with the sort of sacred decorum that’s understood in places like Paris, New Orleans, and Buenos Aires but not always everywhere else. But it seems certainly understood, and honored, at Town Hall.

The Damage: $31

The Grade: Exceptional / Awesome (5 out of 5)

The Skinny: Town Hall

342 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA

Phone: (415) 908-3900

Website: http://www.townhallsf.com/

Town Hall on Urbanspoon

FILET MIGNON (Chez Spencer, SF)

FILET MIGNON

Filet Mignon with morels, truffle butter, Chez Spencer, SF CA

Filet Mignon with morels, truffle butter, Chez Spencer, SF CA

THE DISH: FILET MIGNON (with morel mushrooms and truffle butter)

Chez Spencer serves up one of the best steaks in the San Francisco Bay Area, certainly among my favorite steaks for 2008. Just reading the ingredients on the menu is likely to make you drool: morel mushrooms and white truffle oil gravy….whew, why didn’t I know about this steak before last year? When people describe certain foods as ‘orgasmic’ or ‘like sex on a plate,’ include the morel-truffle drunk filet mignon at Chez Spencer among them. It is one awesome steak.

THE SPOT: Chez Spencer

Chez Spencer is a romantic little French restaurant hideaway in a funky, grungy stretch of city that conjoins South Van Ness and the Mission District. Chez Spencer has been around for some years, but still feels like a San Francisco secret. it really should be among everyone’s “best” lists — best steak, best romantic dinner, you name it.  

The indoor decor of Chez Spencer is light and spartan, with white walls and a bowed timber beam-crossed ceilings.  Go on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night to benefit from terrific atmosphere music from a blind fellow who plays the standup piano in the front corner of the bar. The acoustics in this converted space are sweet.

THE GRADE: Awesome, exceptional (5 out of 5)
THE DAMAGE: $ 29
THE SKINNY: Chez Spencer
82 – 14th St (near South Van Ness) San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 864-219
Website: http://www.chezspencer.net
Chez Spencer on Urbanspoon

Filet Mignon (Colibri Mexican Bistro, SF)

The Word: I’ve eaten at Colibri Mexican Bistro numerous times over the last 2 years, and every dish I sampled has been superb. This restaurant is very much under the radar as far as SF foodies go. It’s not garnered a heap of critical praise and–thankfully– is not trendy enough to be overrun by hipsters. Which makes Colibri a great place for those in the know, craving a great meal.

The Dish: Filet Mignon
The perfectly succulent filet mignon at Coilbri Mexican Bistro arrives topped by an ancho chili cap stuffed with seasonal goat cheese. The steak sits atop beautifully mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach in a small fiery pond of chipotle chile sauce. It’s not a huge in size (really, only a few filet mignons will be), but it’s definitely huge on taste. It’s a phenomenally delicious meal, and feels like a real value for the price.

The Damage: $18

The Grade: Sterling (5 out of 5)
The rich filet mignon definitely pulls our highest marks. It’s the kind of steak you have, and two weeks later you think about it and find saliva on your chin.

Filet Mignon - Colibri Mexican Bistro, SF

B-Sides + Killer Apps: Fresh Guacamole, Tortillas, and Spicy Salsas
This is one of the few places where your waiter/waitress will come tableside to wield the mortar and pestle and smash up some fresh guacamole for you. There’s plenty guacamole for 2 or 3 people to share. It’s a fun presentation, and comes with a generous heap of fresh tortillas and sauces of varying hotness.

The Damage: $10

Fresh Guacamole & Salsas

The Skinny: Colibri Mexican Bistro
438 Geary St (at Mason St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 440-2737
Lunch, Dinner, and Weekend Brunch
Website: www.colibrimexicanbistro.com

Reserve via OpenTable http://www.opentable.com/single.aspx?rid=3326&ref=1244

Colibri Mexican Bistro on Urbanspoon

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