Category Archives: San Francisco CA restaurant

Burger (Filet Burger, Frisee Restaurant, SF)

FILET (MIGNON) BURGER

THE SPOT: FRISEE RESTAURANT, SAN FRANCISCO CA

Frisee restaurant is one of those places that you discover, bring friends to, they pass it along, and so on, but it doesn’t get enough good press. So eat there now, whilst you can. The décor is lime-fresh, with a small counter in front of high windows looking out onto Market Street, and seating lined down a long banquette that feels like a groovy lounge.

But it’s not so hipster that you can’t bring your Mom to enjoy a meal there. That’s because Frisee staffs genuinely nice (but not overbearing), professional, and caring servers. Even if you’ve never been there, they make you feel like you’re coming back to a friend’s house. The staff, the food, the cool hidden gem vibe all make Frisee a great find and a great place to chow when you’ve got that burger urge.

Filet Burger with Kinnebec fries, Frisee, SF
Filet Burger with Kinnebec fries, Frisee, SF

THE DISH: FILET BURGER

So we’ve been on a steady burger diet, for the benefit of the people and Mr. Kite, and among San Francisco’s burger purveyors, we’ve got to rank Frisee among the top (so far). One thing that makes Frisee’s burger more enticing from the get-go is its plush menu vocabulary. To wit: All-natural (hormone-free, antibiotic-free), grass-fed, filet mignon hamburger.

Be still my bloody heart.

But there’s more. Point Reyes blue cheese, toasted red onion, tomato relish, butter lettuce, Dijon mustard and mayo on an onion roll. Wow…seriously?

Plus, it comes with crisp, Kennebec fries topped with a balsamic drizzle. Compare the Filet Burger @ Frisee by price and value to other burgs in town, and you’d be hard pressed to eat burgers anywhere else in SF. (Prove me wrong.)

The Filet Burger is available during brunch, lunch, or dinner.

THE GRADE: AWESOME (5 out of 5)

THE DAMAGE: $14 lunch; $15 dinner

THE SKINNY: FRISEE RESTAURANT

2367 Market Street, San Francisco CA

Phone: 415-568-1616

Menus: http://www.friseerestaurant.com/Menu/menu.html

Hours: Mon – Fri Dinner only 5:30pm to 10:00pm

Sat & Sunday Brunch 10:30am to 3:00pm

Sat Dinner 5:30 to 11:00; Sun Dinner 5:30 to 9:00

Frisee Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Burger (Burger Meister, San Francisco CA)

The Dish: Mushroom & Onion Burger

The “Meisterburgers” begin with great meat, and a substantial amount of it: half a pound of Niman Ranch beef. (If you prefer turkey, they have 1/3 pound turkey burgers as an option.) Your burger comes paired with a generous topping pile: a flag of green lettuce, blushing tomato slice, red onion, and crisp pickles. You also get a choice of coleslaw, salad mix, or fries. While the slaw was decent, I’d recommend the salad or the fries instead. I’d bolster up with some cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper jack, Swiss, or blue cheese) for just 0.75 more.

Mushroom & Onion Burger, BurgerMeister, SF
Mushroom & Onion Burger, BurgerMeister, SF


Since burgers at Burger Meister are totally customizable, I was tempted to add some blue cheese to my mushroom & onion burger. It was a very good burger, bordering on great. But because Burger Meister provides free toppings that include red onion (not grilled), I felt that ordering a burger with onion was redundant. My poor big, free red onion sat alone and uneaten, whilst the grilled red onion got all my love and attention. Ugh, guilt over onions.

So next time, I’ll opt for another burger and leverage the onions that came to the dance.

One more note about sauciness and customization: everyone likes to make a burger to their taste, and at BurgerMeister, every counter and table has a cardboard beer bottle holder with six bottles of hot sauces, steak sauces, and condiments ready for the spillage. BurgerMeister is actually that place where you can have it–it being a memorable burger–your way. Kudos to that.

The Grade: Very Good (2 out of 5) (Other burgers would probably merit higher grades, but those will be judged individually)

The Damage: $8.75; Add 0.75 for your choice of cheese

The Spot: Burger Meister is a Bay Area favorite, for good reason. They make a pretty mean burger. From this basic American mouth-melter, they’ve built a small chain of five chop-beef-shops. This review is of the little Burger Meister in the Castro, on Church Street.

Burger Meister and Punk, San Francisco
Burger Meister and Punk, San Francisco

The Skinny: Burger Meister, Bay Area (5 Locations)

138 Church Street, SF CA 94114

11 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week

Website: http://www.burgermeistersf.com/

Burger list: http://www.burgermeistersf.com/menu.php

Burgermeister on Urbanspoon

Beef Bavette (Baraka, San Francisco CA)

The Spot: Baraka, San Francisco CA (Potrero Hill)

The Dish: Creekstone Farms Natural Beef Bavette

Incredible. Decadent. Unbelievably good.

The beef bavette at Baraka is that rare meal that can revive the glory of food and life in any dispirited soul. Certainly one of the best meat dishes I’ve enjoyed in 2008, Baraka’s beef bavette (a tender steak cut from the flap of the beef loin) is the kind of meal you daydream about obsessively until you realize you have to eat it again or you will confound the daily rhythms of your life.

The parsley bone marrow butter alone—glazed across the beautiful, fairly large portion of beef bavette—should get your heart racing after the first bite. It’s a rich and sumptuous touch that deifies perfect, medium-rare beef. As with the other dishes I’ve tried at Baraka, Chef Chad Newton blends flavors that successfully juxtapose each other in the palate. There’s the earthy, slightly bitter baby Savoy spinach, mildly sweet, white cippolini onions cooked sous-vide, and decadent, tender braised beef cheeks stuffed into a beef bone. The sauce bordelaise—which combines bone marrow, dry red wine, shallots, and demi-glace—is a superb complement as a lush moat around the beef, which sits squarely atop the spinach between the beef bone tower and the smaller stack of cippolinis in a cool, very architectural presentation.

This is the best beef bavette I’ve had in the past 5 years; a simply phenomenal dish. The only slight critique I might suggest would be to relocate the baby Savoy spinach to the side instead of beneath the bavette, simply because the crispness of greens stand out more when shielded a bit from the beef juices and sauce.

As described on the menu: Creekstone Farms Natural Beef Bavette – Braised Beef Cheeks, Baby Savoy Spinach, Parsley Bone Marrow Butter, Sous Vide Cippolinis, Bordelaise

The Grade: Sterling Awesome/Phenomenal (5 out of 5)

The Damage: $27 (quite a bargain, relative to other SF restaurant prices)

The Skinny: Baraka
288 Connecticut Street (at 18TH Street)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone:
(415) 255-0370
Dinner only, Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm to 10:00pm; Fridays/Saturdays 5:30pm to 11:00pm

Chef: Chad Newton (former Sous Chef at Postrio)

Sous Chef: Ashton Mullikin (worked with New Orleans greats Susan Spicer, Andrew Jaeger)

Baraka website: http://www.sfbaraka.com/

Open Table: Baraka online reservations

Baraka on Urbanspoon

Pork Belly (Baraka, San Francisco CA)

PORK BELLY

The Dish: Slow-Roasted Pork Belly

For meat lovers, pork belly is clearly in the meaty appetizer Pantheon. And, in keeping with its perennially high commodity market valuation status, pork belly is nearly always served in frustratingly miniscule portions. (It’s still hard for me to take Wall Street financial commentators in pin-striped suits seriously when they soberly converse about the fluctuating price of pork bellies, but it’s one of the few remaining amusing ironies of capitalism.)

Fantastic Pork Belly, Baraka SF
Fantastic Pork Belly, Baraka SF

Again, Baraka in San Francisco delivers a most welcome surprise with its slow-roasted pork belly appetizer, both in terms of quantity (about 4 times the amount of belly you’ll usually get) and quality. In the large cut portion, the belly is meatier and fleshier and has more hints of ham in flavor than other, smaller pork belly appetizers.

While Baraka’s pork belly does not have the de facto crisped skin, that’s no detriment to the overall delight. The dish has a marvelous and savory balance of flavors, with the combination of earthy lentils, slightly sweet Anchor Steam Porter foam, and a bit of warm crunch from the braised trotters (the more pleasant British term for pig’s feet/ankles). This will rank as one of my favorite appetizers in San Francisco for this year.

Described on the menu: Slow Roasted Pork Belly – Braised Trotters, De Puy Lentils, Anchor Steam Porter Foam

The Grade: Sterling (5 out of 5)

Also could be described as excellent or exceptional.

The Damage: $11

An incredible value for the price, the pork belly appetizer is definitely generous enough to share.

The Skinny: Baraka
288 Connecticut Street (at 18TH Street)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 255-0370
Dinner only, Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm to 10:00pm; Fridays/Saturdays 5:30pm to 11:00pm

Chef:  Chad Newton (former Sous Chef at Postrio)

Sous Chef: Ashton Mullikin (worked with New Orleans greats Susan Spicer, Andrew Jaeger)

Baraka website: http://www.sfbaraka.com/

Open Table: Baraka online reservations

Baraka on Urbanspoon

Bone Marrow (Baraka, San Francisco CA)

Bone Marrow

The Dish: Roasted Beef Bone Marrow

If you indeed enjoy the marrow, prepare to swoon. Baraka (in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill) makes the best beef bone marrow dish I’ve had yet; it’s utterly fantastic. Generous portions of bone marrow are served inside three large bones; the tiny spoon and plate of warm toast points arrive simultaneously. The wonderful marrow plate here at Baraka is due to a combination of compelling contrasts: pickled mushrooms and crisp watercress. The mushrooms vary by season—sometimes chanterelles, sometimes decadent morels—but the pickling is a clever approach that counter-balances the entire palate.

Roasted Beef Bone Marrow, Baraka restaurant, SF
Roasted Beef Bone Marrow, Baraka restaurant, SF

Slathering a rich meaty glob in the lush cabernet wine reduction, then rummaging up a bit of pickled mushroom and crisp, refreshing watercress on the toast yields a true mouthful of ecstasy. If  you like meaty things, it’s almost embarrassing how dog-like you may become in your avid scooping (or sucking) of the last marrow bits from the bone.

Described on the menu: Roasted Beef Bone Marrow – Pickled Yellowfoot Chanterelles, Sausalito Springs Watercress, Cabernet Reduction.

The Grade: Sterling (5 out of 5)

There will be few bone marrow dishes as delicious as at Baraka.

The Damage: $9

This is a glorious (albeit slightly gluttonous) appetizer for just $9. Think of how expensive so many ‘small plates’ restaurants are and consider the bone marrow at Baraka. Every meat lover in San Francisco should go to Baraka and order this thing.

The Skinny: Baraka
288 Connecticut Street (at 18th Street)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 255-0370
Dinner only, Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm to 10:00pm; Fridays/Saturdays 5:30pm to 11:00

Chef:  Chad Newton (former Sous Chef at Postrio)

Sous Chef: Ashton Mullikin (worked with New Orleans greats Susan Spicer, Andrew Jaeger)

Baraka website: http://www.sfbaraka.com/

Open Table: Baraka online reservations


Baraka on Urbanspoon

Filet Mignon (RNM, San Francisco CA)

RNM Restaurant, San Francisco, CA

The Dish: Filet Mignon

It’s hard to pass up a good filet mignon and RNM serves up a great one. The size of the steak is quite hearty. It’s a very nice plating, with an architectural stacking of onions and toast, steak, and the Upland cress, which look ready to launch off the steak platform at any moment. The sweet gorgonzola and wine demi-glace are perfectly balanced. Softness, sweetness, chewiness, crunch…it’s really a superior steak. Described on the menu as: Sautéed filet mignon on toasted pain levain with dolce gorgonzola, cippolini onions, cabernet demi glace and upland cress.

The Damage: $26

The Grade: Sterling (5 out of 5)

B-Sides + Killer Apps:

Here’s what I recommend as a starter for your steak at RNM Restaurant, San Francisco. Described on the menu as Grilled hearts of romaine with Fuji apples; Saint Agur cheese; toasted hazelnuts and a champagne vinaigrette.

This is one of my favorite salads in San Francisco: a very simple and delicious first plate. Like the filet mignon, it has a salty, sweet, crunchy glide…a great combination of flavor in perfect harmony.

The Damage: $9

The Grade: Sterling (5 out of 5)

RNM on Urbanspoon

RNM Restaurant – San Francisco, CA – Restaurant Review

RNM Restaurant, San Francisco

There are just a few restaurants I really love in the Lower Haight, and RNM is one of them. I’ve always eaten very well at RNM, and because it’s off the beaten tourist paths, it’s a great place for in-the-know tourists to dine in San Francisco. The food is consistently excellent, and I consider the portions generous, and a fair value for the prices.

The Vibe: RNM has an understated urban interior that’s clean but not boring, slick but not pretentious. It’s sophisticated but not trendy, just very tasteful interior design.

The Service: The service at RNM has been generally fine but not exceptional. An example: the last time we visited, our waitress was not very knowledgeable about distinctions between wine offerings on the wine list…seems like an obvious thing she should know. Not a huge letdown because the food rocked.

The Skinny: RNM restaurant

598 Haight Street (at Steiner)

San Francisco CA 94117

Phone: (415).551-7900

RNM website: http://www.rnmrestaurant.com/

Dinner Only 5:30 to 10:00pm, Tues – Thurs; 5:30 to 11:00pm Fridays & Saturdays.

Owner/Chef: Justine Miner

Reserve a table at RNM via OpenTable

Read Yelp reviews of RNM