Tag Archives: best steaks in San Francisco

Mushroom Burger (Lark Creek Steak)

Best Mushroom Burger – Lark Creek Steak

Awesome Mushroom Burger, Lark Creek Steak
Awesome Mushroom Burger, Lark Creek Steak

My favorite mushroom burger of 2009 (to date) is Lark Creek Steak’s mushroom steakburger. Their beef preparation should be copied by others: they use an open, wood-fire grill to cook their burgers. Their top-quality ingredients are evident by taste, and they precisely cut the portions of lettuce, pickle, and onion so that they actually fit within the burger’s radius. Hearty, healthy, high-minded ingredients all make this steakburger a great one. The fat-cut fries are really good, too.

Why Lark Creek Steak’s burgers are so good: 


  • meat is not ground chuck (typical, low-cost burger meat)
  • meat is trimmed from regular Lark Creek Steak steaks (filet mignon, New York strips, sirloin, etc.)
  • meat is double-ground, making it extremely soft and tender
  • meat is ground fresh, sometimes 3 or 4 times daily (depending upon demand)


  • burgers are grilled over open wood fire for slightly smoked, healthier grill flavors (not over flat surface that accumulates grease and fat)


  • button mushrooms are roasted and semi-sweet, perfect in flavor
  • quality Swiss cheese, well-melted over the burger & mushrooms
  • terrific buns; toasted on the inside slightly (so condiments don’t make bun soft inside) and served warm
  • burger accoutrements are perfectly proportioned and flavorful (butter lettuce has more flavor than typical iceberg lettuce; pickles are crisp and long-sliced to fit flat across burger;  red onion is also well-sliced and grilled to mildly caramelize flavors)

The Grade: Awesome  (highest grade)

The Damage: $14.95

The Skinny: Lark Creek Steak

Westfield® San Francisco Centre
845 Market Street, 4th Floor, Ste 402
San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone: (415) 593-4100

Reservations: http://www.larkcreek.com/larkcreek_steak/index.html

Mon.-Fri. 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Sat. & Sun. 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Mon.-Thurs. 5:30 pm – 9 pm
Fri. 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sat. 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Sun. 5:00 pm – 9 pm


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 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 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

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
(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