(Note: These restaurants have changed quite a bit. This old review remains until I revisit and provide a new description.)
Bobo's Lounge (now Bobo’s Burger Bar) 1434 Lombard St./Van Ness Ave., in the Marina, San Francisco, (415) 683-7007.
After a spectacular afternoon spent at the nearby Marina Green, Wave Organ, and Palace of Fine Arts, we headed here for refreshment. Judging from the outside of this bar, I wasn’t expecting such accomplished cuisine. Turns out charming chef-owner Andrea Froncillo has a past filled with experience that includes previously owning and chefing at Bobo’s Steakhouse (see below), and so the kitchen turns out delicious items and capably matches them with wonderful libations. Extensive appetizers and small plates include mild Shishito Peppers (I enjoyed this with a beautiful and tasty orange Italian Spritzer made with Prosecco and Aperol liqueur, recipe), perfect Poached Shrimp & Seaweed (these are really gigantic prawns and the seaweed greatly enhances the dish), Asian fusion Italian Potstickers (stuffed with sausage and flavored with mint and black sesame seeds), and a meaty crab chowder paired deliciously with a light, peachy Vioginier. For the “Main Event” plates, we delighted in a more serious whole-fried Branzino Chinese (striped sea bass) and a plate of supremely tasty American Kobe steak (wagyu) sliced in bite-size pieces and served with creamy smashed potatoes that had been flattened with a skillet and then fried to perfection. The paired Angeline Pinot Noir was perfecto. And all the while Frank, Dean, Louie, and the gang keep things melodically mellow. The bar’s interior is a step into the 50s past, with a crimson-and-gold harlequin decor featuring colorful Venetian theatrical and Cirque du Soleil masks, red-glass chandeliers, and banquette-lined walls. Our feast coincidentally, and magically, ended with Tony Bennett singing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” as we shared an apple crisp and a ginger-infused creme brulee paired with a grappa and port. I’ve also heard raves about the mac and cheese, cupcake lasagna, crab enchilada, baby lobster tails, lamb lollipops, baby octopus, baby back ribs, and a dessert of bombolini (mini Italian donuts) with warm chocolate ancho chili sauce, but the menu changes regularly and items come and go.
Bobo's Steakhouse 1450 Lombard St./Van Ness Ave., next door, (415) 441-8880. Reservations advised. D daily.
A few doors down, this posh three-floor restaurant is a traditional steak house. It is smallish, with red-and-black-striped accents, and offers cozy seating in an assortment of intimate rooms. Diners come for the a la carte dry-aged steaks (the bone-in filet is reputedly the best) and whole Dungeness crabs. Sides include twice-baked potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Mussels, shrimp, and even burrata (a fresh cheese from southern Italy) round out the menu.
More things to do in San Francisco
Way more things to do in San Francisco.
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers