Houston Restaurant Reviews

We love to eat, and we love to eat out.  Our friends frequently ask us for  dining recommendations, and we try to stay current with all the new restaurant openings.  We aren't professional restaurant critics, and our day jobs have nothing to do with the food or restaurant industry.  We pay for all our meals. 

There's just two of us, so we may only have the opportunity to visit a restaurant once before writing a review.  We won't  have been able to try a number of the menu items, so we invite you to share your experiences.   

Thank you for visiting our website, and happy dining! 
Crisp


Two sets of friends had recommended Crisp, a place we'd kind of heard about but not yet tried.  Seems like it's particularly popular for those who live in Shady Acres (just north of the Heights), kind of a neighborhood joint that tries, but somewhat misses, to turn out more than bar food.  Definitely a dining establishment, reservations are required.  And, of course, there's valet parking if you can't find something on the street.

We aren't typically too critical of limited wines by the glass but, for a place that touts its wine selection, the offerings are unimpressive.  We wished we'd understood the enomatic, vending machine style, higher quality wine offerings (1 oz, 3 oz, and 5 oz pours) when we'd started our meal as we weren't inclined to purchase the required "tasting card" (available in varying monetary denominations; we're told most people start with $20) when one of us just wanted one more glass of wine.  There's a large beer menu.  No hard alcohol.

We started with the mussels, generously served in a wine-based broth (no cream) that needed some additional flavor, perhaps more of the billed parsley pesto or anchovy butter.  The cheeseburger was the best thing we tried, although the requested medium rare came out as close to medium well.  (After mentioning this to our waitress -- we didn't send it back -- the manager came over and apologized, taking 1/2 off the price.)  The side of truffle fries, touted by the waitress, were neither hot or crispy.  The seared scallops were generously served and perfectly cooked (slightly underseasoned), but sat on a bed of short rib risotto that, like the mussels, needed an additional spark of flavor.  Maybe some salt, some herb.

If we lived in the neighborhood, we'd definitely be back as perhaps we didn't order the right things.  We'd try the enomatic wine service, the pizza, and the huge meatballs and spaghetti ordered by everyone at the table sitting next to us.  Not living nearby, however, means it may be a while before we get back.


2220 Bevis
713/360-0222
http://www.crisphouston.com/

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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 4/13/2014 3:01 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Punk's Simple Southern Food


Pretty much everything the Clark Cooper restaurant group does turns to gold, and it appears Punk's is no exception.  Located right next to the group's Coppa Osteria on Morningside in the new Rice Village mixed use complex, Punk's is a casual, family friendly spot with the usual suspects of comfort food offerings.

We had a reservation for 7:00 on a recent Saturday evening.  We arrived about a half hour early and were asked to wait at the bar, where we ended up dining since the hostess never came back for us.  (And we didn't appreciate being reported to Open Table as a "no show.")  No real harm, as the bar was a fun place to dine.  Good selection of bourbon and well made classic cocktails.  Slightly harried servers (as reflected in a mistaken order).

We started with the deep fried black eyed peas, a tasty riff on Coppa's fried chickpeas.  We polished those little gems off right quick.  The pimento cheese (with Ritz crackers) was also really good.  While we ordered the shrimp and oyster po'boy, we got just fried shrimp (no oysters), although copiously served and sided with a bag of potato chips.  It was the better of our two main dishes as we regret to inform that we weren't as impressed with the touted fried chicken.  Certainly, it tasted very good, but it didn't knock our socks off.  (Anyone for a trip to Barbecue Inn?)  On the other hand, the red eye gravy served on the mashed potatoes was unique and very well done, and we couldn't criticize the sides of a biscuit and a deviled egg.  We also tried the mac 'n cheese, a traditional version that reminded us a lot of Kraft's boxed offering (the kind with the foil packet of cheese sauce, not the powder variety).  That's not really a criticism since who doesn't like Kraft's.

Punk's is close to where we live, and we'll certainly be back to try more.  Let's see how the open air environment works as the days get hotter. 

5212 Morningside
713/524-7865
http://punkssimplesouthernfood.com/

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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 4/13/2014 2:31 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Cajun Kitchen


We're back in crawfish season here on the Gulf Coast and, despite the delay in this posting, we want to go on record that we discovered this restaurant (courtesy of an Asian friend) during last year's crawfish season.  Well before Allison Cook named it her favorite place for crawfish or Chris Shepherd called out the whole blue crab in Texas Monthly.  There's nothing fancy about the place but, when you're the only non-Asians in the restaurant, you know it's good.  Well, that was last year, and now the place has been discovered, and there may be new management.  But the crawfish were almost as good as last year.  We have had both the garlic butter and kitchen special style and recommend both, although the kitchen special has sauteed onions, oranges, and lemons which add a great taste addition to the basic garlic butter.  We also tried Thai basil which we liked but not as much as the kitchen special.  Medium spicey worked well for us.  Unfortunately, the fried rice had lost something from a year ago.  On the other hand, the grilled oysters (Vietnam style) were better, although perhaps a dollar or so pricier.  The service was very good whereas we'd had a couple nonchalant attitude experiences last year (thankfully, not reflected in the food).

Next up on our agenda is Crawfish House (recommended by the same Asian friend who says it's better than Cajun Kitchen).  We'll let you know if we agree.

Cajun Kitchen
6938 Wilcrest
(no website)

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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 4/13/2014 2:03 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Nara

Not that we were big fans of Katsuya, but we're hoping this restaurant has longer legs than its predecessor in West Ave.  Fortunately, Nara benefitted from the the Asian influence of Katsuya as the decor doesn't appear markedly different.  The sushi bar remains in the middle.  The rest of the menu is decidedly different, reflecting a mix of Asian influenced dishes with an emphasis on the owner's Korean heritage.

Don't expect the same dynamic as Houston's long-standing Korean restaurants.  There are no grills in the middle of the tables (replaced by trendy hot rocks brought from the kitchen) or multiple (banchan) side dishes.  Nor are the prices nearly as spender friendly as the long-standing Long Point locations.   (My Korean friend was shocked with the price we paid for a couple standard dishes.)  But this is in an upscale retail complex, and the restaurant describes itself as "Modern Korean."  (We understand there is a private dining area that includes the table grill.)

We didn't really come for the sushi.  We were going for the Korean offerings.  We tried an appetizer that we understand is inspired by a dish at Momofuku in NYC -- flat buns (bao), like little tacos, available with various fillings.  We tried the Spicy Pork Bulgogi (shredded pork collar, with cilantro and cucumber), which we enjoyed although it didn't knock our socks off.  We asked the waiter to bring us some sauces for the dish and, while we can't recall what they were, they added some needed zing.  More impressive was the pork belly bipimbap, a traditional Korean rice dish, served in a very hot stone bowl that cooks the raw egg that you stir into the dish, as well as the rice (creating a crispy lining).  The dish was quite tasty, although it was also enhanced by the sauces we'd received.  Probably our favorite dish was the Korean-style Shin Ramen, with squid and claims (could have been more seafood) in a lush red chili based broth.  (Our waiter described the dish as bold and didn't seem too excited about it, but we thought it was great.)  We finished nicely with the Crunchy Yellow Tail Roll.

We haven't had a chance to make it back, but we'll return for the Shin Ramen as well as to try some of the other dishes.  (Anyone for Bulgogi Pot Pie or whole Spicy Squid Quinoa?)

2800 Kirby Drive (in West Ave)
281/249-5944
http://www.narahouston.com/
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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 4/1/2014 3:23 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Caracol

Much anticipated, Caracol is the new restaurant from Tracy Vaught and Hugo Ortega (Backstreet, Hugo's, Prego).  Located in the new BBVA Compass building on Post Oak, the cuisine is Mexican-focused seafood.  (Aptly named, Caracol is Spanish for snail, although we didn't see any snails on the menu.)  This place has been jumping from the start, reservations are a must at least on weekends.  We've dined there twice, both on Saturday evenings, and the surprisingly large space (particularly compared to its neighbor, Osteria Mazzantini) has been packed both times.  There's an ample bar area, with an outside patio that will be lovely when the weather warms up.  We dined the second time at the bar (no reservations required), and it appeared all the seats were taken by diners.

It's clear everything has been extremely well thought out, from the creative cocktail menu to the food offerrings.    While there are plenty of wine choices (well-known sommelier Sean Beck guides this restaurant as he does the other Vaught/Ortega venues), we've thought the food worked well with the many tequila and agave cocktail offerrings; we've enjoyed the Gran Especial (classic margarita),Mountains to the Sea (a smoky, citrus mezcal and gin based cooler), and Past the Heather (a manhattan-style drink made with anejo tequila).

On both occasions, we sampled a number of small plates which seemed to be the approach taken by many of the diners around us.  Dreams are made of the wood fired, cooked in the shell, parmesan crusted oysters; having had half a dozen on our first visit, we ordered a dozen the second time.  The wood-roasted pork ribs were also two-timers for us as was the coal roasted eggplant puree.  And on our next visit, we'll go again for the crusty charred boneless pork foot with pickled vegetables.  The conch ceviche was beautifully presented but we wanted a little more citrus and chile.  The crispy tuna tacos were lovely bites of tuna, with guacamole and refried beans, in a soft flour tortilla.  The chicharron crusted calamari was a creative twist on that ubiquitous dish that we feel obliged to try at pretty much every restaurant that offers it.

Service was excellent.  It's clear the waitstaff has been well trained.  And management was walking the floor, keeping a careful eye on everyone.  Feel free to valet park, but there's validated parking in the very accessible covered garage attached to the building, with an elevator right near the restaurants.


2200 Post Oak Boulevard
713/622-9996
http://caracol.net
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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 2/16/2014 9:28 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Cove Cold Bar


It took us too long to make it to this restaurant within a restaurant at Haven.  Cove Cold Bar is the baby of its chef, Jean Phillipe Gaston, who artfully presents his virtually all raw dishes in a glassed in area near the front of Haven.  We called to make a reservation and the hostess graciously pointed us to a website where, at that time, for $95, we got a coupon for two six-course meals.  We were told that reservations were only available when having a multi-course meal and that seating was at the raw bar.  All that sounded good to us.

The menu is divided into a a number of cleverly titled categories -- Smalls, Bowls, Pacific, Americas, Europe/Med/Africa, Four Legs, Dairy and Stickies -- and the menu offerrings are well described within each category.  Our coupon let us order from all of the categories except Bowls and Dairy.  With three to four items in each category, we were able to try much of the menu which made for a great experience.  Sitting at the raw bar, we saw the chefs at work, armed with sushi knifes and tweezers, fronted by a huge palette of a multitude of tiny items to grace the various plates.
 
Understandably, the focus is on seafood.  There wasn't a miss among all the plates we tried.  Each dish was beautifully presented, with dabs of sauce and, depending on the dish, tiny pieces of chile, fruit, herbs, and veggies. There's clearly been alot of research and thought put into each plate.  Our favorites -- sashimi (Pacific), citrus marinated lionfish (Pacific), quick cured salmon (Americas), and the marinated and grilled octopus with a wonderful arugula aioli (Europe).  We enjoyed but weren't as impressed by the two Four Legs items we tried -- lamb heart carpaccio (kudos for the ambition and the effort to prepare the dish, starting with a frozen piece of heart, carefully sliced to order) and the classic steak tartare (overly seasoned).  The chocolate mousse was a lush ending to the meal.

Service was great.  They didn't try to rush us.  We ordered course by course.  And sipped on some tasty cocktails and beer, all of which paired well with the raw items.

2502 Algerian Way
713/581-6101
http://www.havenhouston.com/cove/

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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 2/16/2014 9:20 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Pizzeria Solario


On Wesleyan, right next to Costco, adjacent to a large apartment complex, sits Pizzeria Solario, formerly a coffee shop, now turned casual artisanal wood oven pizza spot.  There's limited indoor and outdoor seating, with the outside patio quite pleasant when the weather cooperates.  The wine selection, both by the glass and bottle, although limited, is reasonably priced.  Beer is also served.  When busy, parking can be limited, unless you walk from Costco.

Of the various appetizer and salad offerrings, our favorites are the olives al forno (marinated and baked in the oven) and the polpette (meatballs).  We weren't as impressed with the roasted peppers.  We also enjoyed the tricolore and anchovy salad.

We've tried a number of the pizzas, with our favorites being the Carne (you got it, lots of meat) and the Fennel Sausage.  The one of us who likes spinach is fond of the Spinaci (goat cheese, spinach, pine nuts).  We weren't as excited by the Tartufo (fontina, white truffle oil, truffle puree).  New to the menu are some pasta offerrings that we haven't tried yet.

Give this place a shot.  We think the pizzas are right up there with Dolce Vita and the like.

3333 Wesleyan
713/892-8100
http://pizzeriasolario.com/

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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 2/1/2014 3:57 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Osteria Mazzantini

Updated Posting:  December 2013


Seriously.  $65 for an off-the-menu osso bucco special when it was on the menu for our first visit at $39 and better executed as well.  And the rest of our dishes weren't as impressive as our first visit.  We haven't been back.

Original Posting:  October 2013

Resident in the new BBVA Compass building on Post Oak, Osteria Mazzantini is the latest offering from John Sheely, the chef-owner of Mockingbird Cafe.  Located immediately adjacent to and north of the Old Navy shopping center, we had some trouble finding the place as there's no sign yet on Post Oak.  But, once we did, we were quite happy.

The inside of the restaurant is on the smaller side.  There's a nice sized bar area and an expansive outdoor patio that will likely be buzzing once we see cooler weather.   Tables inside the restaurant are spaced close together, which might bother some diners.  The noise level was very manageable (including hearing your neighbor's discussions).  There's a bar menu and the now ubiquitous artisanal cocktails.  (The manhattan style one was quite tasty.)  Prices are comparable to other mid to high end Houston restaurants.

Upon being seated and ordering drinks, the complimentary bread service was delivered, complete with a yummy lardo butter and a high quality olive oil.   There were many menu offerrings that we wanted to try, but, when we see bone marrow, we can't resist, so our appetizer choice was made.  Served piping hot, with grilled toast (order extra) and sided with a vibrant salsa verde sauce, the bone marrow was a great start.  We then tried the kale and sweetbread ravioli, with brown butter, parmesan and pine nuts.  While we couldn't discern the sweetbreads, the ravioli were quite delicious.  For our entree, we shared the osso buco.  Richly sauced, served with the traditional gremolata and complete with a tiny spoon for the marrow, this was as good a version of this classic that we've had in a long time.  But the dish was made particularly special by the parmesan risotto.  Most restaurants can make risotto taste quite good by using copious amounts of butter and cheese, but the tricky part is in getting the right consistency.  Osteria Mazzantini has that down better than most places.

Our reservations were honored on time, and the service was very good.  The only glitch was that we apparently got out the door without receiving the complimentary mini-box of cookies.  We used the free valet parking, but we understand they validate parking in the garage.  This is a hot place right now, reservations are a must.  Given the location, they'll be busy at lunch, and we've heard they'll also be doing a weekend brunch.  Let's hope they can keep up the great execution.


2200 Post Oak Boulevard, # 140
713/993-9898
http://www.osteriamazzantini.com/
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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 12/15/2013 9:12 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
MF Sushi (Closed)


Update:  September 2013

This restaurant had a fire and is not currently open.


First Reviewed:  June 2013

                                   Fish So Very Fresh
                                An Oasis In This Heat
                                     This is MF Good

This sushi newcomer has made quite a splash as its chef/owner, Chris Kinjo, ports his magic from Atlanta to an unassuming strip center at the corner of Westheimer and Fountainview.  Perhaps we were behind the foodie curve, but we first heard about this curiously named place when we read that a number of local chefs were touting the freshness of the fish and the chef's deft knife skills.  That was quickly followed by Alison Cook's four star rating.  Out we went one recent Saturday evening to sit at the sushi bar and try the Omakase (chef's pleasure) dinner.

Unlike Uchi or Kata Robata, this Omakase dinner was all about raw fish -- either sashimi or nigiri, no rolls.  There are a few hot dishes on the menu, but this is a traditional sushi restaurant, not Asian fusion.  And we had an amazing experience.  From start to finish, the fish was fabulously fresh.  While our helpful and efficient waitress gave us a dish of freshly grated wasabi, which was quite a treat, we only used soy sauce and wasabi on one of the many courses.  Not sure how many dishes we had, we weren't counting, just eating.   The initial dish was a delicious warm seaweed soup into which we stirred a raw quail egg yolk.  The chef then started us off with a variety of sashimi dishes, simply presented, with little adornment.  The salmon belly was a particular highlight.  We'd read that the chef really shines with nigiri.  The dewy fish lay on lightly formed grains of rice with a hint of wasabi and soy sauce, arriving with instructions from the chef to eat in one bite.  Multiple bites came our way and we followed instructions well, enjoying everything we tried.

In the interest of journalism, we separately ordered the fried calamari for dessert.  It was nicely done and, if variety is our goal on our next visit to MF Sushi, we'll consider ordering one or more hot dishes and perhaps one of the beautifully presented rolls we saw the kitchen turn out.  But the real reason to come to MF Sushi is for the raw fish, served in all its pristine wonder.

5887 Westheimer
832/530-4321
http://mfsushihouston.com/

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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 9/30/2013 9:30 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
San Francisco/Napa Valley
San Francisco/Berkeley (September 2013):

Chez Panisse -- finally made it to this Bay Area institution; went for both lunch and dinner, preferring lunch; lovely, comfortable setting, with an old house feel; we found the prices to be on the high side, even for the area; excellent wood oven roasted mussels and nicely done pizza at lunch; the 4-course prix fixe ($100 on weekends) dinner (different every night and posted a week in advance on the restaurant's website) was true to the place's reputation -- simple, with very fresh ingredients, well-executed:  salmon crudo, fried squash blossom salad, wood oven roasted squab, and some type of berry/cake dessert; we may be in the minority and perhaps it was the particular night's menu, but we probably wouldn't make the trek across the Bay if we found ourselves in the area.

Flour + Water -- highly lauded Mission-area pizza and pasta place; casual, contemporary setting; very tough reservation, with long waits if you don't have one; we went for the tasting menu, with multiple courses, including many pasta dishes, although we didn't try the pizza; every course was very good; service was a little scattered.

SPQR -- lovely spot for Sunday lunch in the Fillmore Street area; reservations are a must unless there's space at the bar; wonderful biscuits, suckling pork confitura, chicken liver mousse, and pasta with blood sausage ragu.

Napa Valley (April 2013):

Auberge du Soleil -- we re-visited the site of our wedding 5 years ago to the day; lunched on the patio, and the weather, service and food were fabulous; this is upscale dining in St. Helena, with reservations required at lunch, particularly to sit outside; beautifully executed dishes (asparagus soup, lobster salad, seared halibut) with creative, interesting flavors and innovative touches, warranting the Michelin one star. 

The Restaurant at Meadowood -- this was our special evening dining experience;  Michelin three-starred, with chef who very recently won the James Beard award for the California area; georgous serene, contemporary dining room, amidst the wooded hotel property; wonderful, friendly service; personalized, handwritten welcome notes for each table; 8 course ($225) or 15 course ($500) tasting menu; very pricey wine list, with the wine pairings the same price as the meal; we were more than happy with the 8 course menu, which ended up being quite a few more courses; with a focus on creativity and innovation, varying with cold and hot dishes, highlights included whipped yogurt with black sesame, abalone liver, hot beef consomme served over frozen shaved beef fat, clams and caviar with lettuce and asparagus, sturgeon cooked in onion fat, and on and on; like French Laundry, this is a place foodies should try at least once 

Solbar -- we didn't see any celebrities at this trendy, busy venue near Calistoga (reservations strongly advised), but we very much enjoyed lunch on the lovely patio; petrale sole soft tacos and an ahi tuna burger were delicious; also Michelin one-starred 

Bottega --  Michael Chiarello's spot is as popular as ever in Yountville, just as good as our first experience; possibly the best pasta ragu we've ever eaten; comfortable, fun atmosphere; a great place for a group; tables book quickly

Farmstead -- our only disappointment after really enjoying this St. Helena restaurant on our last visit to the area; food was good but it didn't wow us; the burger was overcooked and the brick chicken didn't rival some of the better versions we've had of that dish

Redd Wood  -- very popular, new'ish, casual venue down the street from the same chef as the much lauded Redd in Yountville; incredible fried calamari and great wood oven pizzas; very good pasta ragu (but not as good as Bottega); make reservations

Hog Island Oyster Company -- in Oxbow Market in the town of Napa; very casual, sit at the counter or outside; good (and pricey) grilled oysters; decadent dungeness crab mac 'n cheese; go for lunch or a snack

San Francisco (May 2012):
 
Frances -- very popular Castro-area bistro; tough reservation to get; menu is focused on seasonal ingredients with many items designed to share -- we tried baked clams and smoked bacon beignets; entrees were nicely done grilled quail, linguini with clams, and a side of spring onion and farro gratin; friendly, very accommodating service; small space, tables close together, bar area is first come first served for dining

Scoma's -- we couldn't resist returning to this Fisherman's Wharf spot; the oysters rockefeller and raw oysters were delicious, as was the whole roasted dungeness crab (once again) with garlic and olive oil; great service from seasoned waiters
 
Fleur de Lys -- a major disappointment; tasting menu (3, 4, or 5 courses) from nationally recognized French chef, Hubert Keller; overworked dishes, with too many disparate components, some items overcooked (petrale sole starter), some good flavors but nothing particularly impressive; restaurant obviously caters to special occasions, and we were seated in what appeared to be the two-top celebration area in a side dining room that lacked the lush beauty of the formal main dining area; polished but unfriendly service; multiple desserts (with the mignardises being one of the better executed items of the evening) appeared to be designed to give a good final impression when the rest of the meal didn't wow

Slanted Door -- one of the most popular restaurants in San Francisco per Zagat; billed as modern Vietnamese cuisine; lunched outside at the ferry building location overlooking the Bay Bridge; enjoyed the spring rolls, lemon grass pork shoulder vermicelli noodles, and chicken claypot; very good food, fresh flavors

Delfina -- another very popular Castro-area restaurant; also a tough reservation; crowded, close quarters but reservations were honored on time; very much enjoyed the warm olives, grilled calamari, roast chicken (a house specialty and deservedly so), and boar ragu pasta; next door was an affiliated pizzeria (no reservations) where the pizza looked quite delicious (and was judging by the mass of people waiting outside); skipped dessert for the fabulous ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery (a San Francisco institution) just down the street


Napa Valley (December 2010):

Bouchon -- Thomas Keller's French bistro in Yountville; lively, warm atmosphere, traditional French menu; well executed dishes, but nothing super special; not as impressed as we'd hoped to be

Bottega --  Michael Chiarello's very popular Italian eatery in Yountville; large restaurant, with every table filled; reservations are a must although light plates are served in the bar area; great food (particularly the dungeness crab special)

Farmstead -- St. Helena restaurant focusing on locally sourced items; one of our new favorite spots in the area; everything we tried at lunch was delicious  (cheeseburger, pulled pork sandwich, mac 'n cheese, french fries)

Auberge du Soleil -- went for Sunday brunch at this lovely, somewhat formal setting up the hill overlooking the valley; three course meal, with a variety of choices for each course; elegant service; everything was beautifully done; special occasion place (particularly for us since we were married there)


San Francisco (July 2006):

Gary Danko -- Zagat rated #1 in both most popular and food categories in San Francisco; very tough to get a reservation; you pick whether you want 3, 4, or 5 courses, and then select among a number of options in various categories; seafood items were particularly outstanding (notably, the poached oysters topped with a generous amount of caviar); we weren't as impressed with the meat and poultry dishes (lamb was particularly disappointing); the cheese tray was amazing; from start to finish, the service was some of the best we've ever experienced.

Scoma's -- lunched at this Fisherman's Wharf institution that is somewhat touristy, but has very good seafood; the whole baked dungeness crab in olive oil and garlic was particularly delicious, as was the pan fried petrale sole; we could have skipped the calamari.

Farallon -- upscale seafood restaurant in the Union Square area; also highly rated in Zagat; beautiful interior, complete with chandeliers shaped like jellyfish; enjoyed the seafood bisque and soft shell crabs; one of us even forewent seafood for duck which was great.

Napa Valley --

Redd -- one of the newer, trendy places to dine; it's a difficult reservation, so call well in advance; chef/owner was formerly chef at Auberge du Soleil; food was very good although not exceptional; fish entrée was overcooked.

Taylor's Refresher -- very popular walk-up burger joint; looks like a Dairy Queen, but even serves wine; great late afternoon snack spot for well prepared greasy food (try the Patty Melt, it will heal all that ails you) after a day of wine tasting.

Bistro Don Giovanni -- bustling Italian restaurant with a very pretty outdoor terrace; recommend reservations even at lunch; tried the risotto and pizza; food was fine but sitting outside was the best part.

Bistro Jeanty -- cozy French bistro; call well in advance for reservations; classic French fare, including such dishes as pigs feet and frog legs (neither of which we tried); interesting duck confit and goat cheese pate; cassoulet and coq au vin were  very good versions of these traditional dishes.  (If, like us, you didn't call exactly 60 days in advance at the appointed hour to snag one of the much coveted reservations at Thomas Keller's foodie temple, The French Laundry, you might also try Keller's bistro style restaurant, Bouchon.)
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Posted by CarlosandDebbi at 9/29/2013 4:00 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)