Chows, don't fail me now! (Client Dinner)
OK, so I have to take a client to dinner, but would like to walk out (including wine and dessert) on about $50/person.
I often used to take clients to Montage (good food, right price point, added bonus of walking through the Metreon).
The "added bonus" isn't such a requirement, and XYZ is a bit on the too-pricey end.
The only thing she won't eat is Indian & Sushi, but she's going to want to start with a Martini.
This is for Sunday night. Suggestions?
Thanks, as always!
I second Bix, it's a bit more SF than the Cypress Club.
If your client likes seafood, Plouf serves it in a fun atmosphere as well. I wouldn't recommend it on a wed-fri night, because they will make you wait well beyond your reservation time,but it should be no problem for a sunday night.
If she's serious about her food, take her to the House in North Beach on Grant off Columbus. It's a small, low-key place but with some of the best seafood in town (a personal favorite).
If she likes italian, Pane e Vino is a nice authentic one, on Steiner near Union.
If you can stretch your budget a little, one of the best place to take an out-of-state client is the Lark Creek Inn in Marin Co., where the food is good and the setting and drive add to the experience.
re: Rochelle McCune
Let me know how it goes. A couple of years ago, I did a dinner there for some of our out-of-state staff. They totally loved it.
As the office restaurant guru, I try to always have an "out-of-towners, expense account" restaurant up my sleeve so that I don't fall into an indecisive funk when quizzed. Something really reliable, but very "San Francisco". Cypress Club, Eos, Slanted Door have been that restaurant at various times.
FYI - The people who own Cypress Club opened 2223 on Market Street. 2223 was supposed to be less expensive, more casual. I think it still is, but I haven't eaten there in a while. I remember it being quite good. And their margaritas are excellent - 100% agave tequila, fresh lime, etc.
re: Rochelle McCune
Here's my review from last Feb:
My dining companion and I decided to go to the Cypress Club tonight for three reasons: 1) We had no reservations anywhere else 2) OpenTable suddenly showed an open reservation only 45 minutes away 3) It was Valentine's day, and Cypress Club seemed a romantic spot for such an occasion.
We arrived during the end of their peak period (about 9:30), but nonetheless waited at the bar for about 1/2 hour for a table. This gave ample opportunity to look around at the very silly, very dated 80's style decor. There are outsized pillars, giant ribs across the ceiling, and large archways and dividers covered with sheets of copper. The decor is somewhat worn though, with many dents noticeable in the copper, gilt missing here and there, etc. (When the Cypress Club closes and the dotcom era ends, a fun, retro, low-rent bar could eventually be opened there...)
A fairly good jazz trio was playing, which helped to pass the time until our table was ready. We found ourselves passing a lot of time at the Cypress Club... time before we got a menu, before the bread arrived, before our order was taken, before we got our first course, before we got our second course... Finally, when we'd been waiting for the check for 15 minutes or so, I gave up and went to ask for it. But I'm jumping ahead here... the food:
We ordered "Tuna Tartare with toasted pine nuts, fuji apple (diced), microgreens (ie: sprouts), sweet 'n spicy soy glaze" - $14 - to start. It was the best item of the meal, though the fish was not quite as fresh as the best sushi. It was mixed at our table, and we noticed that it contained an unadvertised ingredient: a raw quail egg (I hope salmonella isn't endemic in quail...).
The tartare is served with small sesame crackers, and the combination was quite good. The size of the chopped tuna and other ingredients, and the experience of eating it with the thin, crisp crackers reminded me of chips and salsa, with the tuna substituting for tomato. We both felt the dish was a success.
Our other dishes were less so. I ordered the "Scallop Wellington and Foie Gras Napoleon with chardonnay melted green garlic, white corn and rose petal fritters, five citrus gastrique" - $37
This dish consisted of two different dishes on the same plate.
The Scallop Wellington was a cylinder of commercial puff pastry with two not very fresh, and very highly over-salted scallops, covered with a dollop of rather uninteresting sauce.
The Foie Gras Napoleon consisted of two pieces of fresh foie gras layered between two corn fritters. This dish was an abject failure: the delicate and expensive foie gras had been overcooked almost to the point of being burnt, and the thick and heavy fritters completely obscured any foie gras flavor. Far from being a napoleon -- a pastry with thin layers, all of which can be eaten in one bite -- this "napoleon" had to be eaten in pieces, assuming one had an interest in the heavy and rather uninteresting fritters.
The citrus gastrique turned out to be a sugary and insipid syrup which failed to complement either part of the dish.
My dining companion ordered the "Marinated Grilled Filet of Beef with golden fried potato chive cake, wild mushroom and spring garlic ragout, ruby port foie sauce" - $32
This dish was not a complete failure. The filet, though quite over-salted, was still flavorful and was properly cooked to order (medium-rare). It was not an excellent piece of meat, but was better than average.
The wild mushroom ragout was the only unqualified success of the meal, with excellent mushroom flavor and texture. The ruby port sauce complemented it very well, at least for the first few minutes, after which the sauce seemed a bit overpowering.
The fried potato cake, on the other hand, had a vaguely rancid flavor, and my dining companion commented that it tasted like a tater-tot.
Overall, I cannot recommend the Cypress Club. There is far better food and far better service to be had at a fraction of the price.
Have you been to the Cypress Club on a day other than Valentine's Day? I sometimes find that judging restaurants on special occasion days when they're crowded/rushed doesn't give me a reliable impression of what they're like on a normal day. Even some of my favorites have been quite uneven on Valentine's Day. Thoughts?
What about Firefly?
What about Foreign Cinema?
What about Zuni?
I wish i was having a client dinner! i'm hungry now!
I know these are all really typical suggestions, but they haven't ever failed me yet for something fun and tasty. (especially foreign cinema, which most people seem to hate, but i have always had a good time there)
Zuni is sort of my safety right now... I know I enjoy it, and they're OPEN on Sunday night. I've had some crappy service myself at FC, even though Michael (??) the owner is a business acquaintance of my boyfriend. And I can't risk poor service on this woman.
Firefly... never considered it. I'll do some research.
You might want to also look into Kokkari, which is totally great although, i do not know if they are open on sundays, or if they make martini's and the deserts are ok (i am not a big desert person) but the lamb chops and the sea bass are Awesome (with a capital A)
Have you been to Bix? If she insists on starting with a martini, take her to the mother lode of martinis. Great jazzy, supper club adult urban atmosphere that will definitely impress a client. I think you may be able to get out for about your preferred price, it will depend on how many martinis are consumed and whether wine with dinner. Have fun!