SF fun/funky Asian
- Ellen Jan 8, 2002 03:35 PM
Need to take my sis out for a birthday dinner - she lived in Asia for years, so want something authentic, good but fun....fusion? mid-range price. Any ideas? (Any really GOOD Indonesian?) Am thinking Ma Tante Sumi but have never been. Thanks!
Ma Tante Sumi is a casual and comfortable little place. There's less of the stylish vibe than other hotspots, which I find endearing at Ma Tante Sumi. Not at the level of Eos et al., but that's not what it wants to be. The prices are very reasonable and make it very worthwhlie. I liked the crab crepes that I had there.
Han Lukito, our resident Indonesian hound would probably recommend Java on Geary. We had a great chowhound dinner there last year and the consensus is that it's the best of the lot within SF. Some say that it's a little heavy on the belacan (super concentrated shrimp paste), which might be a bit pungent for those not used to the cuisine, but I didn't notice, thanks to the fact that I grew up in Singapore.
The Singaporean stuff here is OK as a stopgap measure, but doesn't come as close I would like. (It's always hard to compare transplants with the stuff from home.) There aren't a lot of players, and following are off the top of my head:
I used to go to Tracy Garden a lot for satay and entree-type dishes. Bummed that they closed.
SIngapore Malaysian is good for noodle type dishes, but I think their entree's weren't as good. (Haven't been back in a long while.)
I think that Straits is overpriced (it's dirt cheap street food back home). On 1 trip, they had a few flaws (e.g. beef rendang not tender enough) that I thought were unacceptable at the price. Their satay is very very good. I've not been there in years but have heard downhill reports from others in the last year or two.
We ate at Boroburdur (an Indonesian place on Post, near downtown) and found that they had great roti prata (not really an indonesian dish). The dipping curry that came with it wasn't as good, but over all it's an excellent rendition.
Take your sister to Asia SF. It's on the corner of 9th and Howard St. in San Francisco. I've been there about a half dozen times and it's always great fun and the food is great and creative. Every half hour their "waitresses" sing and dance on the long counter/bar. These "gals" are gender illusionists and put on a really entertaining show. The whole place is lively with a contemporary asian decor, good cocktails, friendly staff and like I said great, creative food such as the asiadilla. This is a duck quesadilla served as an appetizer. All food there is meant to be shared in a small plate format. Everyone from out of town that I've taken there has had a great time.
Jim is RIGHT-ON! If you want good food and a great time you cannot beat ASIA SF! Book your reservation ASAP! If it's just the two of you, ask for a reservation to sit at the bar. Best view of the performers and the bartenders are great! Be sure to order the "Asiadilla" and if it's on the menu the BEEF burger. Especially because it's a birthday, order the ice cream cones for desert! Enjoy!!!
You won't regret it!