HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure
TELL US

Crockett/Port Costa eats

o
Owen Tilly Jul 12, 2004 02:17 PM

Has anyone been to either the Dead Fish or Nantucket in Crockett? Is either place any good?

Also, how about either of the funky restaurants in nearby Port Costa? Does either place merit a trip down there, either for food or ambience?

  1. w
    wedgeheadjunkie Jul 12, 2004 03:20 PM

    Can't speak for Crockett places you mentioned, but the two in Port Costa are definitely worth trying. Port Costa these days is an artist colony and is only around 3 blocks long. For fun, take the Highway 4 route where you need to travel through cow pastures and a long, twisting, scenic ravine to get there.

    The Warehouse Cafe is a large, high ceiling, cement floor space that used to serve as a wheat storage facility in the late 1800's -- there's even a plaque on the side of the building listing it's historical significance. When last visited, there are only 4 items on the main menu -- each for the same price: NY Steak, Filet Mignon, Shrimp Scampi, or Lobster Tail. The steaks are large, and adequate, but the atmosphere is what this place is all about.

    Each dish comes served on plates that look like flea market finds, silverwear that does not match, and a bell jar full of mushrooms. There's a do-it-yourself salad bar, and soup is usually clam chowder or chili. The entire space looks like a property dept. backstage, with lots and lots of knick-knacks everywhere. It's pretty eclectic, and there's also a nice bar towards the back, with a wonderful juke-box selection, too. Not sure about their dinner hours or prices anymore (was $21.95 or $22.95 last time we were there), but they used to only serve crab sandwiches for weekend lunches. I hope they're still open and going strong.

    Across the street (the entire "town" is only around 3 blocks long) is the Bull Valley Inn, a more upscale French restaurant featuring the atmosphere of a country farm house. There's a very intimately-lit bar, a few intimate tables and very few booths. Antiques hang on the walls, and the atmosphere is great for Valentine's Day or other romantic occasion.

    Their lamb chops and escargot are great. Their wine list is adequate. Very romantic, especially as it is right next door to the Kensington Hotel (legend has it that it used to be a brothel).

    On your way back, you can go past the C&H Sugar Factory in Crockett. There are plenty of saloons and other watering holes in that town if you still want one for the road.

    11 Replies
    1. re: wedgeheadjunkie
      w
      wedgeheadjunkie Jul 12, 2004 04:26 PM

      Correction: The hotel across the street from the Warehouse Cafe is the Burlington Hotel, not the Kensington.

      Here are their addresses and phone numbers:

      Warehouse Cafe
      5 Canyon Lake Drive (end of the main road through town and just before SP Railroad tracks)
      Port Costa, CA (510) 787-1827

      Bull Valley Inn Restaurant
      14 Canyon Lake Drive
      Port Costa, CA (510) 787-1135

      1. re: wedgeheadjunkie
        g
        Gary Soup Jul 13, 2004 12:08 AM

        I used to go there often 40 years or so ago (more for drinking than eating, to be honest) and hung out at the same two places. It sounds like the ambience hasn't changed much, and thank Heaven for that!

        But can you still get your "free Port Costa ring?"

        1. re: Gary Soup
          w
          wedgeheadjunkie Jul 13, 2004 10:25 AM

          Don't know a thing about the free "Port Costa Ring". Please tell us more about it. In the back of the Warehouse, there used to be a collectible store called "Oliver's Oddities" that had a wonderful assortment of old paper ephemera, baseball cards, posters, knick-knacks, tin bank replicas, etc. Maybe that place was connected to the PC Ring? There was also a 9 or 10-foot tall stuffed polar bear near the bar enclosed in a glass case, and a Christmas tree decorated with lights year 'round.

          1. re: wedgeheadjunkie
            g
            Gary Soup Jul 13, 2004 12:10 PM

            The Warehouse (though it might have been the BVI) had a sign over the bar that read "Don't Forget To Ask For Your Free Port Costa Ring." Whe someone took the bait, the bartender would walk to the end of the bar and ring a big, loud ship's bell.

            1. re: Gary Soup
              w
              Whylie Jul 14, 2004 12:46 PM

              And then their was, "Waunita", outragious, Bay Area character. She weighed in at over 300lbs. Owner of many resturants over the years. Had the Warehouse, when my family visited Port Costa, years back. We were walking across the street to visit the museum, bordello. Waunita greeted me, and ask if I was having the prime rib. I explained I was having a lesser entree. Her reply was, "Cheap Bastard". You should also know, this lady was full of love, and generous to a fault. When we were eating our dinner, Wuanita quietly came up behind my teenage son and draped her huge breast on his shoulders, the poor kid must have been holding up a 100 lbs. Them were good old days.

              1. re: Whylie
                g
                Gary Soup Jul 14, 2004 02:54 PM

                That was Juanita Musson. She at one time had a place called Juanita's Galley in Sausalito, and seemed to always be on the move to greener pastures. My favorite Juanita's was when she took over the Boyes Hot Springs Hotel in Sonoma. She had a veritable petting zoo on the grounds.

                1. re: Gary Soup
                  s
                  Sharuf Jul 15, 2004 08:36 AM

                  I went to her Sausalito place once. Juanita came by and told us what we were having - T-bone steak, eggs and hash browns. And that's what we got - we had nothing to say in the matter.

        2. re: wedgeheadjunkie
          s
          Susancinsf Jul 13, 2004 12:43 AM

          I had dinner at Bull Valley Inn New Year's eve 1973-1974...and it's been around even longer than that! but unfortunately, the reason I can remember is that it was a particularly disappointing meal: as a college student, I had longed for a 'real' dinner in a 'real' and romantic restaurant, and bf and I saved our pennies forever, only to be served cold prime rib...obviously (since I still remember)this was a major disappointment. However, it was also a good first lesson in why it is not always a very good idea to eat out on major holidays....

          anyways, enough reminiscing and ancient history: Back to the present day: I do know that Warehouse has a truly outstanding selection of beers (over 400 by the bottle I believe) and always gets very high ranks on beer sites (check out the recent below). They do a bbq on Sunday afternoons ...

          and while I've never eated at Nantucket, they do sometimes have evening live entertainment of fairly decent quality (A friend who is a good singer/songwriter has performed there).

          Link: http://www.pubcrawler.com/Template/Re...

          1. re: Susancinsf
            w
            wedgeheadjunkie Jul 13, 2004 10:46 AM

            No, it's not usually a good idea to eat out on major holidays and expect to receive quality dining -- especially on New Year's Eve. Typically, the trend these days is to offer a special, prix fixe menu that allows little or no room for substitutions -- and a higher than normal price. Under such conditions, it's little wonder that most kitchens are probably not going to be able to match their usual quality.

            After 20+ years, though, one would hope the place warrants a second chance. Alot can change in even a few months...

            I've been the BVI around half a dozen times in the last 10 years, and have never had a bad experience -- but the atmosphere is the main reason to go, with the food secondary.

            Christmas time at night is particularly nice in that region. There's a nice, winding wagon road that stretches from Port Costa to Crockett -- not a bad place to try the old "running out of gas" trick.

            During the day, the rolling hills, bluffs and shoreline along the Carquinez Strait from Crockett to Martinez are beautiful to admire. Approx. 1 mile West of PC, there's an even smaller town called Eckley that has fishing piers, camp sites, and hiking trails with outstanding views of the river and the East Bay hills.

            1. re: Susancinsf
              w
              wedgeheadjunkie Jul 13, 2004 10:52 AM

              I agree -- it's not usually a good idea to eat out on major holidays and expect to receive quality dining -- especially on New Year's Eve. Typically, the trend seems to be to offer a special, prix fixe menu that allows little or no room for substitutions -- and a higher than normal price. There's a higher than normal amount of stress on those dates. Under such conditions, it's little wonder that most kitchens are probably not going to be able to match their usual quality.

              After 20+ years, though, one would hope the place warrants a second chance. Alot can change in even a few months...

              I've been to the BVI around half a dozen times in the last 10 years, and have never had a bad experience -- but the atmosphere is the main reason to go, with the food secondary.

              Christmas time at night is particularly nice in that region. There's a nice, winding "wagon road" that stretches from Port Costa to Crockett -- very romantic, and not a bad place to try the old "running out of gas" routine, especially if the Burlington Hotel happens to be open.

              During the day, the rolling hills, bluffs and shoreline along the Carquinez Strait from Crockett to Martinez are beautiful to admire. Approx. 1 mile West of PC, there's an even smaller town called Eckley that has fishing piers, camp sites, and hiking trails with outstanding views of the river and the East Bay hills.

              1. re: wedgeheadjunkie
                s
                susancinsf Jul 13, 2004 01:52 PM

                Of course things can change, which is why I said it was ancient history...actually, I would like to try BVI again, just for the sake of elinating a (very old) bad meal memory, if nothing else...it does say something positive that it has been around that long! and yes, the setting is romantic; a nice place to end a weekend drive.

                btw, my sister used to be a server there, but that was even before my last meal there 30 years ago (indeed, that is how I knew about the place)!

          2. p
            Pavement2112 Jul 12, 2004 05:48 PM

            I went to an amazing party there a while back. We had dinner in the nice restaurant, way too many drinks in the bar across the street, and then all slept in the hotel there.

            I heard the hotel used to be a brothel - the names of the rooms are the names of the former workers.

            It freaked me out that this little town could be so close to the Bay Area - it was a really fun time.

            I'd like to hear if it is more discovered - I went there about 6 years ago.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pavement2112
              j
              Juniper Jul 14, 2004 02:47 PM

              That wasn't a Halloween party, by any chance?

            2. b
              bennyboy Jul 13, 2004 10:55 PM

              I have been to both the Dead Fish and Nanatuckets.

              Both are pretty good. DF is more expensive and the food is not as well prepared. More the usual type seafood deleivery, though their specials are great.

              I love Nantucket. Their specials are to die for. The steak and lobster (although expensive as hell $40.00 plus) is a great meal. Big tail and a real steak. All house made ingredients. Service is the best and you can watch the fresh fish (right on the water) come in as you eat.

              1. s
                snog-snog May 1, 2005 08:20 PM

                yeah those places are good...
                so is port costa.

                Show Hidden Posts