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If the Bay Area Only Had a .......

  • doc Sep 19, 2006 09:33 PM

I'll probably get dinged here for being off topic, but it seems reasonable to me to point out restaurant concepts that seem to be lacking in the Bay Area & might make a good addition. Maybe a budding restauranteur will pick up on the ideas, maybe these types of places already exist locally and we need to be made aware. My nominee: Kazimierz in Scottsdale: http://www.kazbar.net/
What's different?
* Full menu to closing time at 2am
* Wine selection from 40 countries, 2900 bottles
* Excellent Med small plates, flatbreads, fruit, olive,cheese plates
* Interior DARK ...leaded glass covers only window, no front door,
no signage -- you gotta know where it is
* Sound damping is well done with curtains, tiles (jazz 2-3
nites/week), you can whisper and hold conversations
* Room is a nice mix of tables, sofas, & easy chairs with a private
curtained room in back
* Interesting & informative website

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  1. Oola and Globe serve till 1am, if there were demand they'd probably stay open later.

    I think real estate around here is too expensive to maintain a 2900-bottle cellar. California's inventory tax might also be a problem.

    Flatbreads, olives, and cheese plates are very trendy.

    1. A good deli that sold roast beef, ham, pastrami, corned beef, smoked turkey, etc made in house using high quality meats. Limited seating for sandwiches, soup, etc. but the primary purpose would be selling deli meat by the pound for use at home. There'd be a line out the door every day.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        Dittmers?

        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          I think he means more of a Katz's or Langer's type deli.

          1. re: Porthos

            Miller's east west deli on Polk -- it's no Langer's but it's as close as i've gotten (w/o spending $18 on a sandwich) north of LA.

        2. re: Morton the Mousse

          Ah, now you've come to your senses! Dream on, though. Maybe you should fly down to L.A. and make whichever Langer is running the deli these days an offer he can't refuse....a whole brisket in his bed upon awakening?

        3. Amen, Morton. Some places you can find, but not New York-style. In fact, I find it's difficult to find a good sandwich place, period--not sprouts and pitas, but for-real hot sandwiches. There's a place at Post and... Jones? that had terrific sandwiches--Italian sausage, polish sausage, etc.--but the service is slow and I haven't been back in a while.

          Has anyone been to the place in North Beach that sells Primanti Bros' sandwiches? That's Pittsburgh-style with slices of Italian rbead, coleslaw, and french fries, usually with some kind of ham and cheese. Or double egg and cheese, if that's your bag. I haven't been there yet and I have only one friend who's been there AND been to the original Primanti's in Pittsburgh, so I only have one source for the quality. I've had a Primanti's style in Berkeley, but they used hoagie rolls, not slices of bread.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MuppetGrrl

            That would be Giordano Brothers.
            http://www.chowhound.com/search/std?x...

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              If you're looking for a real sandwich, with real bread and many of the meats typically found in an old deli, try Quincy's on Market near Van Ness, open for lunch. There's also a bigger one, whose name escapes me right now, across the street from the huge megaplex at Northgate in San Rafael.

          2. Kohr Bros, the best frozen custard on the planet. I can still remember fondly the taste of the last one I ate, about 3 years ago, on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. Mint and Chocolate Twirl dipped in Chocolate. Sigh. I admit that I've even written to them and asked them to open a store in California. (I got the usual corporate reply. "We appreciate your feedback...")

            http://www.kohrbros.com/

            1 Reply
            1. re: JoyM

              Kohr's is great...I really love REAL frozen custard...here's another link for other custard places

              http://www.custardlist.com/stands/

            2. Jersey greek diner.

              1. On the deli thread ... don't you think that if something like a Carnegie Deli opened in San Francisco, Berkeley, or Palo Alto it would do very well? I know there have been attempts, but they somehow don't ever quite "get it". I've never understood why good Kosher delis seem to be an almost exclusive East Coast phenominum. If you really want to torture yourself, take a look at the sandwiches at the Stage Deli. http://www.stagedeli.com/indexmain.cfm

                2 Replies
                1. re: doc

                  Maybe, but even in NYC there are (relatively) hardly any delis left. The big famous (but not necessarily good) ones like Stage, Carnegie, Katz's, etc., are still there, but when I was a kid in NYC there was a deli on every block. And none of them are as good as they used to be, but any New Yorker can tell you that that's true about absolutely everything.

                  1. re: doc

                    There's the East-West Delicatessen, which has decent food (lox, anyway) but it's WAY overpriced.

                  2. There is Saul's in Berkeley. I'm not a NY'er so I have no idea how it stacks up.

                    Back to what SF and the Bay Area doesn't have. It would be nice to have a reasonably priced, decent quality (non-chain), simple menu but of quality places that stays open past 12 a.m. or until at least two. Somewhere that's comfortable, not creepy, good sandwiches, a few hot dishes but also California fare (decent produce). A place that you wouldn't mind dropping $10-15 and not standard diner food. Or California diner w/o being dumb or trendy.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: ML8000

                      Not late night, but Water Street Bistro in Petaluma, Downtown Bakery and Cafe in Healdsburg, Bovolo in Healdsburg, Willow Wood Market in Graton, and Cafe Saint Rose in Santa Rosa all meet the rest of your criteria (and use more than decent produce).

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Yes, only need one to stay open late and not be in the North Bay/Napa. I tell you it would be a recipe for success in SF or the Oak/Berk or even San Mateo.

                        1. re: ML8000

                          Lots of places that have tried late hours have cut back due to lack of business.

                      2. re: ML8000

                        Grubstake and Sparky's always do the job for me.

                        1. re: MuppetGrrl

                          Yah, the Grubstake...last time I was there drag queen use to hang there. (do they still?) Haven't been to Sparky's in 10 years. Both serve the need well but something I want something not diner or burger.

                          Oh yeah, there is Taqueria CanCun (La Parilla Suiza to oldsters), they're open until 2 a.m. (?), well they use to be. Can't down a burrito at that time. Also Tommy's Joynt which I like but can't eat Hof Brau after 9 or 10 p.m...okay, I can but I choose not to.

                          1. re: MuppetGrrl

                            ewww! Sparky's food is awful.

                            I used to go there late night on my way home, then one morning I went there sober for breakfast and was totally appalled at how bad the food was.

                            1. re: larochelle

                              Yeah, I was always shocked when I lived at 14th & Church and my roommates would to take-out from Sparky's on an average weeknight. No thanks.

                        2. As a New Yorker born and raised (though longtime SF resident) I think the humongous Carnegie and Stage sandwiches are overrated because they're oversized, to impress out-of-towners. My idea of the ideal NYC deli--and it hasn't changed much since I grew up in the neighborhood 60 years ago--is Barney Greengrass.

                          https://www.barneygreengrass.com/

                          Scrambled eggs with salty lox (ritual dialog--Waiter: "You know it's really salty?" Customer: "Yes") and caramelized onions, a bialy with a shmear, and coffee. Greatest breakfast on the planet if you ask me.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: rootlesscosmo

                            we have one in los angeles actually, is there no outpost of barney greengrass in sf?

                            1. re: kevin

                              Nope, and when Carnegie Deli decided to expand outside NY, San Francisco was supposedly in the running, but the branch ended up in Las Vegas.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                As my office mates always remind me "Most of the delis in L.A. are kosher-STYLE!" Some of them are as good as or better than NY and you can get pastrami and swiss or turkey/tongue and swiss cheese with Russian dressing on GREAT rye bread.

                                I know we've beaten the deli thread to death, but nothing ever seems to happen. People tell me Saul's is good (or has gotten better) but I don't believe them.

                                What I crave (but would only be able to eat about once every 6 months) is an outlet of L.A.'s Pink's Famous Chili Dogs. Open all night and serving mostly hot dogs - really good hot dogs with heartburn chili that Martha Stewart would spurn.

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  "nothing ever seems to happen"

                                  What happens is every ten years or so somebody opens a decent deli, and after a few years it turns into a crappy deli and/or closes because not enough people care.

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    Kosher and kosher-style delis are like anything else in California, there's enough of other stuff going on no one except ex-pat East coasters seems to miss them.

                                    While non-food related, the same logic is often use to explain the lack of a NFL team in LA (the 2nd largest US market). No one in LA seems to miss it because there's so much other stuff going on. I think this analogy applies to restaurants and cuisines in S.F.

                                    1. re: ML8000

                                      Didn't LA have an NFL team called something like the Radars?

                              2. re: rootlesscosmo

                                Barney Greengrass is a "Temple to Smoked Fish" it is always my first stop when I land for a Sable plate...but I don't think it could be called a "Deli" in the traditional way...like 2nd Ave. Deli (was)...not enough meat I guess...but they do have kasha knishes!

                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                  Mmmm, sable... you're right, it's not a traditional deli. Truth is, the archetypal deli of my memory--Boxer's, at 183rd St. and Creston Avenue in the Bronx--was pretty awful. It was kept going only by the steady stream of high school kids (me included) from Bronx Science, right across the street. There were a lot of neighborhood joints like it, serving elderly knockwurst and terrible soup to tired people on their way home from work, cops on the 4-to-midnight tour, and kids with insatiable appetites and no taste to speak of.

                              3. As a jew who grew up in Connecticut and spent a lot of time in NYC, I can honestly say that the pastrami and corned beef at the California Street Deli at the JCC (California and Presidio) is on par with the best in the northeast. They do it right over there for sure.

                                I think this city needs more old school fish and meat markets. Bryans is great but IMO they close too early, close all day Sunday, and charge ridiculous amounts. The only reason they get away with it is because they have no real competition.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                  I'm with you there. We have some good fish markets, but no BIG fish markets.

                                  1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                    If the bay area only had a Russ & Daughters....

                                    www.russanddaughters.com

                                    then i could fulfill all my widlest fantasies of drooling over the 7 different types of herring i could get, or 5 different types of chopped liver, or oh my gosh CHUB! remember smoked chub?
                                    i think i am going to have to call my dad to send me some good pletzl, bialy, and a smoked chub and a side of herring in sour cream and onions.
                                    mmmmmmmmm

                                    1. re: jupiter

                                      Ahhh . . . Russ and Daughters was my first thought too. Whenever I go to New York my last stop on the way to the airport is Tal Bagel in midtown and Russ and Daughters on the LES, for my plane meal.

                                      1. re: farmersdaughter

                                        That would be...Culinary "Mecca and Medina"!!!

                                        1. re: farmersdaughter

                                          Just reading the name Russ and Daughters triggers salivary reflex. It's also my last stop before JetBlue from JFK to OAK, but when you break out the spread of smoked sable, bagel, half sour pickle etc. mid-flight, it produces near-homicidal mania from the other passengers. How does Tal Bagel compare to H&H?

                                          1. re: dordogne

                                            I generally end up scarfing most of the fish while waiting for the flight!

                                            To me, there is no comparison between H&H and Tal. H&H are fluffy and cakelike. Tal bagels are dense and chewy and not as big. I've done a head to head and chewy is my preference.

                                        2. re: jupiter

                                          OMG...Russ & Daughters. Yes, you're right. I retract what I said above about Kohr Bros in favorite of Russ & D. Sigh.

                                      2. I've been remeniscing about the frog commissary in Philadelphia ever since I read Recchuiti's [Ferry Plaza chocolate]website and how he used to work there. it was cafeteria-style, but oh so good. My first cold fruit soup experience. Pluto's just not the same. i have not been to Gregoire's.

                                        1. Detroit-style square deep-dish pizza is one of those foods you don't seem to be able to get anywhere outside of a limited geographical area. I dream of the day somebody brings that to the Bay area, whether as an independent or via a franchise from someplace like Buddy's:

                                          http://www.buddyspizza.com/

                                          The crust in these is unique in my experience with a combination of crispy exterior and chewy interior. Chicago-style pizza has similarities but it's really not the same thing.

                                          I second the request for good frozen custard too! I've tried the place in Willow Glen and found it wanting.

                                          Michael

                                          1. Neighborhood cafes that serve both espresso and brandy.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                              It takes a rare fanatic to spend the time and money to get a full liquor license and then just run a cafe.

                                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                Were you imagining a Viennese-like cafe where you could linger in a lovely room over a drink or a coffee? It might not make economic sense, but you can always dream.

                                                1. re: Glencora

                                                  maybe your thinking of nola, were you can get a warm, heavily spiced cafe brulot.

                                                  1. re: Glencora

                                                    What I mean is the prohibitive liquor license situation makes it impossible
                                                    for actual civilized cafes, ones providing both uppers as well as downers,
                                                    to exist on a wide scale here.

                                                    So it would make sense to visit the same place at different times during
                                                    the same day. Cafe de la Presse is a possibility, and that place that
                                                    was downstairs from Beckett's before it was Beckett's -- Metro something?
                                                    But these are exceptions proving the rule.

                                                    I'm not sure Vienna's a good target, what with it being head and shoulders
                                                    above the rest of Earth as far as cafes go, but I'd settle for the sort of thing
                                                    that you get in every single town of even moderate size all across continental
                                                    europe.

                                                  2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                    Cafe Flore, San Francisco

                                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                      In Chicago, as soon as the weather warms (sure, it's usually June) everyone is at the beer stubes. Here, not so much. Are there any good outdoor drinking establishments and why aren't there more?

                                                      1. re: pws

                                                        Well, as far as SF goes, lack of real estate is one problem, weather is another. I love the weather here, but it's almost never warm at night, which is when most people do their drinking. Even in Chi-town, I bet it stays warm on summer nights -- not true in SF. Sometimes it's downright cold.

                                                        If you must drink outdoors, there is Zeitgeist and... what was that Cigar Club downtown? I forget, it has "Cigar Club" in the name.

                                                        1. re: dunstable

                                                          Or El Rio but not huge for beer, me thinks. Also that bar across the street from Rosamunde's.

                                                          1. re: chaddict

                                                            Mad Dog.

                                                    2. An Italian restaurant as good as Babbo in NY. Sushi as good as Matsuhisa in LA.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: Husky

                                                        If you special-ordered at Incanto or Oliveto and asked nicely, they'd probably be willing to freeze the pasta for you, so it'd be more like Babbo's.

                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                          Neither Incanto nor Oliveto can compare to Babbo with regard to service, food or wine. And if Babbo freezes their pasta (which I've never heard before), then maybe more restaurants should.

                                                          1. re: Husky

                                                            Bill Buford talked about the freezing in his book.

                                                            Babbo's by-the-glass/quartino wine selection is half the length of Incanto's. Given how much longer Babbo's bottle list is, it has some embarrassing holes.

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              I guess I'll have to get back to Incanto (it has been a couple years) because while I enjoyed it, the overall experience paled in comparison to Babbo.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                Babbo doesn't have as many wines by the glass/quartino because that's what the more casual Lupa is for (kinda like enoteca vs ristorante). Babbo's purpose is to showcase amazing breadth and depth in both pastas and wines. Frozen or not, the pasta at Babbo beats Incanto, Oliveto, and Quince (and these are amongst my favorite restaurants in SF).

                                                                If Babbo's frozen beat's Incanto's and Oliveto's fresh pasta, then that says a lot about the quality at Babbo.

                                                              2. re: Husky

                                                                Babbo's pasta was extraordinary...I watched them making some while I was there..

                                                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                  The pasta at A16, Incanto, and Oliveto is great. Anybody who says otherwise has been spending too much time at Nonna's house in Italy.

                                                            2. re: Husky

                                                              I agree with you on Italian and Babbo and I also agree with sushi. But Matsuhisa is not traditinal nigiri and actually, Matsuhisa's and Nobu's nigiri is only average. If SF had italian as good as Babbo and sushi as good as Sushi Yasuda in NYC, and pastrami as good as Katz's (or Second Avenue Deli, RIP) THEN we'd be talking.

                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                and pizza as good as original Patsy's, Di Fara's, or original Totonno's..Tal bagels.......Russ and daughters....sigh!

                                                            3. I really cannot understand why we do not have a really first-rate pastisserie! While I would love something along the lines of Pierre Herme, Lenotre or Laduree, I realize that that might be asking a little too much. But for the life of me, I can't understand why we can't attract something (or someone) like Payard! We have excellent ingredients, a large, talented pool of young food professionals, and a population willing and able to pay for first-rate food, whether traditional or original.

                                                              This has bugged me no end, and I'm at the point where I'm taking offense at all the brilliant pastry chefs who AREN'T HERE. I mean, WHY? WHY aren't they here? Heck, Vancouver, which is smaller than SF, has 5Senses. . .

                                                              1. I agree, especially with A16. Although, I think the best pasta I've had in SF was at Quince.

                                                                1. As great as Bay Area cuisine is, there are several things that are missing:
                                                                  1. A Zankou Chicken - this LA mini-chain (6 stores or so) has shwarma and garlic roast chicken for abut $7 that is delicious and doesn't have something comparable up here.
                                                                  2. A distinctive Soon Tofu house such as BCD or Beverly Soon in LA. Pyung Chang on Telegraph at 48th in Oakland just doesn't make it for me.
                                                                  3. An exceptional paleteria (exotic natural-flavored popsicles and ice creams) with flavors like soursop, nanche, etc. on the order of La Reina de Michoacan in Fresno at Broaday and Belmont.
                                                                  4. A Oaxacan mole restaurant on the order of Guelaguetza in LA.
                                                                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: zippo

                                                                    Went to Zankou Chicken once and while the bright fluorescent bus station snack bar ambience was a surprise (given my companions' rave reviews), the chicken was magnificent.

                                                                    1. re: Jefferson

                                                                      I think Goood Frikin' Chicken does the same style of chicken and garlic sauce as Zankou's. Haven't had the latter to compare but I suspect it's better.

                                                                      1. re: Jefferson

                                                                        Also in LA there used to be Thai places that specialized in take-out bbq chicken. The magnif sauce came along with.

                                                                      2. re: zippo

                                                                        Yes. I'm going to have to fiercely agree with the Beverly Soon Tofu wish list. If only we had Beverly up here and that delicious extra spicy soon tofu combo with kalbe.

                                                                        1. re: zippo

                                                                          Or the fabulous aguas frescas at the Ranch Markets in Phoenix...loads and loads of flavors to choose from and all terrific (actually, I haven't tested "all", but lots were great.

                                                                          Do we have anything like this (with about 20 different flavors) and dedicated only to a.f. up here?

                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                            On that vibe.... I am sure going to miss the Fruterias in East L.A. & the Oaxacan Neverias in West L.A.

                                                                            My favorite fruteria was in Lincoln Heights... at the corner of Broadway & Workman:

                                                                            > Generous portions of perfect fruit & "fruity" vegetables... Mango, Pineapple, Coconut, Jicama, Oranges, Cucumber... you could get a whole bowl for $3
                                                                            > 20 flavors of Ice Cream & Sorbets instock... Jamaica, Tamarind, Mamey, Mango
                                                                            > Great Flan Napolitano... a whole 12inch diamater Flan for $12!
                                                                            > Refreshing Gelatines in Jerez (Sherry), Rompope (Egg Nog & Rum)& real fruit flavors
                                                                            > Smoothies & Aguas Frescas
                                                                            > The best Strawberries & Cream (Sour Mexican Cream with a little bit of condensed milk)

                                                                            My favorite Oaxacan Neveria was on Sepulveda in Culver City just south of Washinton Blvd. Soft & creamy like Gelato with intense flavors. Must try.. Galleta (Oreo Cookies), Cafe (Coffee & Kahlua), Guanabana, Tuna (Prickly Pear), Leche Quemada (Flame Torched Milk... slightly cheesy flavor with intense carmelization)... too bad they didn't have Red Mole, or Avocado.

                                                                        2. Greek breakfast place.

                                                                          This is distinct from the Jersey Greek diner I mentioned above.
                                                                          I'm thinking Boston this time.

                                                                          Drop two on toast. Coffee regular.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                            are you thinking of grecian yearning in in allston by any chance? oh the memories!

                                                                            1. re: potatoe

                                                                              AAAH the Greasy Burning! remember the horrible dive next door, Steve's? and scary Steve and his whole family worked there? (in fact the only non family member that worked there was my friend which led to many hung over breakfasts there...) They made great homefries, but everything else was just heartburn on a plate....

                                                                              1. re: jupiter

                                                                                Steve wasn't scary and it wasn't next door. It was almost a full block away.
                                                                                Steve made the best coffee on the street. Also the Seven Stars, the Deli King, Blakes, that
                                                                                place down near Park Square, the place across from EMS. There was another place up
                                                                                Mass Ave across from the bus parking lot. Another one next to Punter's Pub near
                                                                                the MFA. One out near Watertown Square. The Paramount Deli on Charles St!
                                                                                Are you ever more than 20 feet from one of these places in Boston?

                                                                                But yes, I was thinking of the GY.

                                                                                We've almost sort of got one here. On Market at ninth, north side. Steves?
                                                                                Counter seats, standard greasy breakfast. Not the same, though.

                                                                          2. A lovely upscale dessert place like "Finale" in Boston.....but with locations in SF and other parts of the Bay. Divine, DIVINE desserts at Finale! Great execution & attention to detail with their desserts. Never had a miss hit there yet.

                                                                            http://www.finaledesserts.com/menus/d...

                                                                            And please don't say Citizencake in SF or some sort, not impressed, their cupcakes are so-so with grainy textured buttercream.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: rilkeanheart

                                                                              yeah..! damn shame too...how difficult is it to get a smooth flavorful buttercream???!!!

                                                                              1. re: rilkeanheart

                                                                                I kinda thought that eating at Finale was like being robbed by a gun-shaped piece of stained-glass sugar. The desserts LOOKED terrific. And they certainly cost enough to seem terrific. But all in all, I'd much rather being having the surprisingly good Boston Cream Pie at Legal's. Or the cannoli at Modern.

                                                                              2. Taiwanese porridge that is as good as Lu's Garden in LA.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Problem Child

                                                                                  If the bay area only had a www.bigbowl.com (chicago chain), Taco Bueno (Mexican chain in the southwest), Panchos mexican buffet (Mostly in the SW), Schlotzsky's deli (all over except bay area), la madelein coffee (TX mostly), Gujrathi Buffet/Thali

                                                                                  1. re: rdabke

                                                                                    Panchos is the type of god-awful food that gives Tex-Mex a bad name. I'll be happier if it died out completely rather than made it out here to SF.

                                                                                    And yes, I grew up eating there, with its all-you-can-eat menu its exactly the sort of place a mom takes her six hungry, growing boys (& 1 cute little girl). I loved getting to raise that little Mexican flag so I could get more sopapillas but really, other than the sopapillas the food was nothing.

                                                                                    1. re: rdabke

                                                                                      schlotzskys was in berkeley on telegraph about 10 yrs ago
                                                                                      they went out of business

                                                                                      1. re: rdabke

                                                                                        Oooh, Big Bowl! I ate there about 5 years ago in Chicago. Bruce Cost used to have a place in SF if I'm not mistaken. I have a cookbook of his which is pretty good.

                                                                                        The food at Big Bowl was fabulous! It'd be great to have one out here.

                                                                                        Schlotzky's is in Los Gatos. That used to be where the SJ Scrabble club met every week.

                                                                                    2. I agree that the best memories of Panchos are attached to the flag raising for additional sopapillas.

                                                                                      1. Lets see. A Sonny Bryant's BBQ (Inwood Rd., Dallas), a Blue Goose, excellent Tex-Mex, a Snuffer's hamburger (the best in Dallas). Off to Ft. Worth for "the dinner" a Joe T Garcia's or maybe some ribs at Angelo's.

                                                                                        Ditto on the Pancho's, sopapillas were good but that's about it.

                                                                                        1. Totally agree that we need a Zankou chicken. I can taste it as I write this...

                                                                                          What I have asked about previously that apparently does not exist in San Francisco is a Yakitori-only restaurant on the scale of Shin-Sen-Gumi. For that matter, I would give my eye-teeth for a Japanese restaurant that showcases Sumo wrestling like Shin-Sen-Gumi does.

                                                                                          1. I would LOVE to see a restaurant/take-out place that only served ribs. Wouldn't matter what kind of ribs, maybe a rotating daily special of ribs (like Cheeseboard), but I'd go there EVERY day. Mmmmmmm.... too bad it's not that feasible, but oh well.

                                                                                            I would actually like to see a really good steak house in SF, Peter Luger style. Pure grilled meat, in that same bierhaus atmosphere. Something artery-clogging!

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Andy Copeland

                                                                                              Who cares if a barbecue place makes things other than ribs, so long as the ribs are good?

                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                Yeah... pretty much! I'll admit, as much as I enjoy brisket, pulled pork, and smoked sausage, I could eat ribs for quite some time. I have yet to find a place that does ribs right in the Bay Area...

                                                                                              2. re: Andy Copeland

                                                                                                Andy! I think you have hit on a million dollar scheme! What a fantastic idea.

                                                                                                Don't forget to include Paula Wolfert's spareribs from her Cooking of Southwest France - maniacally good.

                                                                                              3. what about a great beef rib joint, those are very very very hard to find.

                                                                                                1. Chicago style Italian sausage and beef sandwiches, readily available in San Francico. Portillo's opened a branch in LA, why not here? They're not the best of Chicago by far, but they'd be a smash hit here and satisfy my homesickness (they do now via FedEx).

                                                                                                  1. A nice italian deli. When the people vot Genova #1 in the bay area in most magazines/newspapers you know there's something wrong. I make a better italian sub, besides, who puts olive loaf on an italian sub to start with. Not only that, but a good 1/2 of the meat on there was olive loaf. I've been there maybe 4 or 5 times and every time it stinks.
                                                                                                    Another thing we need is a nice Kosher deli. The one at the JCC SF is OK when you need to cradle your pastrami craving, but it's just ok. And don't even get me started with Saul's. What kind of a deli serves "dinner roll" bagels?
                                                                                                    One more is a nice neighborhood italian place or pizza parlor. I mean, there are some good pizza and italian food places but they are not too common. Oh, and I don't mean italian where I'm dropping $40 a pasta dish.
                                                                                                    Oh, almost forgot, for japanese food now. We need some places that do takoyaki or okonomiyaki. Just that, not sushi and everything else. I don't even think there is a place that even has takoyaki they make on the menu.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: SamuelA.L.

                                                                                                      Have you been to the South Bay for Japanese food?

                                                                                                    2. Not much, but what do you have on it. I'd deffinately be willing to make a trip for it.

                                                                                                      1. Steak n Shake:
                                                                                                        The tastiest burger I've had outside our kitchen;
                                                                                                        Luzianne SWEET TEA!!!
                                                                                                        Peach cobbler...peach ice cream atop some warm peach pie...

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Dominus

                                                                                                          I would kill for a Steak n Shake, particularly a cheeseburger with relish and a lemon freeze.

                                                                                                        2. What I think would really work around here is a big food market, like Granville market in Vancouver, or even Pike Place market. Course where are they going to find the land to put it.

                                                                                                          Unless they gut Pier 39...

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Bryan Gros

                                                                                                            There's a plan in the works for a huge food hall somewhere near Jack London Square in Oakland.

                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                              Actually, in Jack London Square. I think it's the big old warehouse building next to Barnes & Noble that they're renovating. According to the Port of Oakland website, it will have:

                                                                                                              A daily fresh market of fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, pasta, cheeses and baked goods.
                                                                                                              Waterfront restaurants and quick cafés.
                                                                                                              A professional cooking school.
                                                                                                              A chef's hall of fame.
                                                                                                              Specialty retail shops.
                                                                                                              An exposition of California food and wine companies and producers, and agricultural products.

                                                                                                              http://www.portofoakland.com/realesta...

                                                                                                              What it probably won't have is all the tourists that go to the Ferry Building...somehow Oakland just doesn't have the draw that SF does.

                                                                                                              1. re: chompy

                                                                                                                Probably we won't have the tourists, but we might have the locals.

                                                                                                          2. I don't really miss anything here, but I do wish things were more common and/or easier to obtain, especially on the cheaper end.

                                                                                                            1. Japanese food other than sushi. Why are there a hundred sushi places, and almost nowhere to get yakitori or yakiniki? And I wish they'd plant more noodle joints somewhere outside Japantown. Heck, I'd settle for a Teriyaki Boy.

                                                                                                            2. English-style fish and chips. There are certainly places that have pretty good deep-fried fish. There is literally nowhere you can get your fish accompanied by mushy peas and deep-fried Mars bars. When you ask people here about those things, they have no idea what you're talking about.

                                                                                                            3. Korean food. Somehow, Ann Arbor, Michigan has tons of Korean restos, but SF has barely any at all. Yeah, there are some good places in the Sunset and Richmond (please, no whining from LA Koreans). None of those places are within two miles of me.

                                                                                                            4. NY style pizza. If you put the very best SF pizza and compare it to the very best NY pizza... okay, they're pretty even. But the cheapo slice places? They all stink here.

                                                                                                            5. Places that serve food 24 hours. I guess it matters less here, since the nightlife shuts down so early, but I have fond memories of places like Bereket in NY, where you can get souvlaki at 3am. Speaking of which...

                                                                                                            6. Good cheap Mediterranean sandwich shops. You could do worse than Truly Med, I guess, but $7? For a regular old shawarma? And anyhow, it used to be a staple of my diet, even if I had to go to a Pita Pan. It's nowhere near that common here.

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: dunstable

                                                                                                              Deep-fried Mars bars aren't English, they're Scottish. Like deep-fried pizza.

                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                Yes, but the restaurants aren't. I had in mind places like The Chip Shop and A Salt and Battery in NYC, which routinely get labeled "English." (I guess they're more properly "British," as you suggest.) Either way, both serve deep-fried Mars Bars, with Chip Shop going all out and deep-frying just about any pre-packaged dessert. Twinkies, M&Ms...

                                                                                                                And either way, the only way you can get it here is by doing it yourself.

                                                                                                                1. re: dunstable

                                                                                                                  That's true for almost anyplace outside Scotland.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                    Well, wasn't that the general idea of this thread? We live in one of the great food cities of the world, so whatever we're missing will be rare to begin with. Unless you're suggesting that America is littered with world-class boulangeries and armagnac cafes.

                                                                                                                    So then, one of my votes goes to deep-fried treats, which I've eaten many times, despite never setting foot in Europe.

                                                                                                                    1. re: dunstable

                                                                                                                      I'm just saying that what you want is a *Scottish*-style chip shop. It is shameful that we don't have deep-fried pizza.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                        Scottish, then. Either way, I miss it. I don't need my fish wrapped in newspaper and all that, but I do miss the mushy peas and stuff.

                                                                                                                        I've actually never had deep-fried pizza, but it sounds like something I must try, cholesterol be damned.

                                                                                                                        1. re: dunstable

                                                                                                                          I can recommend a pizza with a deep-fried crust around here, but haven't seen one where the whole thing is dunked in the fryer.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                                                            It's not the whole thing, just one slice dipped in batter.

                                                                                                                  2. re: dunstable

                                                                                                                    "And either way, the only way you can get it here is by doing it yourself."

                                                                                                                    AND THANK GOD FOR THAT!

                                                                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                      i'm tellin' ya, yer missin' out!

                                                                                                                      It's kinda like the gloopy macaroni salad that comes with Hawaiian plate lunch. At first, the pairing of mac salad with those meats seems inexplicable, but after a while, a plate lunch seems sorely incomplete without it. That's how I feel about fish and chips without mushy peas and deep-fried Mars bars -- it just ain't fish and chips anymore. My actual preference is for deep-fried Twinkies, but usually they only have Mars bars, so.

                                                                                                              2. I would love to see more independent butcher shops in San Francisco - like the kind I went to growing up. Lots of deli meat plus actual cuts for cooking. I hate to have to make a trip to the grocery store when I get the itch to make a Sunday stew. Anyone know a good one around Civic Center / Hayes Valley? I'd love to find one.

                                                                                                                Selfishly, San Francisco also needs a Skyline Chili. Open late with inexpensive, Greek-style chili over spaghetti with cheese. I miss it.

                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: HilaryAnn

                                                                                                                  The thing with most independant butchers in the Bay Area is they are ethnic. Lots of Chinese and Mexican. Little Italy (I think) in North Beach). Spend a day in the Mission and walk in every Mexican market. Many have independant carnecerias.

                                                                                                                  1. re: HilaryAnn

                                                                                                                    I do miss not having a chili parlor, especially late night. Not sure what "greek-style chili" is, but I miss chili three ways (chili, beans, spaghetti).

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                      Greek Chili=Cincinnati Chili

                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                        The normal term used outside of Cincinnati is Cincinnati chili. It's sort of Ohio's answer to poutine. Calvin Trillin wrote an entertaining piece about it years ago, it's one of his "Tummy Trilogy" books, I think "American Fried."

                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                          Yes, I was referring to Cincinnati chili - Skyline Chili in particular. I grew up there and keep a can of Skyline in cupboard at all times. IT is a poor substitute for the real thing, but a substitute nonetheless. I did just find a recipe for Stifado - Greek beef stew - that was almost as good as the chili.

                                                                                                                          1. re: HilaryAnn

                                                                                                                            Wow, I had no idea that Greek chili = cincinnati chili. In St. Louis, we have quite a few chili parlors that serve cincinnati-style chili (three, four, five ways) and I miss it. Good to know since I basically grew up on the stuff.

                                                                                                                      2. Not just Bay Area... but throughout the U.S. we badly need a Sanborn's.

                                                                                                                        For those not in the loop... Sanborn's is a chain of diners / pastry shop / convenience store in Mexico that provides reasonably priced, Mexican & International food made completely from scratch on the premises, in a very clean & comfortable environment. At Sanborn's you can find everyhting from Menudo to Roast Turkey with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy.... from Nopales to Waldorf Salad... from Chilaquiles to Fettucine in Chipotle Cream Sauce. Despite the daunting seasonal menu... they rarely have anything that is short of really good.

                                                                                                                        To me a Sanborn's in every U.S. town would set the minimal expectation of what Mexican cuisine should be...and would elevate the entire Mexican offering here in the U.S.

                                                                                                                        http://www.sanborns.com.mx/sanborns/p...

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                          Although I don't think Sanborn's is the be all of Mexican restaurants, I do agree that a nice middle-class restaurant like Sanbourn's would be nice. We have dives. We have a few upsacle places, but not like in Mexico, but no Sanborn type place.

                                                                                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                            Yeah...that is exactly my point... if a chain like Sanborn's could deliver Eggs & Greens Poached in Salsa Verde, Crepes in Cajeta Sauce, Nopales, Spicy Vegetable Soups etc., made from scratch... it should force the so called authentic Mexican places to up their game and actually serve the foods that Mexicans eat on a daily basis and not just the Combinations with Rice, Beans, Sour Cream & Guacamole served at what I call Spanglish restaurants.... those that have a fairly authentic sazon (pallete of flavors) but with Tex-Mex traditions (like Chips & Salsa, Burritos & the Combinations).

                                                                                                                            I don't mean to be snob...but if I could eat like I did back in Mexico...I really would not diss Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, Spanglish cuisine... or whatever you want to label it... instead I would embrace it as innovation. In the meantime I will just remain perched on my soapbox =)

                                                                                                                          2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                            Wow! Haven't thought about Sanborns in years!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                              When I studied in Mexico City in 1991 my professors mocked Sanborns as just the kind of place tourists and the upper class would go but not for real Mexican food (It was very much implied that upper class had no taste). I ate on the streets and in small cafes for 1/3 the cost of Sanborns but I have never eaten at a Sanborns.

                                                                                                                              Everthing in Mexico is made fresh. Canned food costs money. Labor is virtually free.

                                                                                                                            2. Clone Dom Demarco and open up DiFara west.

                                                                                                                              1. 1)Great deli like the Second Avenue Deli in NYC
                                                                                                                                2) Good NY pizza
                                                                                                                                3)A place like the Blue Ribbon that stays open until 4 am
                                                                                                                                4) great old style Italian restaurants

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: roxie

                                                                                                                                  San Francisco has lots of old-style Italian restaurants. There are half a dozen on Taraval alone. The food's just not as great as in people's memories.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxie

                                                                                                                                    Unfortunately, not even NYC has a Second Avenue Deli anymore. It was my handsdown favorite for pastrami (over Katz's). The split pea soup there was killer.

                                                                                                                                  2. A decent bagel chain. Manhattanites have the luxury of dismissing Ess-A Bagel as crap b/c "X Bagels" around the corner is so much better. I would kill for an Ess-A Bagel. Who decided it was ok to call those perforated flavored rolls they sell at Noah's Bagels, "bagels"?

                                                                                                                                    Some avant-garde food. I know it goes against everything Chez Panisse stands for, but after eating at Alinea, I absolutely believe that food can be seasonal, AND have soul, AND be avant-garde.

                                                                                                                                    A murtabak stand. Which reminds me, I've been intending to ask about murtabak in the Bay Area. I'll make that a new thread.

                                                                                                                                    1. As we say at my office, Noah's bagels are pretty good bread....(wait for it) BUT THEY'RE NOT BAGELS!"

                                                                                                                                      I wish Oakland (or anyplace local actually) had some really good Russian/Georgian-type deli-bakeries like they do in Brighton Beach. Ones with fresh cheese-filled pastries, etc.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                        You've tried the Russian bakeries in SF's Richmond district and found them wanting?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                          I do. Upper Geary ain't no Brighton Beach. Gastronom is about as good as it gets. I just can't warm up to Cinderella. Not to put down New World, but they don't have an in-house bakery.