Cliff House - Sutro
A friend's birthday is coming and he wanted to go to Sutro's at the Cliff house for dinner. I've never read any raving reviews on this place or anything more recent. If I fail to convince him otherwise, can anyone recommend what to order from here? The prices seem to be on the high end, and hopefully the food will justify those prices.
Go for the view but that is all. Food is totally unremarkable. Yet annoyingly tarted up by being stacked into a tower (fish on top of mashed pot. on top of veg. yet! - cafeteria food stylishly presented) and squirted with the cliched abstract design colorful yet tasteless sauces. The bread and butter was good. I would only go back if, as on my only visit, an elderly relative was paying and insisted. NOT for chowhounds. period. full stop.
Awww that's too bad. Unfortunately the birthday boy is the one making the choice here. We won't be able to enjoy the view since we're going at night, most probably after 7:30. However, I'll report back after next week's dinner.
I'm still crossing my fingers and toes that he'll change his mind.
re: Robert Lauriston
You know, I might take back what I said about the produce ... maybe. That whole Mid-Eastern menu was kind of getting to me so I looked at the chef profiles.
Well, the Executive chef got a start at Saga Foods, I worked at Saga Foods at one time, so it explains a lot about the food at Cliff House.
However, I'm not sure how new the Chef de Cuisine is. He seems to go on and on about produce ...
"Clark cites his relationship with Los Gatos organic-farm network America Fresh as an influence on his culinary approach — and not just because it affords him access to fresh, organic produce within less than 24 hours of being harvested. “Going down and meeting the farmers, picking strawberries with a bunch of workers ..."
Well, that seems to trump Alice Waters. I don't remember hearing of Alice or Ron Siegel getting down with the produce pickers. Now if that only translates to the food ... in a good way.
You are thinking of The Bistro which is the place that has the popovers. I love those popovers. Maybe you could beg Sutro for some.
Sutro doesn't serve fish and chips
Gosh, that menu just makes me cringe. It is like a SNL version of an upscale menu. Cliff House doesn't respect produce, so I'd steer clear of those heirloom tomatoes.
Even though, as a whole the dish wasn't great, the scallops in my dish that I ordered were very good, so fish might be a good choice. Although if I had to go I might give the Snake River Farms Kurobuta "Pork & Beans" a try, but mainly for the meat supplier.
Ok, if I was going, what I'd probably choose:
House marinated & smoked Salmon
Chive Blossom Cream Cheese, Lavender Lavosh
Organic Baby Arugula Salad & Serrano Ham
White Peach, roasted Almonds, Banyuls Vinaigrette
The latter is risky with the white peaches, and they sucked me in with the lavendar lavash. They seem to have a Mid-Eastern as well as the pan-asian thing going. Maybe someone new is in the kitchen. I gotta think that the papaya salad would be a major dissapointment given the good versions in SF at other places.
I'd stay away from pricy lobster/crab cakes unless you see someone at another table moaning in ecstacy ... yeah ... get some drinks and scope out the other tables. If you have pre-dinner drinks at the lounge upstairs, you can stare down into the dining room and scope things out.
If not the pork, then the scallops. I might branch out and try the chicken to see if the Mid-Eastern thing works for them. That halibut sounds like a horror story.
Probably the roasted banana cheesecake which has all sorts of warning bells saying wrong, wrong, wrong ... but I've never had banana cheesecake, let alone roasted.
If I was smart I'd order the trio of custards.
Looking forward to your report. Maybe they have improved. Maybe the Mid-Eastern thing is working for them.
I've been there twice since the Spring. 1st time was around April with my GF's parents who were visiting from the East Coast. It was a clear evening so the sunset was awesome (but I had the West-facing seat and was getting a suntan and glare). The food is decent but over-priced. The setting is nice and the parents enjoyed the place.
Then last month some of my GF's friends from the East Coast were visiting and they wanted to go to Cliff House. I tried to dissuade them because there are a lot better places. It was completely foggy and I just laughed as I drove up there. So much for the view.
I echo the folks who say have a cocktail--and maybe a shrimp cocktail--and then head somewhere else for dinner.