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Best Dine about Town options?

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  • MJT Jan 2, 2007 04:46 PM
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I never know which restaurants to try, any suggestions?

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  1. Here's a topic with a link to the site and an alphabetical list of participating restaurants (the site's sort is semi-random):

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    1. Helpful as it was, I'm surprised that list remained on the board. Anyway, the big thing to remember is see if any type of menu is listed on the DAT website. Next compare the prices to the regular menu.

      Sometimes the DAT menu is no saving and occassionally it is more than ordering a la carte ... or the restaurant has a regular prix-fixe menu that is the same as DAT. Coco500 is no longer on the list, but when it was Bizou, the DAT menu was available as a prix-fixe year-round.

      The biggest bargain I ever had was at Forbes Island that little underwater restaurant off of Pier 39. I think I saved $15 off the regular prices. If you were ever curious about Forbes Island, this is the time to check it out. For me, the food was so mediocre I never wanted to go back, but it can be interesting more for the experience. If you get sea sick, not the place to go. Not a good place if you have mobility problems either as there is lots of stairs and leaping on and off the boat.

      If I was going this year, I'd go to Americano out of curiosity.

      Also watch the board for reports on the good, the bad and the mediocre.

      Lots of places have the DAT special ... food that isn't on the regular menu
      Soup or salad
      Salmon or chicken
      Creme brulee

      That was the good thing about Forbes Island. You could choose almost anything off the regular menu and for the items that were more expensive, you could add a supplemental charge.

      The hot ticket last year was that Hornblower Cruise ... not that the food was outstanding but the overall experience and price savings had Chowhounds foaming at the mouth.

      I enjoyed Ana Mandara one year for both food and atmosphere.

      I was glad I went to Seasons at the Four Seasons for the fabulous overall hotel service ... comparable to the Ritz. The food was just ok. DO have an overpriced but fabulous drink at the bar before dinner. They give you the most wonderful snacks with your drink ... much better than the dinner.

      On the other hand the Terrace at the Ritz ain't worth all the good service and atmosphere in the world. They also have a regular daily special that matches the DAT special.

      I hated Maya, but that was years ago.

      Though I had a long ago bad experience at Fournou's Ovens, there have been some recent positive reports by a poster whose tastes match mine, so that might be an option.

      Places that interest me would be Alfred's, Lark Creek Steak, Le Colonial and Scott Howard.

      Places that usually get big thumbs down on Chowhound are Butterfly (but there have been a few positive recent reports), Sutro's and Crustacean.

      Roy's usually gets mediocre reports. I wouldn't choose it as I wouldn't choose other chains like Palomino, Il Fornaio (tho CH has a poster who is a fan), McCormick & Kuleto's and Paragon.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        thank you for this informative post. I was curious about DAT too but couldn't figure out what was good and what wasn't.

        1. re: rworange

          In the past, Rubicon has always gotten good reviews for DAT -- with the money you save on food, you can splurge on their wine list!

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Not always good: here is my less than enthusiastic report from last year's DAT at Rubicon...Nothing about my experience made me want to repeat it this year, and, perhaps more importantly from the restaurant's perspective, it left me with no desire to go back to Rubicon period, wine list notwithstanding....(though yes,we did spend the money we saved on wine :-))

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        2. I ate at Lark Creek Steak tonight and had a great meal...Belgian endive salad (menu price $11) 6 oz filet ($26) with a small side of potatoes (not included with the steak on the regular menu) and blood orange cheesecake for dessert (didn't notice the menu price for dessert-sorry!) It seemed to be a good deal price wise and my steak was fantastic. I'll definitely be back to Lark Creek to try some of the other steaks on the menu.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tvham

            That was the DAT menu? If so, that's a real deal.

          2. Sorry, I should have been more specific...yes, we ordered off the DAT menu. Options were a braised beef shank soup (which sounded fantastic but we both wanted steak!) or the salad, the filet or some sort of fish (never even considered it, we both wanted meat!) and the cheesecake or chocolate napolean for dessert (we got one of each and split them)

            I thought it a fantastic deal and can't rave enough about how perfect my filet was-a bit crusty on the outside but perfectly medium rare on the inside and oh so tender.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tvham

              That braised beef shank soup looked wonderful when I was at Lark Creek Steak (but very hearty); I saw it going by and had to ask the server about it! (but didn't order it for similar reasons to yours: that would be a beef heavy dinner). This does sound like a very good deal.

            2. Two years ago my wife and I at at Le Colonial. I knew nothing about the place, but the prix fixe menu seemed a good deal. It was a good deal.

              There were several choices for each course, all the food was interesting (fusion, I guess) and well done, and the atmosphere was great. I'd go back.

              1. during my lovely visit w/ carrie128 yesterday, we tried all the dat options (and a few things off menu) and personally I would have gone with the soup and not salad as app even though i had a steak because the soup is really a french onion soup and had no beef in it and it's not as hearty as it looks. i could have lapped that thing down in 30 seconds if i wasn't pacing myself. i thought the fish dish was quite good and a very large portion. as for the steak, i'm not convinced they know what rare is but they sure seem to have medium rare down. desserts were both decent but i will say that i liked the blood orange cheesecake though it wasn't the best i've ever had (bvest was a very creamy one that a friend brought to a party i had and it was topped with sour cream i think)

                if i had more time in your fair city, i would try to cajole other friends to go try some more dat options with me. i'm not sure i'd go back to this place unless i was with a steak eater but all in all it was a a decent meal.

                1. When choosing DAT I take a look at what the paticipating restaurant's usual entree price is. If it falls into the $31-50 range then I figure it's a good deal for the dinner DAT promotion. Otherwise you can find many prix fixe meals that are available all the time.

                  This year I'm thinking of either Tablespoon or Chouquet's. We tried the Cosmopolitan Cafe last year-mostly because they offered jazz during dinner. We had a good experience and have gone back several times....innovative food, 1/2 price bottles of wines on certain nights, helpful wait staff, pleasant atmosphere.

                  1. I am going to Scott Howard tomorrow night, partially because of the fact that they are offering a pretty fair sampling of their regular menu for DAT, as well as the overall good reviews I have seen here and elsewhere. My first time there so I am very excited to try it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: WCFoodie

                      Just got back from Scott Howard and the DAT menu. It was just fabulous. What a thoroughly enjoyable food experience. The service was top-notch and the food execution perfect. I recommend the salmon appetizer, the pork shoulder entree and butterscotch pudding for dessert. I will make an effort to go back to this restaurant. It's well worth regular menu prices.

                    2. Whoever said One Market doesn't have a good Dine About Town menu is way, way off the mark. We think it's excellent and the menu for the promotion is always wonderful and an excellent value. We haven't been yet this year, but expect we'll not be let down.

                      1. I enjoyed the DAT menu at Cortez this past weekend. I had the the best poached salmon ever. Frisee salad with smoked trout was also very good.

                        Also went to Foreign Cinema with the intent of ordering the DAT menu. Alas, I was the only one at the table who did not order from the DAT menu. Everybody was ordering the soup and pork chop (which was delicious) and I just couldn't bring myself to order the same thing as everybody else. My "boneless" quail was good but not as good as the pork chop, though. DH enjoyed the pork chop but did say he got "tired" of the flavor after a while.

                        1. I just had to share that we did our DAT at Butterfly today at brunch and the service was terrible. I was optimistic going in, having read that they might be on the upswing, but everything took forever - such as waiting 15 minutes for drinks only to find out that one couldn't be made (and that drink was on the bill at the end anyways) - water glasses were not refilled until after dessert, entrees were just kinda thrown on the table and not to the correct people, and the like. Sloppy and sluggish all around.

                          The food was good, but not especially unique or well made: I had the duck confit eggrolls (the filling was not as meaty as I would have liked, but the wrapper was crisp and delicate), my husband had the salmon carpaccio (good salmon, but very thickly cut for carpaccio), I had the salmon scramble for my entree (very tasty, albeit very light on the creme fraiche), my husband had the steak cobb salad (very nice pieces of steak, good bacon), and I had the creme brulee for dessert (good, nothing notable).

                          The cocktails were quite good. I enjoyed the mysteriously sweet cucumber sake martini, and my friend had the cherry blossom soju martini, which was pleasantly dry and not too sweet.

                          The service, though...I don't know if they were treating us worse because we were ordering from the DAT menu, because some other tables were getting faster service, but the people next to us said they couldn't wait any longer for their entrees and just asked for the check and left.

                          They did have the Bears-Saints game on TV, which probably calmed us down considerably. May have aggravated others - I'm not sure.

                          1. I wanted to report that Fringale doesn't have the Ribeye on the DAT Menu as shown on the DAT website. We ended up not ordering from the DAT menu but the food was terrific, best ribeye I've had in a while. Service was great.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: DezzerSF

                              Went there last night - they had the ribeye posted on the menu in the window also, but not on the menu inside. I seem to recall the same thing last year - ribeye on the online menu, but not offered once you got into the restaurant. A little bait-and-switch, perhaps? Haha . . .

                              In the mood for steak, went with the ribeye anyway, along with a crab-celery-apple appetizer. Food overall was very good, satisfying. Got a banana chocolate bread pudding for dessert, that wasn't so impressive.

                              The service there, not so much, got some attitude from the hostess (rolling of eyes when we asked to split the bill on a couple credit cards, etc.), and were hurried out of there once our dinner was done.

                              1. re: nsheth

                                My friend had the same appetizer and wasn't too thrilled with it. I had the calamari appetizer, which was a huge portion, but a little on the salty side. It went well with the Sauvignon Blanc though. Our dinner went at a nice slow pace and the waiters were very courteous and helpful with the wine pairings.

                                1. re: nsheth

                                  Can you tell me what the main course options were on DAT menu if no rib eye??

                                  1. re: funmarysf

                                    Sole, Pork Tenderloin, and Lamb Osso Buco

                                    1. re: DezzerSF

                                      Yup, same options I had . . .

                                  2. re: nsheth

                                    I had the ribeye and frites on the DAT menu early in January. It was a good deal. They really should update the menu on the DAT website if they are not serving the ribeye on the DAT menu anymore. We had a good meal and pleasant overall experience there. Dessert was disappointing, though.

                                2. I tried the DAT menu at Zingari... management mentioned to my table they have a similar DAT type menu all year, that changes seasonally. Service was excellent; we had tickets to a show that evening and our server ensured that our meal progressed in a timely fashion.

                                  We both had the roasted butternut squash soup (changes daily) to start, which packed bold almost gingery flavor, ever so slightly sweet; a lovely beginning. My DC ordered the salmon, which he proclaimed as moist and tender; very good. I gave him a bite of my osso bucco -- and we both fell in love with that; I think he was secretly wishing the orders had been switched. I couldn't tell from across the table what came with his salmon, and since he's just started on chowish adventures to broaden his palete, he could only identify it was stuff all diced or chopped up, and he could taste mushrooms. My polenta was definitely creamy, with just the hint of mayo flavor -- eggs, oil and/or butter maybe.

                                  We each ordered different desserts; both the tiramisu and creme brulee... although they were both great there was no wow factor and I left kinda disappointed.

                                  1. We had the DAT menu at Cosmopolitan Cafe Friday night and thought it was very good. Wife had a great Prime Rib of pork and I had a huge piece of Tombo that was great. Apps were a beet salad that my wife liked and ahi/salmon tartare, very good, bit spicy.

                                    1. Has anyone tried The Public?

                                      1. I've gone crazy with DAT this year...decided it was time to branch out and try some new things. Here's my take:

                                        Tablespoon - first time there and first night of the promo. The menu had the wrong price, but they only charged the DAT price. Service was good as was food, but I think it wasn't that big a savings. I would go back for a "regular" meal, especially since the mushroom risotto that I wanted to try (which wasn't on DAT) was only $18.

                                        Maya - only the second time I've been there and wouldn't go back. When I got there, I was told that they have 2 Prixe Fixe menus...any three courses for $36 or something starred on the menu for the first and second courses and only sorbet for dessert for $30. I had the driest pieces of carnitas ever...when I was trying to cut one of them, my fork slipped and I ended up with rice and beans (that was next to the meat on my plate) all over my lap! However, the coconut and strawberry sorbets were excellent. For $62 (including 2 $8.50
                                        small margaritas), it wasn't worth it.

                                        Ruth's Chris - this is one of the best deals, but you have to ask for the menu. We had salad, 12 oz. ribeye, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes plus dessert. I don't go to steakhouses in general, but I go there duing DAT because I don't need a 16 oz. steak costing over $30, and you get their good ribeye at a reasonable price. Our waiter was great...very helpful with the wine and nice, unlike some places that treat you a little shabby because you're ordering from DAT. Of course they made up for the DAT price by the $48 half-bottle of wine we also ordered!

                                        Butterfly - we were concerned because some friends had been underwhelmed when they had lunch/brunch there. At dinner, my friend and I really liked it..she had the onion and mushroom soup and I had the duck confit spring rolls, we both had the grilled hanger steak with Portobello Mushroom and Sweet Pea Stir Fry with Cabernet Jus De Veau and a Potato-Leek Gratin, and the warm chocolate cake and ice cream dessert. When I told the waitress that I didn't like coffee ice cream, she immediately offered vanilla bean instead. It's a place that you could go back to and spend close to the same amount without DAT. We had only been there previously for their wine tasting events. Our waitress was fine and really pleased to hear that we were enjoying the food since we had never eaten there before. Everyone couldn't have been nicer.

                                        Scott Howard - ate there Tuesday night. Had been in December and had horrible service, but they made good when I complained, and we had a great time Tuesday night. Service was 200% better, the food was as good as before. Again, this is a restaurant with pretty decent prices anyway...but the $15 wine pairing was a steal. We had a Sauvignion
                                        Blanc with the first course that we liked a lot, a zin with the entree, and a choice between port and a dessert wine. I normally hate dessert wines because they are sickening sweet or taste like cough medicine, but this pairing was really good with the butterscotch pudding. Like a previous poster, I also had the salmon appetizer and pork shoulder...excellent. In the
                                        past they have had $30 early bird dinner (5:30 - 6:30) and our hostess said she thinks they are going to do it again in February. Also $5 specialty drinks for happy hour.

                                        I still have Rubicon tomorrow and Fringale on Monday...like I said, I went nuts this year!