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Feb 4, 2007 05:01 PM

Piperade closed?

After canvassing this board for ideas for our three-day whirlwind in SF, we went over to Piperade on Saturday afternoon for lunch after visiting the farmer's market at the Ferry Building. (The wait at Slanted Door was just silly.) They didn't answer the phone before we went, raising doubts, but not until we arrived and found the gates down and a huge "for rent" sign posted next to the place did we understand why there wasn't even an answering machine. We could conceivably have misunderstood the "for rent" sign--it appears equidistant between Piperade and establishment next door, but I gotta tell you we were mightily, mightily disappointed to find it closed, whatever the story.

I will post in much more detail, but for now: Aziza was absolutely wonderful. I'd be a very happy camper, indeed, if they decided to open a Chicago outpost. We had an excellent dinner there, as we did Saturday night at Perbacco. Very different places, very different feels, very different...everythings except for great food, great service, great ambiance. Scoma's on Thursday....I guess it's one of those places ya just have to go to once in a while. I felt like I'd entered a time machine. However, that said, we had crab and snapper and both were fresh, fresh, fresh. An excellent meal, very good service...just felt like a time warp.

We were both exceedingly--albeit pleasantly--surprised at the reasonable (dare I say 'cheap') prices at both Aziza and Perbacco (notice I didn't include Scoma's). And even more welcome than that, the servers we had at both places restored my faith in the profession. Absolutely top-notch, attentive, highly informed service at both places.

The only problem was we simply didn't have long enough to hit even 1% of the places on our list. Other spots we hit were Greens (at Fort Mason), Mama's at Washington Square, Yank Sing (on Spear), and I think I'm blanking on one meal. A full report is promised in short order, but I did want to post to note the major question about Piperade.

Thanks again to all who helped us with our planning!

And now, having left SF in the 60s to come back home to Chicago, where the high today was 0, I think I'll go crawl under the covers....

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  1. I think that Piperade is a dinner only restaurant...[the sibling restaurant Bocadillos serves lunch]...I'm thinking that the for rent sign is for other space in the buiulding...if not, you've scooped everyone...

    1. Piperade serves lunch only on weekdays, when there are tens of thousands of potential customers in the nearby office buildings.

      1. Well, their website specifically mentions both lunch and dinner and has a separate link to Bocadillos. Indeed, we had printed out a menu as a guide that listed different daily lunch specials. Go figure. And boy oh boy do I hope I haven't scooped everyone. This would be bad news indeed.

        Upon reflection, I suppose it's conceivable that it's lunch during the week only, but the website most definitely does not say that. Indeed, here's a quote from an online menu service (admittedly not infallible, but still...)

        A la carte: $20 Prix fixe lunch special: $24 (includes soup or salad and dessert of the day)
        Mondays Braised veal sweetbreads with madeira
        Tuesdays Sauteed calamari in ink sauce "txipiroa"
        Wednesdays Seafood and shellfish soup "ttoro"
        Thursdays Braised rabbit "lrouleguy" with prunes
        Fridays Tombo tuna and potato stew "marmitako"
        Saturdays Roasted pork tenderloin with braised cabbage and figs

        7 Replies
        1. re: Gypsy Boy

          The hours are on, at the top of the Information page.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            The page I'm looking at has four choices only: About, Menus, Community, and Products. And the Menus page specifically mentions lunch without specifying particular days. I completely believe what you say, I just don't have an Information page. Maybe different browsers have different presentations, but the information you have is simply not showing up for me.

            1. re: Gypsy Boy

              The hours are on the opentable link provided below.

              1. re: rworange

                Ah...but we weren't using Open Table for lunch. (Not to mention all the folks in the world who don't know about OT) And since their own website doesn't even note this fact, I don't think we were particularly well-served by the restaurant's lack of disclosure. It may be well-known to folks in SF--clearly the ones who matter most--but I'm a little surprised that their own website couldn't trouble to mention this fact. And no answering machine message whatsoever?

              2. re: Gypsy Boy

                If you click About, a tab for the Information page appears.

                Definitely an overdesigned and user-hostile Web site.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  See?! I KNEW you were right. Not only about the hours, but about the user-hostile website as well. It's a shame since I can't tell you how much I had been looking forward to that meal. High-quality Basque is something essentially unavailable in Chicago; which is to say, there are a very small handful (maybe two or three) of places offering it, but they are popular only because (a) too few people know what good Basque food is--not entirely surprising, I suppose, and (b) there's no good Basque food to compare it with. Chicago's location argues against any Basque population to speak of, needless to say. All in all, a great pity. As is our lack of any Portuguese at all (!), or even any Indonesian. We have an extraordinary range of things and many, many quite excellent obscure ones, but none of these three, really. Oh well, the good news is that Piperade is there and I just need to get on a plane--again. :-))

                  1. re: Gypsy Boy

                    For future reference, a number of notable San Francisco restaurants have odd lunch hours. A16 serves lunch only Wednesday through Friday, Bacar only on Friday.

          2. OpenTable is still accepting reservations for Piperade

            Thanks for the report. I recommend Scoma's only if someone is looking to eat on Fisherman's Wharf or has some other special condition ... there is free valet parking at the door.

            I like the place because as you said there are few places in the city with fresher fish and know how to cook it correctly. The sides are kind of time-warpy and only passable.

            How was the bread there? The last time I was at Scoma's the bakery that once supplied most of the SF restaurants had closed. The version that Boudin was baking from Scoma's was pretty awful and the waiter said other customers were complaining. I hope they went back to a crusty sourdough.

            The prices at Scomas are too high. The portions too big. In a way you can get around the price by splitting entrees.

            The other way to get around that is to order at lunch. Three courses are $21. The portion sizes are better and there's still the great fresh fish.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rworange

              The bread was okay, no more. It would have helped if it (a) had a crust worthy of the name or (b) was even slightly warm. And whatever else it may have been, it was most emphatically NOT sourdough of any stripe. Prices are silly; you're paying because you're a tourist (IMHO) and don't know any better where to go. We were really interested in fresh fish and got what we wanted. I was informed by my wife, the crab eater, that as good as the crab was, she prefers Alaskan king crab, not Dungeness, because it's sweeter. I'm not a crab eater, though I did have the crab cakes. On the plus side, they may have been the most crab-filled crab cakes I've ever had. On the minus side, they may have been the crab-filled crab cakes I've ever had--not quite enough other things to add up to the flavor I'm used to. But if you're a crab lover, I imagine they're pretty hard to beat.

            2. I ate there for dinner three weeks ago. Not only was the place packed, there were no reservations available between 6:15 and 8:30 pm (I tried to change our res) on a Thursday night so I'd say they were doing just fine. Gerald Hiroyigen (spelling?) walked the floor around 8 pm and made a point of saying hello even to the average joe tables.