1300 On Fillmore
Had an epic dinner at 1300 last night and I strongly recommend this place to fellow SF foodies. We had six people and ate just about every item on the menu. The Southern exposed fried chicken, the BBQ shrimp and grits, the foie gras tourchon with huckleberry jam and the desserts were our favorite parts of the meal although there really wasn't much of a weak link. The room is flat out incredible, evoking a Jazzy-American feel with big leather couches and roomy accommodations. We met the owner, the chef, and the manager Tony Elum (who I recognized from his days at Frascatti) and all of them were so charming and welcoming. The wine list is downright affordable and delicious. And I really can't say enough about the service - our waiter, Adam G., was professional and knowledgeable and really seemed to celebrate what the restaurant had to offer. I really can't say enough about "Ace's" service. It's so nice to see this neighborhood turning around. I'd recommend that everyone go here before November 28th when Yoshi's moves in next door and it's officially impossible to get a prime time reservation at 1300.
So damn yummy.
It didn't take much encouragement for me to wander over to this new neighborhood haunt. Dining alone, I opted for the bar instead of a more formal sit-down meal and knew immediately that I would be returning often. The vaulted brown ceilings invoked warmth and the generous leather chairs -- reminiscent of a classic British men's club -- were inviting and comfortable. I settled down in the lounge area to bask in the glowing wall of historical photographs and a gin-based French 75 while I perused the menu.
To taste through several of their offerings, I opted for the BBQ shrimp and creamy grits and the bourbon-braised pork belly with shelled white bean purée. While I was waiting, my server was kind enough to bring me some fresh cornbread with honey-truffle butter and red pepper jelly. I was concerned about potential heat with the red pepper jelly and was assured it was quite palatable which it was. Truffle-honey? Minimal truffle flavor and I imagine they are using one of those pre-mixed truffle honeys which add little, if no flavor. However the cornbread biscuits were good an the red pepper jelly was chunky and a nice contrast to the sweet butter.
I was a little concerned about the delay in receiving my two dishes and while waiting, ordered a Sidecar. Sure enough, when the plates arrived, I could immediately detect that the shrimp and grits had sat for a while the pork was being prepared as it was obviously piping hot. Both dishes were quite appetizing but I had a few minor complaints; on the shrimp and grits, there were five shrimp (which is fine), a hefty pour of excellent house-made BBQ sauce, but only *maybe* a half-a-cup of grits... WAY too little for the rest of the ingredients offered. You need to be able to slather all that saucy goodness into the grits but I was left with ample sauce and no grits. The pork belly was perfectly grilled with a crusty exterior, a good hefty layer of fat, and a beautiful bourbon glaze. My complaint? Pretty minor, actually... two long, dried orange peels being used as garnish. Silly me - I think that garnish should be edible but these were entirely dried and bitterly inedible.
Over all, I am quite thrilled actually. My criticisms are minor and the space is stunning. With entrée prices north of $25, it is questionable how often I will get back there, but with such a fabulous lounge space and knowing I can order everything off the menu in the bar, I might be more inclined to sample sides (braised greens and mac-n-cheese!) with a great cocktail. Then again, a Bouillabaisse that sports lobster and crab next to short ribs might be worthy of spending a little extra money now and then...
I also went here last weekend. Unfortunately, my experience wasn't quite as positive as everybody else's.
First, I really loved the room, as others have mentioned. Roomy, clubby, jazzy, old san francisco pictures on the wall, this is a great place to grab a drink.
On to the food, I did like the table cornbread, and that jalapeno jelly was delicious. But moving on, things were pretty disappointing. I started with the warm poached egg salad. The poached egg seemed just a tad overcooked, and overall, the flavors didn't seem to come together. For my entree, I got the fried chicken. I found it pretty flavorless, as if someone had forgotten to season altogether. While some pieces were cooked perfectly, nice and juicy, one came out dry and overcooked. The biscuits they served on the side, however, were pretty noteworthy - especially with a little more of that jalapeno jelly!
The vegetarian in the group got the black eye pea cake, and was pretty positive about it. Average reviews around the rest of the table, however. At the end, nobody was inspired for any dessert.
Overall, don't think I'd rush back for the food, but perhaps for a drink in the bar!
We loved three of our four dishes -- the wild mushrooms on grits; the oyster bisque (flat-out the best I have ever had) and the fried chicken on a bed of truffled whipped potatoes (the real reason I ordered the chicken). Roast coho salmon was okay, the potatoes it was with were fabulous. While our waitress was very pleasant and competent, they are definitely still working out the service kinks. We ordered a bottle of wine and they were out of it (a neat trick for a restaurant that has been open 4 weeks); didn't end up getting wine until after appetizers were served; despite a half-empty restaurant at 7, the two people at the desk couldn't figure out how to seat us; server (not waitress) brought soup without a spoon -- a personal pet peeve.
Gorgeous space and I loved the diversity of the crowd, makes you realize how segregated most parts of SF are.