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Jun 14, 2006 01:06 AM

Dago Mary's, Hunters Point Shipyard, report

  • d

I'm still not sure what this place is. It's just inside the guard-booth at the entrace to the Hunters Point Shipyard. Inside and outside on the patio, there's a gorgeous if industrial view of the Bay. The food is old-school Italian (spaghetti and meatballs; linguine with clams) and old-school Californian (if it's fair to call crab Louie that).

At first I thought the scene reminded me of the Italian restaurants I grew up with in Rochester, New York. Aside from my table, there was no one in the crowd under 40, and no one (aside from one African-American woman) who wasn't a white man. They plunk down what I thought would be olives but are actually beans in a garlicky oil -- not pureed beans with fresh herbs and so on, but chickpeas and red kidneys fresh out of the can with oil and chopped garlic. All very throwback to Rochester in the 70's.

Then it felt colonial. The space is decorated with over-the-top carved wood doorframes and other designs taken from the Flood Mansion on the peninsula. With the odd old-fashioned decor, and big windows looking onto the largely deserted construction site that is Hunters Point Shipyard, it felt like a colonial outpost holding on against the coming revolution.

At any rate, the food was quite good. I had spaghetti with meatballs. The spaghetti was perfectly al dente, even though I was fearing an overcooked mess. The meatballs were fantastic -- studded with onion bits and herbs and browned well. The onions made them sweet against the meatiness of the charred outsides. They were dense enough not to fall apart into the sauce. I especially liked that it came with shavings of fresh parmesan rather than pre-grated. I also tried the linguine with manila clams, which was also al dente with a salty, garlicky sauce that was rich without overpowering the clams.

Desserts were forgettable. I think they sat around for a long long time before being served.

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  1. c
    ChowFun (derek)

    How did the red sauce hold up to and "Eastern" standard?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChowFun (derek)

      The red sauce did not drown the pasta at Dago Mary's, which in my view is a plus but is unlike my memories of red sauce in Rochester NY (my reference point, in case anyone else shares this, is the Northside Inn in East Rochester). The sauce itself was meaty and a little sweet, not at all spicy or salty.

      1. re: david kaplan
        ChowFun (derek)

        Thanks the search is still on for a quality "Southern Italian-American" red sauce restaurant in the Bay Area......

    2. Dego Mary’s is located in an old bordello, hence the old-fashoined decor.

      I am glad that you found the food to be pretty good. It used to be a favorate for office parties for folks that worked out of the Bay View, but I stopped going a few years ago when I felt the food had gone downhill and the interior had a musky water-damage smell. Perhaps a new visit is in order!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Civil Bear

        An old bordello? Suddenly a lot more about the decor and ambience start to make sense.

        No bad smells. There's a new paint job and nice wood floors. The ceiling and chandeliers are horrific, though.

        1. re: Civil Bear
          ChowFun (derek)

          The "bordello" decor is the leftover of pieces of the "Flood Mansion" mostly destroyed in the 1906 quake....

        2. Thanks for the reminder! Back when I was young & really poor and had friends that lived in that area, we used to go there all the time - We loved the good food that was great bang for the buck.

          Somehow it fell off my dining rotation and I haven't been in years, we'll definitely have to go back.

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