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Dago Mary's, Hunters Point Shipyard, report

david kaplan Jun 14, 2006 01:06 AM

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.

  1. c
    ChowFun (derek) Jun 14, 2006 09:19 AM

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChowFun (derek)
      david kaplan Jun 14, 2006 02:32 PM

      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) Jun 14, 2006 06:25 PM

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

    2. c
      Civil Bear Jun 14, 2006 01:29 PM

      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
        david kaplan Jun 14, 2006 02:35 PM

        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) Jun 15, 2006 10:55 AM

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

        2. p
          Pssst Jun 14, 2006 04:57 PM

          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.

          1. rworange Apr 24, 2007 11:27 AM

            A report that Dago Mary's is closing.


            7 Replies
            1. re: rworange
              Melanie Wong Apr 24, 2007 11:33 AM

              Just called and confirmed that Friday is indeed the last day for Dago Mary's in its current location. They hope to reopen in another redeveloped location in the shipyard when the City gives the go-ahead.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                larochelle Apr 24, 2007 11:43 AM

                I had heard about them closing and have been meaning to get back there for one last "good ol' times" meal but I thought I'd have more time. Let me know if you're interested in going on Wednesday or Thursday evening for a goodbye meal.

                1. re: larochelle
                  Peter Yee Apr 24, 2007 08:00 PM

                  I called. They tell me they are only going to open for dinner Friday night.

                  1. re: Peter Yee
                    Melanie Wong Apr 25, 2007 12:01 PM

                    To clarify, no dinner tonight or Thursday. Lunch and dinner on Friday, and probably open throughout the day.

              2. re: rworange
                kresge86 Apr 24, 2007 11:40 AM

                Yup. It's really closing. I had lunch there yesterday. Carl Nolte from the Chron was there doing a story on the closing of Dago Mary's. Evidently Warren Hinkle was there on Friday saying goodbye. Too sad. The old architectural details from the Flood mansion (not the one in SF... but one down on the Peninsula) are fantastic. I hope they can salvage some of that for their new home. Food was very good. I had cajun pasta. Nice linguine cooked al dente. My friends had fabulous burgers - huge rectangular slabs of meat.

                1. re: kresge86
                  Atomica Dec 12, 2007 04:46 PM

                  The Dago Mary's building was demolished today.

                  1. re: Atomica
                    Lori SF Dec 12, 2007 06:02 PM

                    OH NO that is so sad I replied before I read all the way down. Got excited for the east Coast thing. Sad sad.

              3. Lori SF Dec 12, 2007 06:01 PM

                Good find I must go. thanks

                6 Replies
                1. re: Lori SF
                  Calvinist Dec 13, 2007 03:37 PM

                  The owners of Dago Mary's are opening up open a restaurant on a boat called The Sherman (http://www.theshermanrestaurant.com/), in Burlingame.

                  I went to a very soft opening there last night. Ron Cohen, formerly of the Plumed Horse in Saratoga, is the chef.

                  1. re: Calvinist
                    Calvinist Dec 13, 2007 03:42 PM

                    Here's a good link, my browser didn't seem to like the parens:


                    I think they open to the public Friday.

                    1. re: Calvinist
                      rworange Dec 14, 2007 06:12 PM

                      Menu looks good. Thanks for the heads-up.

                      The Sherman
                      410 Airport Blvd, Burlingame, CA 94010

                      1. re: Calvinist
                        Giselle Dec 15, 2007 03:03 PM

                        Im trying to figure out if the Coquille St Jacques spelling on the dinner menu is for real

                        1. re: Giselle
                          wolfe Dec 15, 2007 03:24 PM

                          The pronunciation is probably correct.Why quibble with the spelling. Probably has to do with FSL.

                          1. re: wolfe
                            Calvinist Dec 18, 2007 11:22 AM

                            I will say the boat is beautiful. The food is promising with the quality of the seafood being quite high -- esp. the spot prawns and the crabcake being 100% local dungeness.

                            Full disclosure -- the night I was there was more of a invitation-only run though, so although I had a good experience they were still working out the kinks.

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