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Jan 6, 2008 06:22 PM

Pesce Review - Polk Street/ Russian Hill SF

Finally went to Pesce on Polk and Green and maybe like most of you have past it several times. Looks nice, cute, friendly, and has a good menu. So I went with 2 friends on a particularly raining Friday night to find is almost empty at 9pm.

The place was as nice looking as it appeared from the outside. Great dark wood accents but there were spotlights that were way to bright and directed straight onto our table. So we inquired if there was a dimmer and got the lights adjusted. Not a problem.

Then it is time to choose wines. 5-8 Italian wines and I don't really care for italian wines. We try three and don't like any of them so we switch to cocktails. They have a large cocktail list but I stick to my usual order.

What we ordered: Grilled shrimp with canellini beans and rosemary, Dungeness crab risotto cake w/ a litle mixed greens, Seared tuna in tomato putanesca sauce, merlot braised lamb shank on bone.

The crab risotto and shrimp came out waaaaaay to quicky. They were only slightly warm but after not liking the wine or the lighting we didn't really want to complain much more. The shrimp was okay once I added salt to it and you could hardly taste the rosemary. 3 shrimp and maybe a dozen little white beans for $10 didn't thrill me. The risotto cake was delicious but only had a very faint taste of crab with no herbs but who wouldn't love fried pasta?

The lamb shank was tasty.....can't really say much. It didn't knock my socks off. I think it was a little too acidic in an unbalanced way because I do love acidity. The meat was perfectly tender falling off the bone though. The tuna dish was a little more cooked than seared but I think that is how it was supposed to be. The puttanesca sauce was traditional and delicious but very similar to how I cook it at home so it didn't impress me. Plus the tuna flavor was completely lost in it.

Dessert - we had a layered ice cream brownie sundae. Not impressive but cured the sweet after dinner chocolate craving.

The plates are very small and so for the price not a very affordable restaurant, and yet very casual dishes. There were daily specials which I like the idea of, and my martini was only $6, another plus.

In all, I would not go back but I do not regret going. It would be a perfect date spot as most of that area is, but only if your date was going to be able to impress you more than the food. As for reccomending it, only as a last option or if you are as curious as I was.

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  1. Thanks. It seemed there were always positive reports on Pesce and I had it on my to try list ... eventualy. I won't be in such a 'hurry', so to speak, anymore.

    2227 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Ehh, I love Pesce but you really have to know what to order there.... I have always had a good experience with either small parties at odd hours or large parties on a busy weekend eve. They were great when we made it the place for my best friend's birthday dinner....

      Anyhoo my favorite part about Pesce is their flourless chocolate cake.... It's just perfect when you need one, and they are just as eager to serve you if that is all you came in for! Mmmm...

      1. re: janel a.

        Was at Pesce for the first time about two weeks ago. Went with 5 friends and we had a wonderful time. It was a holiday get together and we stayed at our table for 2.5 hrs and we were never rushed, even though the restaurant is small. The service was attentive but not obtrusive, and the waitress steered us towards some great dishes. Standouts were the octupus starter, scallops, and the pastas (a "tuna bolognese", linguini with crab). I would go back for those pastas alone, but I also really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant. If this restaurant were in my neighborhood, I'd be there often. Alas, parking is terrible in that area....