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Serpentine?

s
SteveG Feb 4, 2008 10:04 PM

Any word on this new place opened up by the folks from Slow Club? I gather from yelp that they opened about a couple months ago down in dogpatch, and that they serve Prather Ranch beef, in burger or braised cheeks format.

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Serpentine
2495 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

  1. bbulkow Aug 2, 2009 12:05 PM

    Old thread, but looks like the largest serpentine thread.

    The cocktail I had wasn't just good, it was overwhelmingly freakingly awesome. Much better than what I've had at gitane, which gets a lot of love - mostly because Gitane has 3 bartenders and it's somewhat luck whether you cocktail is made by the head guy or not. Serpentine's cocktails are more complex, but they've got measured recipes so there's less variation of bartender - down to an eyedropper of some floral extract. They use those Oxo 2-oz measuring "cups" with the slanted sides - faster and more accurate than a shotglass or doing it by pourer-count. Best cocktail I've had all year - something with absinthe, honey, whiskey, rosemary.

    Ate here in early august. The critical issue appears to be ordering what's fresh and happy. We had a mushroom side that was spectacular - although I might say a little over garlic'ed - there was a mushroom my girlfriend had never eaten before, which is surprising.

    Peach and nectarine salad was also awesome. The fruit itself was peak, the champagne + mint combination classic.

    The salmon was OK, but nothing to write home about. The meat was not perfectly cooked, the bed of fresh greens the salmon was on was better than the salmon itself - and the tapanade around the outside was bacon-good.

    In general, anything fiendishly complex was an exquisite blend of tastes. Simple-grilled is not their strong point.

    After one meal, I look forward to trying the place again, but I'll continue with the "avoid the entrees" strategy that I think works well in the local/california cuisine places. They know they have to have a duck and a beef and a pig and a chicken, so they have all those plated with different local/current veggies. But that's not their love. But the star is the veggies, so why not concentrate there? The soup looked awesome too.

    I can't imagine that a place like this that did so much so well would normally serve a small, shriveled burger. For the poster that had that experience, I'd have to believe it was a one-time mistake.

    Price - about $70 out the door, but we really ordered one very large meal (app, entree, side, desert, one cocktail) and both ate everything, since girlfriend wasn't that hungry. I would expect to normally pay about $60/pp.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow
      Windy Aug 2, 2009 03:38 PM

      Slow Club and Serpentine aren't California cuisine though, and it would be a mistake to stick to vegetables. At least at Slow Club, roasting meat is what they do well.

      They were serving great pork chops 10 years before NoPa. The burgers at Slow Club are super, without pretense. Excellent, unfussy cocktails with classy touches (habaneros in the vodka for Bloody Marys, amarena cherries in the Aviation).

      1. re: Windy
        bbulkow Aug 2, 2009 09:41 PM

        Slow Club is different from Serpentine. Same owners, maybe, not the same chef, not the same kitchen. It's not just an outpost, it's a different place - if you're talking about Slow Club, I agree, but reading between the lines, I wonder if you've been to Serpentine.

        The cocktails at Serpentine are fussy, and better for it - not so at Slow Club, which is great at the classics. Serpentine might also be good at the classics, but it's hard to pass up the specialties.

        I guess all I'm really saying is these guys are serving some bangin' food, and deserve a little more play. The note here about a small, dried up burger shouldn't scare people off. It's worth a try.

      2. re: bbulkow
        m
        margieco Aug 2, 2009 04:59 PM

        I had brunch here today and was pretty impressed.
        No wait and a bright airy space. I had the brisket hash and it was outstanding. The balance of the beets against the cubes of meat was great and the flavors came together well.

        My friend had the chicken fried steak and also loved it. Service was nice and friendly.

        The brunch menu is really enticing. I had a hard time deciding and definitely want to go back again. Recommended.

      3. l
        lmarie Nov 15, 2008 06:17 PM

        I had an excellent brisket sandwich at Serpentine for lunch about a month ago. Came with a salad of pristine greens with a good vinaigrette.

        1. t
          tennisboy Nov 15, 2008 02:18 PM

          I would give it a 4.9/5. Pretty amazing, and excellent service. Savory bread pudding is 10/10 and the steak hash was excellent. Ice tea w/simple syrup (standard, I didn't have to ask) was a nice touch. Weird neighborhood, excellent food. Would be packed to the gills if it was anywhere in Manhattan.

          1. johnvey Feb 6, 2008 10:24 PM

            Overall, it's about a 3.5/5, but the bread pudding is truly something to behold. I'm generally not a bread pudding fan, but Serpentine's version with its brilliantly green nettle pesto retains the perfect amount of texture that it deserves top billing on the menu. They just started taking reservations a few weeks ago.

            1. o
              oaktowngirl Feb 5, 2008 07:27 AM

              This is the only thing I have seen about it.
              http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_i...

              5 Replies
              1. re: oaktowngirl
                g
                grubber4 Feb 5, 2008 09:58 AM

                Had a very average meal there last week. Went on a Thursday at about 9 pm and it was suprisingly crowded. The space is authentic wherehouse with a really nice atmosphere. Bar was crowded with diners. We ordered the fried oysters and hush puppies for appetizer. It was basically all that you would expect with fried oysters--doughy and deep fried. I had the half roasted chicken and it was very mediocre. Kind of a slimy skin (not truly crispy or roasted), though it was definitiely brined. My dining partner had a the Burger which was designated with a ranch raised beef (who knows these days if that means free range or grain fed but w/o hormones). Burger pattie was very small and with very average taste. The burger was not garnished with a tomato. The "local" slow movement has hit a level of absurdity when you can't get a burger with a non-local tomato because of an obsession with a food ideology. Imported tomatoes, while certianly not as good as out of the garden August tomatoes locally, work just fine. We made do with a leaf of lettuce and some ketchup.

                All and all, I would go back only because the bar scene seems nice, the atmosphere was a genuine old building (unlike the faux and recreated feel at many restaurants) and the service friendly. I would have to adventure around the menu a little bit before I give it a full thumbs up.

                1. re: grubber4
                  g
                  gbsf Feb 5, 2008 04:42 PM

                  Thanks for the comments. Personally, i'm all for restaurants that highlight seasonal ingredients, even if it means leaving out tomatoes in the winter, for example. I would rather have a burger without a pasty, mealy imported tomato than with it (not to mention the avoided carbon footprint of transporting it)... and it's a good opportunity to try different twists on old standbys... i presume they made an attempt at a substitution at least?

                  1. re: gbsf
                    g
                    grubber4 Feb 6, 2008 10:59 AM

                    Carbon footprint? Ha ha, that's a good one. I am sure the 'local' lettuce they served with the burger (with nothing really else) was hand delivered by a farmer and a mule from the local farms and had a zero carbon footprint, not. Come on, the bottom line is when we get to point where it's not politically correct to serve a "hot house" or "vine ripened tomato" (neither local nor admittedly as good as grandma's homegrown in Brentwood--but not bad) with a burger, then we have all lost it. Furthermore it's really silly to calcuate carbon footprints for a tomato, meanwhile the Port of Oakland accept 10 million tons of goods annually from carbon spewing India and China.

                    1. re: gbsf
                      pane Feb 6, 2008 02:49 PM

                      The burger at Slow Club is one of the best in San Francisco, in my opinion. The Prather Ranch meat is tender and flavorful. I think it's generally served with a tomato (and house made pickles), but in the winter I usually ask for it without a tomato--winter tomato lover or no, I'd be interested in trying the burger at Serpentine to see how it stacks up to Slow Club.

                    2. re: grubber4
                      t
                      Tobias Aug 2, 2009 07:56 PM

                      " The "local" slow movement has hit a level of absurdity when you can't get a burger with a non-local tomato because of an obsession with a food ideology."

                      Depends how you look at absurdity. There's a strong argument to be made that it's absurd to ship a tomato half way around the world. And another that's it's absurd to worry about the carbon footprint of a tomato when it's the burger -- grass fed and local or not -- that's got a footprint far greater than any tomato. Is it absurd to forgo a tomato in February? Increasingly, many say it's not. Besides, they don't taste very good.

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