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Hayes St. Grill

Just caught a quick dinner at HSG and it felt as if i went to a whorehouse, wham bam TY mam. That'll be $75.

On the plus side it is reliable, the fish is fresh and well prepared, the waitstaff knows if you are hurrying to a show.

But really a piece of fish, and I'd say the portions are 6 oz maybe 8, some watercress (the plate looked lonely and vacant) and a bowl of french fries for $25 is...not worth going back to unless you are there for that pre performance dinner which is why it makes the place feel sleazy, imo. We did indeed have two nice fishies, a mahi and a sierra (whatever that is from mex.) cooked on the grill. The chopped salad was not at all generous for $10 and a glass of wine at just short of $10.

So maybe all I'm asking for is an alternative in the area, please help.

ps- pescatarian diet

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  1. I've never been, but have always had that impression of the place. I've been wanting to try their prix fixe dinner, which sounds like a good deal at $29.

    1. that was kind of my impression the first and only time I ate there in 95. I didn't feel ripped off, just not really impressed. classic room, but too many other good (and classic) places to be found. The proximity to Opera and Symphony prob. sustain it.

      to be fair, they took a chance on the neighborhood well before it became anywhere near hip, in fact the area was kinda skanky (and more fun) until the freeway came down.

      2 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          The place reminds me of a nunnery with the green carpet and the straight-laced interior. The service is cold and the place seems oddly detached.

        2. That's the most apt description of HSG I've ever heard. Hilarious!

          Some alternatives: Zoya on Grove--the food has been consistently good, the owners are charming, friendly and helpful. It's tiny, but I've never seen it full. (I've never been there pre-show, though).

          Paul K. is one of our standbys in that neighborhood. Great cocktails, and yummy interesting food.

          If you don't want a full meal and you can swing a seat, sitting at the bar at Jardiniere for a glass of champagne and a couple of small dishes is always a swellegant and delicious option.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pistou

            did you see Traci des Jardin got bounced off one of those stupid America's Top Hell Kitchen shows a year or so ago? Made me realize how little "Reality" is actually in these "reality" shows - note the capitalization.

            I'm always skeptical of that genre.

            yeah if you want an old-style CA seafood joint, Tadich, Sam's, Swan's etc.

            Herb Caen still haunts these places - HSG too I'm sure.

            1. re: Pistou

              I thought I read in the Chronicle that Zoya on Grove closed because the couple wants to reopen in a larger location?

            2. I just had lunch there yesterday. I really enjoyed my fish and love their french fries, my lunch companion really liked the hamburger. I know its pricey but the quality and the sustainable aspect is very important to me. I like to know where the meat comes from and that the fish is sustainable. I am always willing to pay more for quality and good professional service.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Lori SF

                yes it is good for a regular thing, just not overwhelming for an occasional place. I have no complaints, when I was living in that 'hood it was kind of a splurge (student at the time).

                1. re: hill food

                  I understand that in my case it was expensed by my vendor.
                  Fish is really expensive the higher the quality the higher the price.

                  1. re: hill food

                    The quality of the seafood is excellent. I had some scallops there once, perhpas the best I've ever had.

                    That said, the place is boring, fall asleep boring...not that there's anything wrong with that. Perfect place to bring your older relatives however since you can definitely hold a conversation there...if you don't fall asleep.

                2. Too bad. Doesn't look like things have changed much in the past four years..


                  1. Alternative for what? A pre-performance dinner, so you need to be sure you can get out on time? Or just a good meal in the neighborhood?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Robert, yes. Sorry about the ambiguity but I'll take both a pre performance dining spot AND a good meal in the neighborhood. Is that so much to ask for? take my $75-100 or??? and allow me to see a show. However if your answers are diferent I'll take that too.

                      1. re: 510jeff

                        Pre-performance dining is just about impossible. I cut my losses and have a steak salad at the bar of Sauce, which generally isn't a particularly chowish place but at least I can get some satisfying food and a drink for $30-$40, in and out in 30 min if that's what I need to do.

                        You might consider somewhere up or down market street for dinner, and then use the reasonably frequent public transit on Market to get to the show after your meal. Since taxis are now impossible to rely on for anything time-sensitive, you're now pretty limited in terms of where you can eat before a show.

                        1. re: SteveG

                          Steve, have taxis EVER been reliable in SF? I had a friend with elaborate strategies (before they upped the number of medallions) about what street and from which corner to hail, had better luck than most, but still took forever.

                          and to RL's comment Suppenkuche is an all-time fave.

                        2. re: 510jeff

                          For a quick pre-performance meal, I'd go to Gyro King rather than deal with the rush at upscale places. More likely I'd go to Thai House Express afterwards.

                          In the neighborhood, Sebo (sushi), Suppenk├╝che (German), and Absinthe (Cal-French) are really good. Sebo might be doable before a show if you were first in line when they open at 6pm and sit at the bar.

                      2. Bodega Bistro is a good spot for a preperformance meal, and you can certainly get good fish dishes there. I just had dinner there before an event at Herbst Theater, and it was I think less than a 10-minute walk (and not even too icky if you cut over to Polk or Van Ness instead of walking down Larkin).

                        1. How about Indigo? We go there often before the opera, and I've always had a good experience.