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Bocadillos,Laiola, Incanto and The House?: RobLaur,RW,Ruth L. et al

opinionatedchef Mar 18, 2008 04:10 PM

Hello, helpful SF Chs.Still planning the other vaca dinners after aziza, foreign cinema....

What are your recent experiences at these 3 places? Wonderful food? or Used to be great but.....? Is service snotty /dreadful at Boc.? Thanks much again.

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  1. Paul H RE: opinionatedchef Mar 18, 2008 05:46 PM

    The food at Bocadillos is wonderful, but it is a very casual place with a bar, communal tables, and high bar tables and nothing else. Service is also very causal, so casual that it it stretching things to call it service, but they know the menu and are responsive to requests. I love Bocaldillos and am planning a re-visit soon.

    1. tvham RE: opinionatedchef Mar 18, 2008 08:32 PM

      I'm also a Bocadillos fan and agree with the casual nature of the service.
      The House is one of my favorite restaurants in the city though I haven't been in a year or so.
      And I really didn't enjoy my dinner at Laiola although again, I haven't been in some time (I went right after they opened and thought it fine but nothing special)

      1. s
        SpicyMeatball RE: opinionatedchef Mar 19, 2008 12:40 PM

        Incanto is amazing, not flashy and the type of place where chef Chris Cosentino will come to your table and ask how everything is. He is at the Farmers Market every Saturday and it shows in the daily changing menu featuring the best of what's in season.
        Oh yeah, then there's the offal...he's famous for using all parts! I tried pig trotters and lamb liver on a recent visit and could appreciate both. There's "normal" stuff too and I had an excellent pappardelle with braised pork and a polpettini soup that my Italian grandma could've made...it was authentic.

        1. Morton the Mousse RE: opinionatedchef Mar 19, 2008 03:34 PM

          Incanto is my favorite restaurant. I've had many fabulous meals there. The lamb's neck is divine, the selection of wine by the glass is excellent, and the sommelier is great at pairing wines with each course. I love the fact that every time I'm there I get to try something I haven't had before - last time, it was a wonderful preparation of calve's brains. Cosentino is equally skilled at working with meat, seafood, and vegetables. I've been particularly impressed with his ability to make delicate and nuanced sauces, dressings, and broths. Service has been generally good in my experience and not the least bit snotty. The prices are remarkably reasonable for the quality of food and portion size. It's a neighborhood restaurant with destination worthy food.

          For future reference - it is considered a bit impolite to direct queries to specific posters. There are so many knowledgeable hounds in this community that a subject header cannot fit everyone's handle.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Morton the Mousse
            opinionatedchef RE: Morton the Mousse Mar 19, 2008 11:39 PM

            hmmm, no one's ever mentioned the semi insulting thing. i guess i thought , that the mention of specific posters would go to those w/ whom i felt most simpatico on a particular topic but i always mention 'et al' to include everyone.thanks for all your articulate help on this and all my other questions on this trip.

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              kare_raisu RE: opinionatedchef Mar 19, 2008 11:48 PM

              Sorry I have to agree with MtM. This may sound a bit harsh but: When you pose a question on chowhound you dont direct it to certain posters. That is not the nature of the beast. Is everyone else's [the wanton 'et al' you use] opinon not worth as much as those mentioned?

              Can you explain simpatico?

              What made you say the service is snotty at bocadillos?

              Get the Callos in the Basque style if you can handle offal at Bocadillos. Probably one of my favorite dishes in the bay area. Their flan is exquisite and the alberdi rioja is incredible.

              1. re: kare_raisu
                opinionatedchef RE: kare_raisu Apr 1, 2008 10:59 AM

                wow, for someone who is so generous wirth your posts about mex. in napa etc you sure are touchy. simpatico means simpathetic. i'm a cut-to-the-chase kind of girl and i occasionally like to pay tribute to and address the people who have either been particularly helpful on a particular type of restnt or other issue, or with whom i feel shared tastes about certain things. I include' Et Al 'because it means 'and everyone', which is an open invitation for everyone to respond. i listen to all posters; that is quite obvious by my record of posting and responding. otherwise why would i bother to post all the extensive reports and responses that i do?? Ch is a community and a great and helpful one. Everyone included. Et Al.

                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  kare_raisu RE: opinionatedchef Apr 1, 2008 12:24 PM

                  not quite clear on the connect of generosity to touchy but regardless - pay tribute by thanking those who help you regardless of who they are.

                  why mention specific people if you add at the end basically: 'oh yeah and if anyone else wants to respond i guess its alright'? seems non-sensical

                  Just keep ch a community is all I am saying.

                  1. re: kare_raisu
                    pane RE: kare_raisu Apr 1, 2008 12:56 PM

                    This seems like an interesting topic to discuss off the San Francisco board. I'll start a topic in site talk.

                    Kare and Opinionated, you are welcome to join me: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/504955

              2. re: opinionatedchef
                Morton the Mousse RE: opinionatedchef Mar 20, 2008 10:09 AM

                Don't worry about it. Happens all the time. We take it for granted that people will just get all the nuances of the board's culture.

            2. l
              lgvw RE: opinionatedchef Mar 20, 2008 12:39 PM

              Incanto, for a more formal dining experience (although it's not formal ; it's just more formal than the rest) Chris Cosentino is hot, hot hot & so is his offal food; fabulous pastas. Hopefully, he'll be around, looks like his been spending a lot of time in New York lately.

              Laiola, next, for their great tapas, nice wines & neighborhood vibe.

              I'd save Bocadillos for breakfast or lunch if you're in the financial district, although the dinner menu is strong in flavor, the atmosphere is more cafeteria-like than the other two as Paul H. correctly points out.

              I haven't eaten at The House for years, it's fine if you live here I have an asian-fusion jones but otherwise forgettable.

              1. singleguychef RE: opinionatedchef Mar 20, 2008 01:08 PM

                I think Laiola has a fun vibe, especially the long bar where you can watch the kitchen action. The food is also very spot on in terms of freshness and balance of taste, IMHO. The only thing is with tapas, you don't really feel full unless you order one of the three large plates that's available. So you might end up spending more than you think when drinking too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: singleguychef
                  f
                  Fine RE: singleguychef Mar 20, 2008 05:23 PM

                  Laiola last night: Two dishes--tortilla and sauce on gambas--unreasonably and inexplicably salty (waiter tasted one and totally agreed, saying chef wasn't in). BTW, one SLICE of potato-egg tortilla cost $8; a whole one served in its pan, costs $8.50 around the corner at Alegrias.

                  Bacalao good. Tripe exceptionally good (not one of my faves, usually). Squid most tender I've ever tasted.

                  Like previous visit, tab ran away from us--over $100 (w. t&t) for 6 tapas, one rose, and 2 beers.

                  If we'd succumbed to one of the over-$20 meat dishes ....

                  For my taste, food is good-to-very good but, aside from lapse with salt, sauces also a bit overly rich.

                  IMO, fresh, pristine ingredients properly cooked don't need the excessive richness lesser-quality ingredients may need in order to compensate.

                  I've seen a number of restaurants start out with a room designed to accentuate noise then, with time, replace certain materials in an effort to facilitate conversation. I sure hope Laiola decides to do that soon.

                  We couldn't hear each other and didn't choose to shout over the already-shouting folks at the next table.

                  What's the point??

                2. m
                  mrsricho RE: opinionatedchef Apr 1, 2008 11:08 AM

                  I would recommend Bocadillos for lunch only. Highly recommend Incanto for dinner. Laiola, I like for wine and dessert or a snack only. The House is hit and miss these days. Not as good as it once was.

                  1. Robert Lauriston RE: opinionatedchef Apr 1, 2008 11:20 AM

                    I'd drop Foreign Cinema and Aziza to make room for a dinner at Incanto. I ate there when Cosentino was away filming The Next Iron Chef and the food was just as good as when he is there. If you sit at the bar you can see about half the kitchen and chat with the sommelier.

                    I ate at Bocadillos just last week, it's still great but not a place I'd want to hang out for more than an hour unless it was the middle of the afternoon and there was room at the communal table--great place for a late lunch. All the rest of the seating is stools. Not really set up for parties of more than three. If you do go there have a backup plan in case the line's long and you don't want to deal with the wait.

                    Laiola seemed to me like a knockoff of Cesar. I'd go there instead (Oakland branch).

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      opinionatedchef RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 3, 2008 10:06 AM

                      well, we finally decided. Coming off a rich multicoursed expensive experience the night before at Martini house in st. helena, we went to the House for the last dinner of our vaca. for some light bright clean asian living.

                      Incanto and laiola- i didn't want offal or heavy. Most of the tapas flavor combos on the Bocadillos menu (lunch has only one tapa so i would only want to go to Boc. for dinner) had been experienced previously throughout our trip,so we went to The House. I'll post a detailed report later , but it was a delicious experience!
                      and the prices were, for the protein portions and quality, the lowest we experienced on our whole 3 week trip. thanks to all for the recs.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        Robert Lauriston RE: opinionatedchef Apr 3, 2008 10:15 AM

                        Bocadillos has a selection of tapas at lunch (though not as many as at dinner).

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          opinionatedchef RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 3, 2008 10:24 AM

                          when we stopped by last week, i was told by the waiter that they only have ONE tapa at lunch.and he told me what it was that day.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            Paul H RE: opinionatedchef Apr 3, 2008 10:30 AM

                            There was clearly a misunderstanding. Bocadillos has one Tapas SPECIAL at lunch every day, but they also clearly offer an assortment of small dishes.. take a look at the on-line menu for "mid-day"

                            http://www.bocasf.com/site/start.html

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              Robert Lauriston RE: opinionatedchef Apr 3, 2008 10:52 AM

                              Huh, maybe the number of special tapas varies depending on how much business they expect.

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