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Mar 21, 2009 04:21 PM

3/08 Updates on Aziza, Betelnut, House, Cortez, B 44, Burma Superstar, Sea Salt?

We're headed out for our annual cal. vaca. tomorr. The above are some fav. SFplaces which we think we'll revisit unless some of you tell us they've gone to the dogs. While we've enjoyed our annual Aziza dinners these past 5 yrs., last yr we were darn disappointed and we're considering going someplace new. In Boston we are a city of Italian restaurants so we avoid Italian in SF . We aim for fusiony, or ethnic. I'm a professional chef and am always intrigued by rarely seen ingredients. We avoid the combination of high prices and tiny portions, so Koi has not seen us as yet, as intriguing as is their menu.I posted extensively last year on all our Cal.resto. experiences. Really appreciate any suggestions.

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  1. Sea Salt has shifted a bit in the past year or so. They have added meat (!), which somehow, I never feel like getting, even when Anthony is making his soul food- porchetta. They still have great combinations and usually have some crudo dish which impresses us. They usually have something unusual on their menu, like a dish with bottarga, zhug, or salsify. They have a happy hour oyster special, I think before 6 pm. Interesting salads and their desserts, too. We've been going there for a few years now, and it's still one of our top choices, even for our 6 year old food snob. It's a great deal and the vibe is good. the outside patio is heated and partially enclosed. It's wonderful to dine out there if it's not too cold. We sit at the kitchen bar a lot, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: savvyitaliana

      Agreed on all of this, and also their prices have dropped and their portions are a little smaller.

    2. If you like B44, try the chef's new Oakland tapas place, Barlata.

      Burma Superstar has opened a branch in Alameda, same food with nicer atmosphere, and is working on another branch in Oakland.

      Cortez has changed pretty radically. I had a good meal there last month--seared scallops and pork belly were standouts.

      Sea Salt's not doing the porchetta any more. They do a great brunch.

      Burma Superstar
      1345 Park Street, Alameda, CA

      4901 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I'd recommend Tamirindo in Oakland.
        468 8th St Oakland, CA 94607
        Small with great decor. Yummy ceviche and inspired and unexpected Mexican food. Close to BART as well.

        Uzen in Oakland offers high quality, Japanese style sushi (as opposed to Cali style), and it is conveniently located next to Bittersweet so you can finish with some hot coco.
        Uzen Japanese Cuisine
        5415 College Ave Oakland

        Ozumo is trendy Japenese (with a California twist) but it is definitely a scene sort of place
        2251 Broadway Oakland

      2. Don't know if you are checking in on your trip. IIRC, you were the person who hated Ubuntu. Also you were disappointed with Mustard's.

        Given that, if you are up Napa way, you might give Brix a try, especially at happy hour. The servings are substantial, the food by a really great chef and pastry chef. They have a garden for their veggies. Wonderful cheese plate by a new local cheesemaker which is a super bargain during happy hour. It is just down the road from Mustards.

        I was going to say I don't think Baretta wasn't worth it because I'm unimpressed by B44, but noticed you like that place a lot, so yes, Baretta would be worth your while as it has many of B44's menu items as well as a few different tapas dishes.

        Les Rois (Thai) and Bund Shanghai (Chinese) are two restaurants that have recently had good mentions. Both are in sf.

        I think Sea Salt gets better and better. If you are in Berkeley on a Sat/Sun, you might consider their sister restaurant Fonda for brunch. They have a fantastic $9 brunch deal. The spicy shrimp and eggs is very good and a large breakfast. It comes with house-made tortillas, good coffee and a choice of a house-baked pastry.

        Fonda's regular menu isn't known for it's huge sizes. However, breakfast with a few exceptions have been substantial.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          Do you mean Barlata, rather than Baretta?

          1. re: Hunicsz

            Yeah. Sorry. You can see how uninterested I am not to remember the name. Barlata ... lata for those tin cans ... bar for the bar ... ok ... stored in my memory bank now. I do argree with Robert that I like the atmosphere better at Barlata than at B44. Also the B44 chef/owner is often in the kitchen right now to get this place off the ground.

          2. re: rworange

            Berettta is the former Last Supper Club in SF. Good but damn we have a lot of good Italian restaurants around here.

            Barlata is the B44-spinoff tapas place in Oakland. Substantial overlap with B44's menu but I prefer Barlata's atmosphere.

            1. re: rworange

              just checking in now. we're in carmel leg of paradise.thanks so much for remembering last yr's dislikes/likes. very glad you and RL are still active as you both contribute so much to the board. i'm surprised no one has chimed in about aziza. the menus from la fonda and brix and ozumo had appealed to me last yr. but one of our probs is that we're often in sf on sunday and/or monday, and many places are closed. will report back as usual and thank you for your suggestions.

            2. >Betelnut<

              I've enjoyed Betelnut and have taken visitors there many times, but the last time I was there (two years ago) the food was noticeably less good and with less choices than before. I haven't returned. I'd be interested to hear from others who have been there more recently.