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Bay Area Basque besides Piperade?

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Just listened to an audiobook about the history of the Basque and there was much discussion of Basque food. Now I'm stoked to try gourmet Basque food (as opposed to the sheepherder food I've tried. And I still like, by the way).
Piperade I know about, although I haven't tried it yet. What are some other good Basque destinations in California?
Illuna Basque seems to get mixed reviews. Gitane looks promising, although it doesn't look like there's a lot of Basque on the menu.

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Piperade
1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

Gitane Restaurant & Bar
6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

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  1. I agree with your observation. I looked into Gitane's menu but looks like it's more Moroccan, Southern Iberia menu.

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    Gitane Restaurant & Bar
    6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

    1. It's sister restaurant, Bocadillos.

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      Bocadillos
      710 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      2 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Have not had a meal there, but friends have. Said the food was delicious, authentic and an incredible value. Having a girls reunion dinner approaching and hope to dine there,

        Diane

        1. re: macadam

          Unless something has changed, it doesn't take reservations except for large private events. Depending on the size of your reunion, you might have a wait to get a table or wind up sharing the communal table.

      2. I know this is going to be truly crummy of me, but I found a Basque restaurant today and you will have to wait till my report.

        The thing is they have full blown Basque dinners once a month and while I have a reservation for myself, I'm trying to connect with a friend to see if he would like to join me. They book motths in advance because it is popular and selfishly I don't want to mention it until I get my reservation down. Not that my mention will cause a stampede but if even one couple decided to do this that would mean I'd ahve to wait another month and the thought of a Basque Christmas dinner has me really interested.

        I had a pretty big and supurb brunch today so when I stumpled across this place I wan't too hungry. However the soup of the day was sturgeon chowder. It was so good I booked the Basque dinner immediately.

        In all the discussions of Basque food I never remember seeing them metioned on Chowhound. Haven't searched yet though. Yelp has 13 reviews and it gets four stars.

        A few dishes that sounded interesting
        - Basque Lamb Chorizo ‘n Rice - Homemade from our family recipe sautéed with sweet peppers & sofrito
        - Basque Bodega Bay Lamb Shank Braised all day till it’s fall off the bone tender with tomatoes*onions, garlic & mushrooms
        - Brick Chicken Organic local ½bird stuffed with roasted garlic * basil under the skin broiled under a brick

        Just saw this on the site ...

        Create your own event! Private Basque dinner for groups of at least 12.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          Silence is usually the best way to keep a secret for a few hours. I know which place you're describing but I've not eaten there myself. Considered it principally Mexican, so will be interested in hearing what you've found there.

        2. Chalet Basque is a neighborhood white-tablecloth restaurant with a nice family feel to it. Just the place to take your mother-in-law. While the weather holds, you can eat outside.

          They're in San Rafael on North San Pedro just one mile east of the Marin Co. Civic Center.
          http://www.chaletbasquemarin.com/

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          Chalet Basque
          405 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903

          1. You might want to try the Basque Cultural Center in So. SF. They have a restaurant that serves some of the most authentic Basque food. Reviews of the food are generally good, although the place is a community center banquet room. Go for the food and to meet real Basque people. It was featured on a Check Please Bay Area episode, so you could get more info there too.

            http://www.basqueculturalcenter.com/r...

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            Basque Cultural Center
            599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

            3 Replies
            1. re: Shane Greenwood

              BCC is still in the boardinghouse style, a little more refined, but not far from what the OP describes as sheepherders'.

              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                I am not really an expert of authentic Basque, but I have dined at the Basque Cultural Center quite a few times. I think of it more as Americanized or California-Basque.

                I love this restaurant, the food is always good and it is a comfortable and friendly spot.

                The food is not always served family style, except for the soup, which arrives in a large tureen for the table and if several people order the daily special then it might arrive on a platter, otherwise each person's dishes are plated individually.

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                Basque Cultural Center
                599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

                1. re: pamf

                  For the record, I like family style. That's not the issue.
                  It's the idea that I'm getting gourmet Basque food as opposed to feeding agricultural workers quickly and inexpensively.
                  And to repeat, I still like sheepherder food.

              2. Has anyone tried Vino in Lafayette?
                http://www.eastbayexpress.com/restaur...

                can't think of anything that's like Arzak or contemporary basque cuisine. Maybe Manresa for chef-driven, inventive cooking.

                Barlata in Oakland has the cod fish cheeks cooked pil pil style in its own gelatin.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5948...

                2 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Vino is a cute and friendly place. The owner was very nice and played a rousing piano. But the food is just ok. My wife and I shared 3 things (an eggplant dish, meatballs, and choppino) and despite fairly different descriptions, all had the same tomato sauce. Nothing seemed particularly Basque-influenced to me -- just generic Italian/Spanish/Med.

                  Nothing was bad, but I wouldn't go back. I think anyone trying to go out of their way for Basque would be disappointed. And if you are looking locally in Lafayette, there are many different but much better food options nearby, including Artisan Bistro and Chevalier at the "high end" and Lily's House and Kopitiam for (different but more authentic) ethnic options.

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                  Kopitiam Restaurant
                  3647 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

                  Lily's House
                  3555 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

                  Artisan Bistro
                  1005 Brown Avenue, Lafayette, CA 94549

                  1. re: jmarek

                    Thanks for the word on Vino. From what I've been reading, being entertained by the owner seems to be a bigger draw than the food.

                2. I like Bocadillos a lot. I think the prices are fair for the quality, but they're on the high side. I wouldn't go there at busy times with more than three people.

                  Basque Cultural Center's food is inexpensive and old-school. The dining room is kind of like a Denny's.

                  I can't understand why Manresa gets tagged as Basque. Maybe there's a little Basque influence in there but it's pretty darn Cal-French.

                  Looking forward to rworange's report on Vineyards Inn's second-Thursday Basque dinners.

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                  Basque Cultural Center
                  599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

                  Bocadillos
                  710 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Iluna Basque
                  701 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  15 Romolo
                  15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Vineyards Inn
                  8445 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, CA 95452

                  Vino Restaurant
                  3531 Plaza Way, Lafayette, CA 94549

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    You might have saved yourself some search time by waiting a few hours until I posted my promised report. Fortunately I was able to secure my reservations which were important to me.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664149

                    Anyway, to the OP. This is maybe not what you are looking for. It is not in the same class as Piperade, but it is not as low shelf as some of the other area places.

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                    Piperade
                    1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

                  2. Fringale calls themselves "Basque inspired" though it seems to me they wander pretty far from traditional Basque. Have not been there in recent times, but I've never been disappointed there...

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                    Fringale Restaurant
                    570 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BernalKC

                      Fringale was opened by Gerald Hirigoyen, who sold it and opened Piperade and Bocadillos. There are still a few Basque or Basque-influenced dishes but it's pretty French.

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                      Piperade
                      1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

                      Fringale Restaurant
                      570 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

                      Bocadillos
                      710 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                    2. No love for Iluna Basque?

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                      Iluna Basque
                      701 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: SteveTimko

                        The chef was one of the cheftestants on the show "Top Chef" so I guess some people would like it for that reason.

                        1. re: Shane Greenwood

                          Maybe more likely the opposite.

                          1. re: Shane Greenwood

                            Chef's name, please?

                            1. re: sydthekyd

                              Mattin Noblia, the French guy with the red kerchief.

                        2. Upscale and Basque were never in the same sentence in my culinary vocabulary until our friends in SF introduced us to Piperade, and even then the connection wasn't really clear, though we had a fabulous meal there.

                          We recently tried the little place north of Paso Robles in San Miguel called the 10th Street Cafe, which sort of tried to straddle the line between sheep herder and upscale, but didn't deliver.

                          Only thing down here in the central SJ Valley that ever came close was a place back in the 60s-70s on N. Blackstone, which at that time was pretty much out of the main city area when all the authentic sheepherder places were downtown, sorry don't recall the name (Villa Basqe??).

                          They went out of business shortly after one of the owner/principles was indicted for the bombing extortion scheme of Harvey's at S. Lake Tahoe.

                          [Edit to Add] Interesting to note that the new bug/ er... feature, converted the town name of the town of S a N M i g u e l to a link for a SF restaurant. Great job guys, can we eff this up a little more?

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                          Piperade
                          1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111