SF: Cafe Prague - Czech, please
- rworange Dec 8, 2009 01:09 AM
The Mission Street location has four Czech beers on tap - Czechvar, Krusovice (light and dark) and Pilsner Urquel. The dark Krusovice in a large glass mug had a nice touch of molasses or brown sugar to it.
The Szeged Goulash, Hungarian Pork and Sauerkraut Goulash, was cubes of tender pork, topped with mild saurkraut, three 'dumplings' and lots of sour cream sauce.
The dumplings were more like thick slices of jelly-roll shaped bread. They reminded me of steamed Chinese buns. They did the job of mopping up the gravy.
The 'pork and dumplings (boiled bread)' photo on this blog is similar to what the dish looked liked. The dumplings looked exactly like that. The goulash had lots more gravy
I thought it was a pleasant dish. This may be the first time I've had Czech food so I have no comparison. Looking this up on the web, there didn't seem to be any caraway seeds in it as these recipes suggest
There's a cozy shabbiness about the place. It is what I would imagine a neighborhood cafe in Prague to be like.
The walls are painted red. A reproduction of Monet's "The Boating Party" covers one wall ... with some odd additions to it. There are large windows covering two walls. There is a bar with six seats and six tables covered with faded flower tablecloths. Red candles on each table softly glow. A stone angel reclines on the bar. Soulful Czech music played softly in the background. In back there is a beer garden or beer yard ... a little patio with a few tables, some planters and statues.
The woman server was very nice. I liked the place and won't mind stopping by again tor try some of the other dishes. I've read the soup is good.
They have a website, but no menus on it. I'll put the brief dinner menu in the first reply
When I finished eating I said to the waitress "I'm ready for the check".
The minute the words came out of my mouth all I could think was ... sheesh... now what will I get? Did I just ask for a date?
2140 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
The Financial District location has long been on my list to try ... and when the Mission location opened that was added. I wasn't rushing there though because menu pages only liists the lunch menu and it didn't llook like there were many Czech dishes on the menu.
The dinner menu has the soups and salads ... both organic ... but is mainly Czech dishes. The signboard outside said goose, but it wasn't on the printed menu.
Steak tartar with garlic country bread
Grilled Polish sausage with saurkraut
Bratwurst, saurkraut and Dijon mustard
Large organic Mixed Greens 6
Spinach Salad topped with bacon and egg 7
Salad Nicoise 7
Caesar Salad croutons 7
Organic soups Bowl 5.5
Organic Tomato with gnocchi
Split Pea with bacon
Organic chicken with oats
Goulash paprika served with dumplings 13
Szeged Goulash with dumplings 13
Sauerbraten (Svickova) served with dumplings 15
Shnitzel with mashed potatoes and veggies 14
Fried cheese with mashed potatoes and veggie 13
Roast pork and cabbage with dumplings 14
Filet of sole d'ore with mashed potato veggie 13
Roast duck, cabbage and dumplings 15
Apple strudel with whipped chream 5
The Czech dumplings have me intrigued. Wikipedia mentions them and the fried cheese
Here's a recipe
The svickova is a bt different than sauerbraten
I don't know how true this is, but there are a few yelp reports that the bread at Cafe Prague is from Tartine.
If you go, maybe you can do some sleuthing to see if they are really using Tartine bread
The soups are high on my list next. I read they are really big and can be shared by two. I'm guessing the tomato with gnocchi soup is some sort of Czech dumpling that they list on the menu as gnocchi because people are more familiar with that term. It gets a quite a few thumbs up on Yelp.
However, what really has me curious is the chicken soup with oats. I'm not turning up any thing like that on Google.
I saw dumplings just like those in the picture all over Prague. Was the food very heavy - I mean, of course it's substantial food, but was it the kind that makes you not want to eat again until the next evening? I found some of the food in Prague, in places frequented by laborers, to be that way. Which I'm sure was the point. Not terribly delicious, but not bad, and stuck with you on cold days.
Side note: does anyone know what that corner used to be? I peeked in once right before it closed and it appeared to be some type of weird sushi bar-cum-hooka joint? And I think it was called Water? I've never been able to find anything about it online. The only thing that deters me from czeching (sorry) this place out is the pervasive smell of urine that always emanates from that alley. I would imagine the patio would get the worst of it....?
I didn't answer. When I looked at the dish, I thought I'll never finish all that ... especially with all that gravy. However, I mopped up every last bit and didn't feel sluggish afterward. I'd say it is more substantial than heavy.
I didn't find the 'ambiance' different from any other restaurant in that area. It was December so I only took a look at the patio and ate inside.
These are the nicest people and I'm developing a real warm spot for Cafe Prague.
I stopped by just before Christmas to try the soup. I was running late and wanted to get back over the bridge to beat traffic, so I asked if I could take out the soup. They said yes, but while they are set up to do take out for meals, I don't think they get a lot of to-go soup requests.
They didn't have the gnocchi for the tomato soup so I just ordered the chicken with oats since I was curious about it.
I had some expectation on how this works due to this recent topic where I tried something similar at home ... making New England-style clam chowder with oats rather than cream or milk ... oats act like a thickener such as potatoes and disolve. In fact, if oats were not listed, my guess would have been the thickener was potatoes.
Oatmeal as soup thickener
The bread that came with it definately wasn't Tartine but some sort of foccacia. It may be the sandwiches that use the Tartine bread. Like everything here the sandwiches were substantial, using thick slices of bread.
The soup was good though not great and a little on the salty side for me, but I don't eat a lot of salt. There was lots of shredded chicken and veggies. it was quite satisfying and hit the spot on a cold day..
Wihile waiting for the soup, I saw lots of tasty dishes on the tables. The tomato soup does indeed look great. A cup of soup will get you what most restaurants consider a bowl. A bowl is a really large turrin. For about five bucks this is one big meal ... and don't forget the soups are organic.
The salads are also HUGE. Seriously, unless you are commited to it, two would be filled by the salads.
Anyway, they decided to put the soup in a few styrofoam cups and since I had to wait while they figured out what to do, they didn't want to charge me for the soup. It was like haggling with my grandmother about who would pick up the check. I finally just left the price of the soup as a tip on the table.
I definately will be back to try more of the menu. If I lived in the nabe I know I'd be a regular.
I was updating my Eastern European Google map and Chowhound lists and noticed someone marked the Mission St. location as closed. Is this true? There are reports as recent as June on yelp and no indication anywhere that it closed. Don't see anything on Chowhound either. Unless I hear otherwise, I'm changing the Restaurant and Bar database record to open.
I would call to confirm, but I ain't paying the phone bill from Guatemala.
Note that Cafe Prague's Mission location may be closed, but their Financial District location, which used to be on Pacific, has moved to 424 Merchant St., about a block east of the Transamerica Building. They appear to be open...