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ISO: Chef's counters in SF

I'm looking for more chef's counters where we can drop in for dinner and watch the cooks work their magic in front of us. The list I have so far is:
Boulevard
Lark Creek Steak
A16
Rose Pistola
SPQR
One Market
Canteen
Brandy Ho
Nopa
Pizzeria Delfina
Roy's
Lafitte

Are there any others?

Susan

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A16
2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

One Market Restaurant
1 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Rose Pistola
532 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133-2802

SPQR
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Lark Creek Steak
845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Pizzeria Delfina
2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

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  1. Looks like you've got a pretty good list. I especially like the one at A16 though, because unlike NOPA, where you only see the front of the enormous kitchen, you see the entire thing at A16 and can hear everything the chefs say to each other, which is kinda cool (like watching Liza Shaw chew out a young line cook for not tasting his food before sending it out).

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    A16
    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

    1 Reply
    1. re: vulber

      We were wondering how everyone even heard the chef, she seemed to be speaking so quietly! If you didn't watch carefully, everyone seemed to be working independently, but as you watched, we realized she was very quietly keeping everyone on track.

      That's why we love the chef's counters! Just like watching Top/Iron Chef, but we get to taste!

    2. Commis (outside the city limits but close enough)

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      Commis
      3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

      1 Reply
      1. re: bbulkow

        If Oakland is okay, then Wood Tavern too.

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        Wood Tavern
        6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

      2. I like sitting at the counter at Farina and watch them make pasta and foccacia.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tvham

          We love the handkerchief pesto pasta at Farina! I didn't realize the counter had a view of a station.

        2. I like that idea for a list. A friend treated me to lunch the other day, and he chose Benihana in Japantown. I was reminded that even when the food isn't five-star, it can be fun to watch its preparation.

          It crossed my mind that a sushi bar can be a good place to sit and watch your food being prepared. I'm not sure if that's quite what you had in mind. Perhaps somebody else could provide a good recommendation or two of a specific place.

          4 Replies
          1. re: weem

            I meant to post about this a while ago, but the sushi bar at Kaygetsu is totally underrated. I've heard many stellar reports about kaygetsu, but never heard the sushi mentioned. I sat there and had a nice conversation with the chef while eating fish that just simply melted in my mouth

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            Kaygetsu Restaurant
            325 Sharon Park Dr Ste A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025

            1. re: vulber

              I mentioned the sushi about a year ago! It is 100% underrated. The chef has added sushi a little over a year ago, I think. It used to be a special lunch thing, then got added as a regular lunch thing, now I think is regular at dinner too. I think he added it all during the downturn to boost popularity, but that would be me starting a rumor without attribution. I don't go there enough to have a rapport or really know what's going on. The sushi, the couple times I've gone, was eye-poppingly toyko quality wonderful.

              Still, the sushi is the best around (above Sam's, or at least different, way above Fuki, and I haven't been to Sakae or Jin Sho). The sushi at Kaygetsu is a variable list (day I went there was very short, maybe 5 items, I've heard reports that it varies), so one might be disappointed by the menu. And forget rolls. The joint isn't really a traditional "sushi place", very quiet, calm, high end, more focused on hot and cooked dishes. The sushi experience might be closer to Sushi Sho (except for the cooked items), with a short list, best fish, best preparation.

              Another factor to remember is the location, which looks like a pleasant small suburban mall, is near the "master of the universe" venture capital nests. The number of billions of dollars under management within a short walk is mind boggling, which is why it's more of a suit-business-lunch place than a drop-in-for-an-eel-roll kind of place. Priced accordingly: I got a lunch special at a reasonable price, and added the best o-toro I've had (maybe $12/per piece?). I think I got out around $40/pp, which I counted as a major steal given the quality.

              I would love a Sushi Monster report sometime ---

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              Sushi Sho
              1645 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

              1. re: vulber

                A sushi bar is an interesting thought.... thanks!

                1. re: waldrons

                  There is something inherently cool about watching someone cook over a gas stove, which creates an experience you can't get at a sushi bar though.

                  It's not in the same league as the other restaurants you mentioned, or even as good as some of the other Burmese restaurants in SF, but Yamo in the Mission offers a really fun open table/chef's counter experience. The restaurant consists of 8 stools and you can see the kitchen from everyone. It's really a pretty remarkable exercise in effiency as three chefs manage to efficiently operate in a kitchen tinier than most home kitchens and still produce delicious food.

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                  Yamo
                  3406 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            2. Plum in Oakland.

              Lafitte closed.