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NYCers in town - need a meal recco with a few factors taken into account

l
laughlynne Aug 11, 2011 12:07 PM

Hi all,

I've searched through all of your threads, and have looked up every possible restaurant, but for some reason, none of them are fitting. But you all seem great, so maybe you can help?

I'm coming to town with three friends, and we'd like to have a sitdown dinner on Friday night. It doesn't have to be fancy, but we're not looking for holes in the wall or food trucks, either.

We've got a few factors that are playing into our meal choice (which I am in charge of).
Budget: (preferably we can each get an entree and app for under$30)
Dietary tastes: (two of us--certainly not me :) --don't eat red meat
Location: We are having drinks at Bourbon & Branch beforehand (which is in...Downtown? Near the Civic Center?), so we'd like for it to be in the general area

Cuisines we'd rather rule out (either due to taste/availability in NYC, or will be having them at some other point in the weekend):
Chinese
Mexican
Burmese
Indian
Thai
BBQ

Can you help? Thank you so much!

-----
Bourbon & Branch
501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: laughlynne Aug 11, 2011 12:14 PM

    This Friday?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      l
      laughlynne RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 11, 2011 12:17 PM

      Next Friday.

    2. CarrieWas218 RE: laughlynne Aug 11, 2011 12:41 PM

      Absinthe
      Canteen
      Chez Papa
      Thermidor
      Anchor & Hope
      Ame
      Jardiniere
      Brenda's French Soul Food
      Fish & Farm
      Bar Agricole
      A la Turca

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      Chez Papa
      1401 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94107

      Brenda's French Soul Food
      652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Anchor & Hope
      83 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

      Bar Agricole
      355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

      Thermidor
      8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103

      4 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218
        l
        laughlynne RE: CarrieWas218 Aug 11, 2011 01:12 PM

        Thanks! These all look great,but unfortunately, all but a couple don't fit the budget restriction. I don't mind shelling out for a great meal, but a couple people in my party are definitely on a budget.

        1. re: laughlynne
          CarrieWas218 RE: laughlynne Aug 11, 2011 01:28 PM

          For those on a budget, I would recommend (in order).
          Canteen
          A la Turca
          Brenda's Soul Food

          Canteen gets the best bang for the buck but reservations can be hard to come by.

          1. re: CarrieWas218
            l
            lrealml RE: CarrieWas218 Aug 11, 2011 05:25 PM

            I think Canteen is slightly over their budget... it is hard to get an app and an entree under $30.
            At a similar price point is Gitane, where you could get a side and an entree under $30...

        2. re: CarrieWas218
          Robert Lauriston RE: CarrieWas218 Aug 11, 2011 02:38 PM

          I think you mean Chez Papa Resto.

          Absinthe and Bar Agricole are kind of a schlep.

          -----
          Chez Papa Resto
          4 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103

        3. o
          originalfig RE: laughlynne Aug 11, 2011 01:45 PM

          Hmmm. Within walking distance of Bourbon & Branch, not fancy but not divey, Thai, Indian etc....I think you might love Saha, actually. It's a Middle Eastern restaurant that has lots of non-red meat and veggie options, is reasonably priced, super-delicious and a 5-8 minute walk away. Service is caring, decor is the kind you can sink into (dim lights, comfy banquettes).

          If you are looking somewhere trendy or of-the-moment I'd keep looking, but otherwise it's hard to go wrong here. And carnivores should definitely order the lamb stew.

          For contemporary cooking/atmosphere, you could try Canteen, also on Sutter, although I think the prices there have crept up a lot recently and it's no longer the bargain it used to be. **Actually, scratch that, I just looked at their menu online and mains are now around $25! When did that happen?! Sheesh, what a bummer.

          If you are looking for someplace w/a lively atmosphere you could try Farmer Brown, also within walking distance of B&B-- "neo-Soul" food (watermelon margaritas, yum). I've never had the fried chicken, which is one of its calling card dishes. Opinion these boards on the chicken is divided, some have voiced that it's meant to be smothered in gravy or eaten from a basket at the bar.

          Does anyone know anything about Olive, on Larkin? The Chronicle calls it "fun" and "stylish" with "excellent thin-crust pizzas". Wondering why I never hear anyone talking about this place? Anyway, laughlynne, the prices look right up your alley: http://www.olive-sf.com/id1.html and it's also an easy (5 min) walk from B&B.

          Good luck & pls report back!

          -----
          Canteen
          817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          Saha Arabic Fusion Restaurant
          1075 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

          Farmer Brown
          25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Bourbon & Branch
          501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA

          Olive
          743 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          5 Replies
          1. re: originalfig
            Windy RE: originalfig Aug 11, 2011 02:36 PM

            Olive is a bar with pizza. Fine, but not anywhere a New Yorker or tourist needs to eat.

            I like Farmer Brown but also not especially noteworthy. Saha's a fine choice. Anyone been to Leopold's since the Chron review?

            Bourbon and Branch is in the Tenderloin, which is full of Vietnamese (Bodega Bistro) and some very good Thai. Also some streets that deserve caution.

            -----
            Farmer Brown
            25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            1. re: Windy
              t
              tripit RE: Windy Aug 11, 2011 07:38 PM

              +1 on Vietnamese. Pagolac is three blocks away, has a pretty nice ambience and very reasonable prices--for $30 you could probably get an appetizer, entree, and drink or dessert.

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              Pagolac
              655 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

              1. re: tripit
                l
                lrealml RE: tripit Aug 11, 2011 11:14 PM

                I thought of suggesting Pagolac, but all that I've had there was the 7 courses of beef which would not work for the non red meat eaters... Is there anything at Pagolac that is good and not beef?

                1. re: lrealml
                  Windy RE: lrealml Aug 11, 2011 11:20 PM

                  The seafood is quite good--anything with shrimp. (And the 7 courses of beef is an incredible deal.)

                  Although I do love the cha ca (catfish) and crab rolls down the block at Bodega Bistro.

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                  Bodega Bistro
                  607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  1. re: lrealml
                    a
                    artemis RE: lrealml Aug 12, 2011 10:32 AM

                    The sugarcane shrimp that you put in the lettuce wraps. I don't eat beef either and am always happy to go to Pagolac.

                    -----
                    Pagolac
                    655 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            2. pamf RE: laughlynne Aug 11, 2011 02:06 PM

              Farmer Brown?

              -----
              Farmer Brown
              25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

              1. f
                foodeye RE: laughlynne Aug 11, 2011 05:24 PM

                As noted, Bourbon and Branch is in the heart of the Tandor-loin, with lots of ethnic fare, all of which are ruled out on your list. Many other options in the Union Square area will break the bank, so you may need to go a bit further. Not too far away (15-20 minute walk, though it is not a great 'hood for a stroll, or a quick cab ride - if you can find one, note that SF is not anything like NYC on cab availability):

                - Barbacco has great Cal-Italian food at a good value.

                - Boxing Room, with southern cuisine, should fit the budget.

                - Another possibility that has non-red-meat options is Tajine Moroccan on Polk St.

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                Tajine Moroccan Restaurant
                1653 Polk St, San Francisco, CA

                Barbacco
                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                Boxing Room
                399 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                2 Replies
                1. re: foodeye
                  Windy RE: foodeye Aug 11, 2011 05:50 PM

                  I thought of Tajine too. The chicken bastilla is wonderful as are the kebabs, salads, and fries.

                  1. re: foodeye
                    bbulkow RE: foodeye Aug 13, 2011 02:38 PM

                    +1 on barbacco

                  2. l
                    laughlynne RE: laughlynne Aug 12, 2011 07:27 AM

                    These are all so helpful! Thank you all so much! I'm going to do some research toay.

                    1. m
                      margieco RE: laughlynne Aug 12, 2011 10:39 AM

                      do you have reservations at bourbon and branch? that makes it a significantly more fun experience.
                      Right near there is Ryoko. Sometimes great sushi; sometimes just above average. It's a fun atmosphere (i usually describe it as a pub meet sushi place (under ground).
                      Since it's sushi you could easily go over budget, but since it's sushi/small plates you have some control.
                      I do agree with all the recs for canteen.
                      Thermidor has changed their menu at night. It's mostly small plates with a few larger plates (a burger) and one nightly prix fixe. the prix fixe is 30 or 35 (last night was $35 and included a stone fruit salad, petrale sole with gnocchi, a choice of dessert and a glass of wine).
                      they also have a great cocktail menu but may have too limited menu selections to please everyone.

                      -----
                      Ryoko Restaurant & Bar
                      619 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                      Thermidor
                      8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103

                      1. Robert Lauriston RE: laughlynne Aug 12, 2011 10:40 AM

                        I know you said no Thai, but Lers Ros is one of the top options given your other criteria. I don't think you have anything like it in NYC.

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                        Lers Ros Thai
                        730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

                        1. s
                          sleepdawg RE: laughlynne Aug 13, 2011 03:36 PM

                          So, you're going to Bourbon & Branch where you're going to spend the same amount of money you've budgeted for dinner on just two drinks with tip? I think you need to adjust your expectations. You aren't going to find a decent app/entree for $30/under per person without stiffing your server on tip and going without ANYTHING to drink so why bother? At that point, you're better off with a burrito in the Mission.

                          If you just have to go to the trendy cocktail joint, Pagolac is your best bet.

                          -----
                          Pagolac
                          655 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          Bourbon & Branch
                          501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: sleepdawg
                            m
                            ML8000 RE: sleepdawg Aug 13, 2011 04:09 PM

                            Actually the SF/NorCal thing to do is head to hippie hill in GG Park, spark up some medical maryjane with the locals, then get a Mission burrito and a brewski.

                            1. re: sleepdawg
                              CarrieWas218 RE: sleepdawg Aug 14, 2011 06:12 AM

                              Sleepdawg put a great perspective on expectations and finances. Hadn't thought about the fact that the drinks at B&B could give you a better experience elsewhere.

                              I would re-suggest Absinthe -- who have AMAZING cocktails...

                              1. re: sleepdawg
                                Robert Lauriston RE: sleepdawg Aug 14, 2011 01:13 PM

                                There are hundreds of places in SF where you can get an appetizer and entree for $30 or less. In that general area, several of the places on Belden, Farmer Brown, Barbacco, Borobudur, Zero Zero, Brenda's, Bodega Bistro ...

                                -----
                                Bodega Bistro
                                607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                Farmer Brown
                                25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                Barbacco
                                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                Zero Zero
                                826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                              2. w
                                whiner RE: laughlynne Aug 14, 2011 02:21 PM

                                Hop in a cab and go to Perbacco. If you want to stay under $30/person for an app and a main you can order any of the outrageously good pastas as your main course. You are from NYC so you know cities, but the Tenderloin is different than Harlem and similar neighborhoods -- much scarier to me; I've spent many nights walking around Harlem, but I don't walk around the Tenderloin at night.

                                -----
                                Perbacco
                                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: whiner
                                  Robert Lauriston RE: whiner Aug 14, 2011 05:53 PM

                                  From Bourbon and Branch a block up Jones and then east on Geary is not the scary part of the Tenderloin, especially on a Friday night when the streets are full of bar-hoppers.

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