Report (longish): Scala's Bistro
I was taken to Scala's Bistro for dinner as part of a business conference I was participating in.
It was a Monday night 6:30 reservation. The place was quite crowded. We were seated immediately.
To be kind, I was underwhelmed with the entire experience.
The wine list was difficult in terms of finding a mid-range priced ($60-70)red that was worth drinking. The Italian wine selection was limited in quality and selection and I wasn't too thrilled with the California list either.
I was with inexperienced wine drinkers, so I picked a Friulano ($68 - I thought that was high for this varietal) - this wine was delicious. I also picked an Amarone valpolicella because I thought the less experienced drinkers would enjoy the berry and raisin undertones and easy drinking quality of this easy to drink wine. As the taste was poured, one look at the wine in the glass told me it wasn't going to be pleasurable and the "nose" (or maybe it was the "stink") confirmed what was to follow. Yukk. Not even close to a bad Amarone. The wine was just bad. Sent it back. Ordered a Dolcetto d'Alba which was tolerable but not a good representation of this very easy-to-drink wine.
I ordered a half dozen oysters on the half shell from Drake's bay. 5 were delicious. The last had an off taste that practically choked me. Not sure whether the defective oyster could have been identified by the food preparers...not educated enough about selecting oysters...
I ordered: Panzotti - rogusa squash, brown butter, sage, pecorino pepato, pignola (It was ravioli). There was no brown butter. It came drowned in melted butter. Don't recall pignola and ...well, it was basically tasteless and uninteresting. Other diners had the Fricelli - a tube-like pasta with a pork ragu. Not good. One diner ordered an appetizer of moule frites (odd for an appetizer and an Italian restaurant) - it was a meal sized portion. Another diner had the orecchietti with spicy sausage and liked it. Another had the linguine with clams and proclaimed it OK.
Over all, I would not recommend this restaurant. It was mediocre and pricey. With so many really good Italian restaurants to choose from in San Francisco, you don't have to settle for this.