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Jan 8, 2013 06:57 PM

03 Bistro and Lounge - SF Civic Center

had a good lunch before seeing the Calligraphy Exhibit at the Asian Art Museum today ....... the space used to be a California Pizza Kitchen I think. The menu has an Asian fusion flavor ...... the chef used to be at Le Colonial. Interior has a lot of greys, wood and glass with some Asian accents. For lunch the 3 of us ordered the seared tuna salad, the grilled salmon and the oxtail hash. The oxtail hash was very well seasoned and had a crispy exterior. The kimchi rice was tasty and the fried egg was perfectly cooked ( runny yolk ) - and a salad cut through the richness. I tasted the salmon - also well seasoned and very moist. portions were decent sized - the oxtail was quite satisfying. priced at $13 . I'd go back. service was good and it was a pleasant space - felt like you could linger. they did bring bread and butter as we sat down ..... but the bread was not very fresh: we didn't ask for fresher because the plates were ample without. tea was served in a nice iron pot - think it was Numi tea bag.

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  1. Thanks for the report. I recall reading about O3 (ozone) when it was ready to open but it slipped my mind.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Thanks for clarifying what O3 meant. When I read the title, I immediately thought of the area code for Tokyo, 03.

    2. Just wondering if anyone else has had any experience here you can share . . . a friend and I are thinking of trying it on a Monday prior to a lecture downtown at the Herbst Theater. Our fall back position is Hayes Street Bar and Grill. Looking for drinks/snacks/possible meal - walkable to the Theater.

      6 Replies
      1. re: vday

        Check Bloomspot for a coupon (dinner only). I have been meaning to go myself and now have an even better reason.

        1. re: Civil Bear

          Thanks civil bear - good suggestion. Any one else been lately?

          1. re: vday

            Recently met a friend for Happy Hour (4 to 7 pm) and indeed, we were happily seated at the bar with Ginger Sours and small plates - easy parking after 6:01 pm. We had planned a dinner at NOPA but after 4 small plates here, we were satisfied for the evening.

            1. re: Cynsa

              Any more deets you can share on the four small plates you tried?

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Happy Hour menu changes daily:

                Bartender was very busy but she was attentive and service was excellent.

                $7 drinks/$7 small plates

                Servings are hearty with satisfying portions:
                - Salt and Pepper calamari with aioli - crisp deep-fried- good
                - O3 Wings - sweet glazed, good-size - tasty/too sweet for me
                - Spareribs - meaty and finger-likin' good
                - Veggie Rolls w/hoisin - Bánh cuốn - my favorite

          2. re: Civil Bear

            Finally got to try this place yesterday after work and came away pretty happy. The place was bustling, but was told that it dies down pretty abruptly around 8PM - even on the weekends.

            Started with the ginger whiskey sour and the dark & stormy cocktails which were good and a relative bargain these days at $7 each.

            Fried calamari appetizer ($10) was better than average. Crispy, not greasy, with a large ratio of tentacles to bodies which I like. Could almost rate them as perfect with a touch more salt.

            Seared tombo tuna (comped) was also good. The super-thinly sliced dried chilies on top gave it a nice delayed heat.

            Glazed salmon entree ($19) was tasty per my DP, although the portion was on the small side. She also prefers the body with the belly attached, but got the tail end of the fish.

            Braised short-ribs entree ($20): A healthy portion cut from the bone and layered upon a rectangular portion of mashed potatoes. The beef was perfectly tender and moist, and gelled perfectly with the potatoes - very pleased.

            Fried brussels sprouts side ($7): The menu described them almost identically to the calamari, so we were apprehensive about ordering the dish. The lovely waitress assured us however that they were prepared differently (fried without batter and tossed in the sweet chili sauce). She also mentioned it was a house favorite. I can see why too, as they were quite crispy and tasty when they arrived at the table. Unfortunately with all the food we neglected them a bit, and they became oily by the end of the meal.

            Service was also super friendly and attentive. I'll be back - especially if I can find another Bloomspot coupon!

        2. Mom and I joined a friend here for happy hour last December. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 4pm to 8pm. We were seated on the sofas in the lounge. I was surprised how busy it was. My friend said that he has seen it evolve through several iterations to now be pretty much straight-up Thai food, and that it has become one of the most popular places to meet after work. Happy hour apps were $6 and selected cocktails, $7. Nearly every appetizer’s deep-fried. Here’s the menu offered that night,

          My favorite item was the crispy calamari served with a sweet chili sauce. Very crispy and flaky batter, and the squid stayed tender.

          Also very good, the crispy quail, a bargain to boot at $6 for the pair. The hotter sauce offered with these was more like a doctored sriracha.

          Chicken satay was kind of spongy in texture and very average. Nice peanut sauce and a cucumber salad accompanied.

          Fresh spring rolls (non-fried) with tamarind sauce were good enough to order again for a happy hour snack.

          I tried the Pomegranate Press from the happy hour drinks, and it was pretty much diluted punch. A beer might be a better bet than ordering cocktails here.

          Service was quite attentive, especially considering how packed it was. This would be a good spot for a pre-performance drink and bite.