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trick dog - just go now. [San Francisco]

vulber Mar 25, 2013 11:21 PM

went hear tonight - was not too crowded, but also not empty - can't imagine what it must be like on a more crowded night.

this is hands-down one of the best cocktail spots in the city right now, if not the best - over a couple of visits i've had five cocktails and every sinkgle one has been incredibly well-balanced (as a result, a "signature drink" hasn't quite yet emerged yet because they're all amazing). even though it's the 15 romolo guys, the cocktails are better than anything i ever had there (not that those also weren' tincredible).

while the food items themselves are different from the 15 romolo menu, the idea is the same, tasty affordable bar food that's coming from chefs that clearly have a fine dining background.

gorgeous space too - very old-timey feel.

would go before it gets insanly crowded.

  1. m
    mhoff Sep 2, 2013 10:12 PM

    One trick to getting a seat downstairs is to arrive before 5pm...sneak out of work early or go on a weekend afternoon.

    10 Replies
    1. re: mhoff
      Melanie Wong Sep 2, 2013 10:22 PM

      Gotta admire your dedication! Do you have a favorite cocktail here?

      Hours from the website:

      3pm – 2 am 7 days a week

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        mhoff Sep 2, 2013 10:29 PM

        Favorites on the new menu (they switched over in mid-July) include Mr. Big Stuff (made with tequila, Gran Classico, coconut, bay laurel tincture, and lime, served in a ceramic pineapple) and She's Gone (rum, pear brandy, herbal syrup, lemon, tonic.) It's a solid list all around, though.

        1. re: mhoff
          Melanie Wong Sep 4, 2013 12:56 AM

          When Trick Dog abandoned the Pantone menu and switched to the vinyl records, it made up new drinks, not just renamed them?

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            mhoff Sep 4, 2013 08:32 AM

            yes, it's a completely new menu with all new drinks. and as a regular, I have to say I think it's a more successful set.

            1. re: mhoff
              Melanie Wong Sep 4, 2013 10:58 AM

              Thank you, how do you feel about the bar bites?

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                mhoff Sep 4, 2013 11:02 AM

                Love the ginger-chicken rice plate & the kale salad. Good fries too!

                1. re: mhoff
                  Melanie Wong Sep 4, 2013 11:42 AM

                  Thanks, you've been a great source of info and I'm glad you decided to speak up. Please keep posting about your other finds.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    mhoff Sep 4, 2013 11:48 AM

                    I'm loyal to my local! (But should probably disclose: I'm an editor at Serious Eats, so most of my finds end up going up there...)

                    1. re: mhoff
                      Melanie Wong Sep 4, 2013 11:56 AM

                      And deservedly so! Thanks again.


          2. re: mhoff
            Ruth Lafler Sep 4, 2013 11:38 AM

            That sounds delicious. I particularly like that they're using a variety of "base" spirits. A lot of places use gin in most or all of their cocktails, and I'm allergic to gin (it took me years to figure out that the reason I wheezed when I drank gin-and-tonic was that my juniper pollen allergy extends to juniper in gin).

      2. Melanie Wong Sep 2, 2013 08:16 PM

        As noted, Trick Dog was slow this past week during the Burning Man displacement. A good opportunity for my first visit.

        Saturday night before 8pm, the greeter at the door said that we might find a spot to stand toward the right side of the bar. While swimming upstream through the throng toward that goal, I looked upwards and noticed that the tables on the mezzanine were empty. We found out that the table seating is for dinner customers and it was a no-brainer to decide to order a first-course here.

        Upstairs, "reserved" cards mark each table even though no reservations are accepted. Our server explained that this deters customers from seating themselves.

        In Linda Ronstadt's honor, I ordered the "Heat Wave" - Hangar One vodka, Lillet rose, galliano, watermelon, lime, meletti amaro. A study in citrus with zesty acidity balancing the sweetness, this could have used a touch more bitter. Still lovely nonetheless.

        My favorite of the bar bites turned out to be the Beer Nuts. Described on the menu as Spanish peanuts, Miller High Life, espelette, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, orange zest, they reminded me of the toffee nuts of childhood. Not sure where the beer element shows through, the sweet crunchy coating zipped up with piment de espelette's fruity spice took an unexpected turn with the last minute gilding of fragrant orange zest.

        White fish spread served with everything seedy wonton crisps was good enough. More moisture could have helped and something bitter in the seasoning made it a bit out of kilter.

        Sirloin tartare was coarsely chopped, the way I prefer it. Blended with mustard, fresh herbs, cornichons, and a raw egg yolk, the seasoning was on the mild side. A little more salt or even Worcestershire sauce could have sparked the dish. The garlic bread, a split roll grilled to golden brown crispness on the cut edge and still soft and spongy inside instead of dried out toast points deserves special mention.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong
          Windy Sep 4, 2013 06:51 PM

          Supposedly the beer nuts had espresso in them, which was why I ordered them. I didn't taste any beer either, which is good, because I don't like beer. They were great.

          The tartare was missing acidity, I think.

          Agree about the white fish salad. It was a little too bland. I loved the crackers.

          My drink was fine but sweet and unmemorable.

          Service upstairs was delightful. Enthusiastic and attentive, but no one pushing us to vacate either.

          1. re: Windy
            Melanie Wong Sep 4, 2013 06:55 PM

            Unmemorable as it was, might you remember the name of your drink?

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              Windy Sep 4, 2013 06:59 PM

              Consulting the website, it was a seriously misnamed Evil Woman. More like a Mild Lady. http://www.trickdogbar.com/menus/

              Which means yours was (aptly) a Heat Wave. Not sure if they're songs or artists.

              1. re: Windy
                grayelf Sep 5, 2013 10:48 AM

                Evil Woman and Heat Wave are both songs.

                1. re: grayelf
                  Windy Sep 6, 2013 09:30 PM

                  Thanks. I know.

            2. re: Windy
              512window Sep 5, 2013 12:27 PM

              Since "Beer Nuts" are an actual snack item that you can purchase at stores (or you used to be able to), I imagine that the bar is doing an upscale version of that product. The Beer Nuts that I've had in the distant past were non-salty nuts. They are made to eat with beer, not that beer is a component.

          2. h
            hyperbowler Apr 20, 2013 05:58 PM

            Any suggestions for a second choice cocktail bar if its too crowded? After finding a long line, we wound up hoofing it to the Hideout at Dalva on a Saturday night a few weeks back. Wasn't too busy, but I couldn't think of an alternative off the top of my head.

            5 Replies
            1. re: hyperbowler
              vulber Apr 21, 2013 09:31 AM


              1. re: vulber
                Windy Apr 25, 2013 06:33 PM

                Yes, or Slow Club or Southern Pacific Brewing.

                1. re: Windy
                  vulber Apr 26, 2013 10:09 AM

                  cocktails are good at southern pacific, but it's definitely a brewery first.

                  1. re: vulber
                    Calvinist Apr 26, 2013 10:52 AM

                    Rock Bar and Royal Cuckoo are both fun and have good (and different from each other) cocktail lists. Funky decor in both. Royal Cuckoo has jazz performers on its Hammond B3 organ nightly. At Rock Bar you can order from Front Porch across the street and they will bring it over.

                    1. re: Calvinist
                      hyperbowler Apr 26, 2013 11:24 AM

                      Thanks, vulber, that's a really nice tip-- I've not been impressed by SP's beers, but I've been wanting to check out their food for a while.

                      Rock Bar and Royal Cuckoo are quite a walk from Trick Dog, but if I'm playing designated driver, look like good options in terms of parking availability and menu.

            2. Windy Mar 26, 2013 01:17 PM

              It's already insanely crowded nearly all the time. Apparently not on Mondays.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Windy
                vulber Mar 26, 2013 11:27 PM

                yep, seems ilke monday is the best time to go - perfect amount of people - given how labor-intensive the drinks are, i can imagine the bar getting pretty backed up

                1. re: Windy
                  Melanie Wong Mar 26, 2013 11:55 PM

                  Yeah, I haven't been cuz I'd heard it's crazy busy since opening day.

                  Some positive comments here,

                2. Civil Bear Mar 26, 2013 12:55 PM

                  Do they have a happy hour?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Civil Bear
                    vulber Mar 26, 2013 11:26 PM

                    i don't believe so.

                  2. d
                    DavidT Mar 26, 2013 09:53 AM

                    3010 20th Street, SF


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: DavidT
                      c oliver Apr 20, 2013 05:32 PM

                      20th and what please? Their website gives no info other than address. TIA

                      1. re: c oliver
                        chefj Apr 20, 2013 05:39 PM

                        20th and Florida

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