Dobbs Ferry [SF]
I was looking for a place for dinner for myself and my father very close to Nourse Auditorium at Hayes and Franklin.
My dad doesn't like "fancy" (no Absinthe) or seafood (no Hayes Street Grill), or noisy, and although he likes spicy food, he can't handle it well anymore (no Lers Ros).
So I ended up with Dobbs Ferry, which was off my radar and had only a couple of passing mentions here.
I would say that it was a perfect choice for my requirements. The main dining room was nice but unpretentious and pleasantly quiet. The food was solid Italian-leaning New American and the service was excellent. Prices were a little on the high side (entrees in the $25 range, although there were several pastas under $20), maybe, but given the location, not out of line. The real bargain was the Zeppoli with dulce de leche sauce for dessert, which was big enough to share (6 zeppoli) for $7.
An appetizer, an entree, a main-dish pasta, dessert, an Anchor Steam and a glass of Syrah was $79, including tax and SF surcharge but before tip. Nothing exciting, but I wouldn't hesitate to go back for a similar occasion.
We'll have to remember the zeppoli for St Joseph's day next month.
I've probably stopped and looked at the menu posted there at least five times in the last year when I'm passing by. My opting not to eat there is due to the factors that you've pointed out --- seems a little high priced, nothing exciting New American menu, and other spots in the neighborhood are considerably more lively. The bar looks more popular, but the restaurant has always seemed deserted. But yes, I could see that it would be just right for the evening with your father. And I'm glad to hear that the food is solid with excellent service.
What dishes did you order? I've been interested in the chicken scarpariello.
re: Melanie Wong
I almost ordered the chicken scarpariello! I had the stuffed shells: pasta shells stuffed with braised pork shank and ricotta cheese, baked with marinara, garlic, caramelized onions, spinach and parmesan cheese (also came with some broccoli rabe, which could have been trimmed better, as some of the stems were woody). It was tasty and cheesy -- classic Italian-American.
My dad had the short ribs, which somehow I didn't get around to tasting.
You're right, the dining room was almost empty when we got there at six and still only about a third full when we left at 7:15 (granted it was a Tuesday). But since I wanted something quiet, that was a good thing.
Service was on top of things without hovering, which is especially welcome when you're having a pre-event meal, and friendly without being overly familiar. I hate it when you ask for another minute to look at the menu and then they disappear for what seems like forever!
I went there about a month ago for a last minute symphony concert where we couldn't get in anywhere else. It was functional but not much more; neither the arancini and rigatoni were at the level I was hoping for. If I needed something last-minute nice before symphony it would be fine, but Indigo and Cafe Delle Stelle remain ahead in terms of comparable places in the neighborhood.
Good to know cause I'm in Hayes Valley quite a bit and when I walk past DF it always strikes me as a beer bar.