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Dinner in DT Burlingame or San Mateo on someone else's expense account

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I'm going out to dinner on someone else's expense account and no limit on how much to spend. He's coming from a few days in Napa wine tasting (he works for a wine distributor), I'm working til about 7 pm that day and I've got to get him to SFO by 9:30 PM for his red-eye home. I thought it would be better to hoof it down to Burlingame/San Mateo (my neck of the woods) and go someplace within 15 minutes driving to SFO. I think the earliest I could safely make a res for is 7:30 pm.

For SM, I do love Osteria Coppa but I thought either 231 Ellsworth or Viognier would be better for the visitor. I haven't been to either one so thought those were good options. I can't think of anything in Burlingame that's really special so I need some options there.

Also, I can't drink very much so I really don't care about wine lists, and my host's palate might be tired after Napa. He's probably got a jaded wine palate by now anyway. Oh, and it's a Saturday night on top of it. It'll be busy everywhere.

Can anyone give me some guidance on where to go? I'd like to make it a leisurely dinner so we can enjoy and not rush but too many factors make me nervous to get him to the airport on time. Thanks so much.

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  1. Wow, not one response. I'm not sure what to think about this.

    I'll try another question: does anyone trust the reviews posted on Yelp? I checked both 231 Ellsworth and Viognier and 231 had worse reviews, overall. I didn't go all the way down but all the top ones were not good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alwayshungrygal

      I live in the neighborhood and second Melanie's suggestions - especially it its on the expense account.

      I highly recommend sitting at the sushi bar at Sakae - as with all great sushi restaurants.

      If you don't want japanese, Viognier can be very good but a bit uneven, and often it is somewhat deserted.

      An alternative to Osteria Coppa is Stella Alpina in Burlingame which is excellent and has a goood neighborhood vibe.

      1. re: alwayshungrygal

        Viogner is a bit stuffy. 231 Ellsworth, I had one decent meal there about 7 years ago. I think y*lp is likely very wrong about Ellsworth, but I don't have recent info.

        How about San Mateo Prime ? Steak is ready for expense account.

        I love Sushi Sam's, but it is Formica tables. It's still great, especially if you dog the white board.

        All Spice ?

      2. There's Pizzeria Delfina in Burlingame, but that's not going to give the expense account much of a workout unless you order a bunch of antipasti, sides and pastas. I had a great baked lasagna there with some wonderfully smokey cheese in it.

        1. If someone were picking up my tab, I'd want to go to Wakuriya or Sakae.

          Wakuriya
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/814485
          http://www.wakuriya.com/

          Sakae
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919239
          http://www.sakaesushi.com/

          4 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Wakuriya is the place I'd pick but if they can't start until 7:30 and have to get to SFO by 9:30 that doesn't seem like a good fit.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              You're right. Even though the budget is there, the timing is too short for a blow-out dinner.

              Maybe somewhere like Fassia,
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/916297 or
              Broadway Prime,
              http://www.broadwayprime.com/

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                It's worth noting that San Mateo Prime (suggested earlier) and Broadway Prime are run by two brothers in the same family, so the food/experience will be similar in both. (We've had both over the years.)

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Thanks for the tip on Fassia, looks good but I'm trying to stay as close to DT SM and 101 as possible. That gives us more time to dine :)

            2. I once had a great meal at Sushi Sam's, but I am not an expert on the area, so just take that as one suggestion.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dunstable

                It's been a few years since I've gone, but my last visit to Sushi Sam's was excellent, and I'd definitely return. Haven't been on a weekday night, but it gets crowded pretty quickly even for weekday lunch.

                Pizzeria Delfina in Burlingame is good, but I wouldn't bring someone out of town unless they don't mind the "cozy" seating arrangement.

              2. How about All Spice in San Mateo? Cal/ Indian. got a star and its priced like other restaurants with a star.

                1. Thanks for all the responses. I'd do sushi in a heartbeat, but not Indian--I can't handle the heat. I'm not sure of his preferences but I'll definitely pass these ideas on to him.

                  Interesting comments about Viognier, et al. I do trust this board more than Yelp so it's good to get valid feedback.

                  Thanks again.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                    Another problem about Sushi Sam - I don't think they take reservations, and at 7:30 they have a serious wait.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      Good point, so Sushi Sam will have to be another time. Thanks for the tip.