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Aug 9, 2014 01:13 PM

If you ever end up at The Stinking Rose ... [San Francisco]

... I haven't set foot in there since early 1990-something. I never had any desire to return, but hey, it wasn't my birthday and I didn't choose the restaurant. So, 14 of us descended on the Stinking Rose for a Friday night dinner. These lyrics were even playing in my head: "I had no reason to be over-optimistic, But somehow, when you smiled I could brave bad weather ..."

Tommy must have heard me, because two of us decided to order a large sizzling mussel platter. We had the same some time ago during our one trip to the Dead Fish in Crockett a few years back, and this is a sister restaurant. In fact, after our dinner at the Dead Fish, we decided that we'd have been better off just skipping the main courses and order more mussels.

Between that and the bread and the couple of appetizer varieties ordered for the table, we were full, and our meal was decent. Looking at the others' food, we were quite happy with our decision, although everyone "publicly" enjoyed their respective meals.

Corkage is $0. I wish I had known!

Watching waves of happy tourists enjoy their food, taking pictures, and soaking up the "San Francisco Tourist Experience" made me feel good, as no matter how we may judge such a place, it benefits all of us when people have a great SF dining experience, and for many, it may be their best meal since their last trip to Olive Garden. Baby steps, you know, on the ladder to Perbacco.

My search showed the last TSR comments I could find were nearly a decade old. Clearly the place doesn't get any love around here. It probably doesn't even get a lot of like. But I whole-heartedly give it a "don't mind." In fact, a sizzling platter of mussels and a BYO wine could make for a nice meal.

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  1. I suppose it keeps the tourists out of the places I like.

    1. Never been there, not sure if I ever will... but I can agree that in many chain restaurants the safest bets are on the appetizer menu.

      Thanks for the report! I'll know what to order if any out-of-town guests demand to go there!

      1. I'm such a snob, I rule out any place that advertises in in-flight magazines... however due to friends, I ate there once in 1990 and it wasn't bad. I've heard nothing to think it's changed and I suppose that's part of the appeal. one could do worse.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          Snob or not, sometimes you end up at a place because, say, it is someone's birthday, or out-of-town guests that insist, and that was the purpose of my post.

          1. re: lmnopm

            Yes, I ate there once, shortly after moving to San Francisco when my father-in-law came to town and insisted on eating there (and early in my marriage when I was infinitely more tolerant of his shenanigans). I have no memory of what we ate except for the mediocrity of it all. He also dragged us to the Buena Vista Cafe, which is OK if you’re just getting an Irish coffee, but he insisted on crab omelets as well.

            1. re: lmnopm


              pls. re-read my post - I was largely in agreement with yours...

              (I swear does everybody just skim these days?)

              1. re: hill food

                I read them all, and pretty much agree - but I do really like the bread and garlic dip that comes with every meal - and has been the best part of every TSR meal I've ever had - all 3 or 4 of them...

          2. I was there in '93 or '94. Not bad, but not great. It is among the many-hundreds of places I refer to as a "Prybar: Designed to separate a tourist from his money."

            1. I've had to eat here twice in the last few years, and I honestly love their prime rib. Full of garlic, cooked perfectly rare. Comfort food at its best.