Where the buffalo roam - Page 2


The organic-beef version (also $9.75 for one third of a pound) was creditable, but it did not have quite the intensity of flavor or the moistness.
We tried the latter — along with an excellent pastrami sandwich ($7.95) served with commendable fries — at the Castro location, which opened recently in one of those upstairs-downstairs buildings across the street from the Cala Market. Previously there had been several generations of Italian restaurants in the split-level space, and a canopy of inverted wine goblets still hangs like a flock of glass bats on a rack above the bar on the main floor. The aura is sunny and pleasant, with an unobstructed view of street traffic (which is ceaseless and stares right back at you), but it doesn't feel like a place that serves buffalo wings and buffalo burgers, and it doesn't look anything like its West Portal sibling.
"Don't you feel like we're at a restaurant someplace in the Midwest?" one of my companions said apropos the latter location. Yes: apart from the display cases up front, the senior Bullshead is a warren of old wood, yellowish floors, and yellowish light and could easily be named the Pine Cone and be seated beside one of those old two-lane US highways that crisscrossed the country in the long-ago days before the interstates. The setting is a little creaky, yes, a little dowdy, but it is also friendly, and familiar in a profound way. It's a little bit like the diner in Diner, a spot for impromptu gatherings by the cheerful young, or that nameless café in the cartoon strip Blondie where Dagwood Bumstead is always stuffing his face at lunch. I don't think that place serves buffalo burgers, at least not yet.SFBG
West Portal: Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; Mon., 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
840 Ulloa, SF
(415) 665-4350
Castro: Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
4230 18th St., SF
(415) 431-4201
Beer and wine
Pleasant noise level
Castro location not wheelchair accessible

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