But the accompanying Thai salad, a mound of finely shredded green cabbage accented with mint and basil, won general acclaim.
Also roundly applauded was a flatiron steak ($17), cooked to the rare side of medium-rare, sliced, and arranged atop a cauliflower purée napped with jus. The flatiron steak is taken from the shoulder and is a near relation of the chuck roast, from which hamburger is typically ground. If our chief concern is tenderness, we would probably be looking elsewhere, beginning with filet mignon. But Bar Johnny's flatiron, while not exactly buttery, was tender enough and the usual compensation for a hint of toughness in meat very tasty.
At a lot of bars, the vegetarian option would be vodka. But Bar Johnny offers a real one, and it's a full plate of food, not a bite, nibble, or nosh. It's called "beans and rice" ($13) and includes some combination of legumes and rice chickpeas, say, plump and glistening and colored up like a bit of Christmas with diced red pepper and slivers of pistachio. It's flavorful and satisfying while leaving room for dessert, which again, atypically for a bar Bar Johnny offers with some panache.
It's hard to go wrong with a basket of chocolate-chip cookies ($9) warm from the oven. One small hitch is that, as with a soufflé, there's a wait of 15 minutes; another is that the cookies can stick together. Still. Another worthy possibility is the fruit cobbler ($7), which late in the winter might take the form of a boldly spiced apple crisp, topped with several globs of vanilla gelato and served in a shallow cast-iron pail complete with a handle. Perfect for your next visit to your favorite sand bar!
Dinner: 611 p.m.
2209 Polk, SF
Can get noisy