Not too many years ago, the intersection of Church and 30th streets had a distinctly end-of-the-line, Hooterville flavor. It was there that Muni's J-Church streetcars ran out of track and had to turn themselves around for the voyage back to Market Street. Read more »
There are certain doors one steps through only every quarter-century or so, and for me one such door is located in the heart of the heart of the Castro, at 4063 18th St. I've been up and down that hyperkinetic block many times across the intervening years, but the last time I actually set foot in the door, it belonged to a restaurant called the Neon Chicken, which served some of the better food in the Castro. Read more »
The romance of street-cart food might not be high romance, but it is romance and does cast its spell, particularly in big, rich cities — like ours — with elaborate infrastructures of fancy restaurants and a concomitant epidemic of some as-yet unnamed cultural autoimmune disorder that attaches inordinate worth to the prosaic.
Street-cart chic reflects, I would say, a recognition among the high rollers that immaculate table linens and Limoges china aren't all there is to the gastronomic life, that occasionally a little mayonnaise running down the sleeve is in order, though mayb Read more »
As you step into Roy's Restaurant, you will notice the names of many cities stenciled in gold on the glass door — places where other Roy's Restaurants can be found. You might feel as if you are sidling into one of the branches of a Parisian house of couture or the district office of some international brokerage firm. My eyes darted briefly to the end of the two-columned list, half expecting to see the reassuring words "FDIC insured." I didn't see them. Read more »
As a partisan of salt, I could hardly help but love a restaurant called Salt House, and I did — and do — but ... how funny that there apparently are no saltshakers at the bar. I was casting about for one, wanting to salt something up a little while waiting for someone to arrive, but I had to settle instead for pouring myself more water from the glass jugs the staff set out for your very own. Read more »
Regrets? I've had a few. At the top of the list is that, due to circumstances beyond our control, I will never get to see Beethoven play the piano — unless we have misunderstood the time-space continuum. This seems more likely than not, given the reliable arrogance of human science, and I do retain a shred of hope.
The also-rans run well behind. I do not expect my idea for a sport-tuned, high-performance Prius — the Priapus, a Prius for men! — to make it onto a Toyota production line any time soon, alas and alack. Read more »
Many hamburger places are at some pains to keep you from seeing, or wondering, exactly what's going into — as opposed to on top of — your burger. So I was rather surprised to find, at Bullshead Restaurant (a West Portal spot that recently opened a branch in the Castro), a glass display case near the entryway, laid out with various high-end-looking cuts of meat along with a selection of preshaped burger patties, as at a butcher's shop.
"Is this stuff for sale?" I asked.
A staffer behind the counter nodded.
"Even the buffalo burgers?"
"Yes. They're $10.95 a pound," she said. Read more »
Reincarnation is a sketchy proposition, even if you're a restaurant. True, you won't come back as a rabbit or a mosquito — a couple of the less juicy possibilities human beings have to worry about in anticipating their next go-round in life — but you will certainly be stuck with a past that, even if punctuated with interludes of glory, has to have culminated in some sort of gloomy closure for you to be available for reincarnation at all. The truth is that the names of successful restaurants don't recycle easily. Read more »
If, like me, you associate the letters K and L with wine — as in K and L Wines — you might have to do some expectation adjustment when you step through the doors of KL Restaurant, a Hong Kong–style seafood house in the westernmost Richmond. Despite the heavily maritime menu, the only alcoholic drink on offer is beer, and the only beer is Heineken. No Tsingtao? Not even Sapporo or Tiger? Unheard of. Not that there's anything wrong with Heineken.
The restaurant's winelessness did not come as a complete surprise. Read more »