Last night two friends and I went to Annabelle's on 4th between Market and Mission for a light dinner. My friend S. swears by Annabelle's as a good place to eat solo - friendly waitstaff, a good place to see the hustle-bustle going by on 4th, and not too crowded with couples. The atmosphere is really nice, too - a vintage feeling, almost like a Parisian brasserie (or was that bistro?). The bar looked like a nice, low-key place to have a drink. There were a lot of what looked like out-of-towners there (business and leisure).
S. had her usual - the burger with fries. I didn't try the burger, but it looked large and juicy, and it comes with New York cheddar, whatever that is. (Better than Wisconsin cheddar?) The fries were noticeably made from real potatoes, cut to about a 1/2" in diameter, and they were delicious.
A. and I split an arugula salad with duck confit, dried cherries, caramelized pecans, and goat cheese. (No, we're not on diets - we'd already eaten.) Good salad overall, though neither of us finished the duck - it seemed a little dry. But everything else was fresh and nicely put together.
We ordered the warm apple crisp with ice cream for dessert, baked in a sizable individual ramekin and then taken out of the dish when being served. It was a nice, big plate full of comfort. I could have done with more apples, but the crust and crumb top were good, and there was a yummy caramel (and perhaps rum?) sauce pooled around it. All in all a tasty, homey dessert.
The interesting thing about dinner was that just before our dessert came out an incident occurred that was handled really well. I don't want to say what it was because I feel it could color your perception of Annabelle's, but our waiter was really professional and good about it, and ended up only charging us for our drinks. Now, a similar thing happened at Delfina some months ago (in fact, it was worse because it was in the food! you get the idea) and it wasn't handled nearly that well. I guess Delfina doesn't need customers, so they're not as inclined to go out of their way to retain people.
All in all a good experience. I think I'd go back if I needed a casual dinner after shopping or something - maybe try the crabcakes or the burger or the butternut squash goat cheese ravioli.
Annabelle's Bar & Bistro
54 4th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
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