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Apocalypse Now: Sutro’s at the Cliff House – a real DAT deal, good food … and a view


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Apocalypse Now: Sutro’s at the Cliff House – a real DAT deal, good food … and a view

rworange | | Jan 15, 2009 09:03 PM

It must be a sign of the coming of the end of the world at Land’s End. The impossible happened.

For the first time since I moved to the Bay Area decades ago I had an really good meal at the Cliff House … a meal worthy of the Cliff House location … a meal that can match SF’s best.

Then to compound the miracle the DAT deal ... actually was. My $22 DAT lunch would have cost $47.had it been ordered off the menu. For the most part, the DAT meal is about the same price as the entrée.

It was a painless way to check out the kitchen since chef George Morrone took over this month

Here’s what I chose with regular menu prices

Cream of Broccoli Soup Cheddar Cheese Profiterole 11
Steak Frites Truffled Fries, Bordelaise, Red Wine Onion Compote 26
White Chocolate-Banana Walnut Bread Pudding Bourbon-Caramel Sauce 10

First of all, all portions were generous. I still am full from lunch.

While I liked the soup, the salad might be the better option. It was on another table and looked so good.

A nice crusty, warm, house-made pan d’epi with butter started the meall

The soup had lots of broccoli flavor, a squiggle of black … something, a thin shaving of cheese, a profiterole and a whole broccoli floret. It was a big bowl of soup.

The real star was the skirt steak which was buttery, tender, juicy, nicely grilled and the perfect pink … just on the edge of losing its color and not bloody. There were three LARGE pieces of steak. The rich sweet onions in a wine reduction topped the steak and upped the deliciousness.

The frites were very nice. I can’t detect the taste of truffles at all, even if I chewed on a whole truffle, so you are on your own there. The large bowl of fries, with the frites about the size of a McDonald’s fry, were crispy outside, creamy inside and coated nicely with sea salt and herbs.

I liked the rich moist bread pudding. It wasn’t too … anything … very nicely balanced. The sauce wasn’t overly boozy, just a nice complement. A dab of either whipped cream or crème fraiche was on the side and really brought this dish together.

Service was very good, pleasant without being stuffy.

From my understanding this was the first day the Cliff House was serving an entirely new menu by Marrone. There were some minor glitches given that but not enough to mention.

I think the Cliff House may have finally hit on the correct formula. You can take your unadventurous out of town relatives and still please your own inner chowhound.

The wine list could use some work. It is better than the days when Crane Lake was the house wine. While there are a few interesting bottles and the prices aren’t horrid, it still leans heavily to wines you’d find at you local Safeway. It is a little touristy too with endless paragraphs about the wine.

Also, they need to have a list of non alcoholic beverages. I have no clue what coffee and tea was served or how much it cost. It wasn’t on the menu anywhere. I’ve been bitten like this before where there’s no price and suddenly there’s a $$$ cup of coffee on your bill.

While the bread was good … and I KNOW this doesn’t fit the tone of the restaurant … I wish they would bring back the popovers … or give a choice of popovers or other bread. I hate going to the awful café just to get those popovers.

And I still say they could use valet parking.

Also, for lunch … they need to have some sort of prix-fixe or less pricey dishes. As it was the mix in the dining room was the same as always … tourists, older diners and the ladies who lunch.

It was difficult to resist some of the other items on the menu. The salads looked great and were huge. The portion of crab cakes another table ordered was similarly large.

It isn't greatness yet ... too soon ... but I think Sutro's is worth keeping an eye on. This is a very promising start. I'll be back ... with or without visitors in tow.

On this sunny warm day, sitting in Sutro’s watching the waves break over the rocks, the sea birds riding the breeze and the occasional ship making its way through the golden date … well, it could not have been more pleasant afternoon.

Sutro's at The Cliff House
1090 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121