Leopold's: http://www.leopoldssf.com/ - Boston has no German food at all, (no, Jacob Wirth's food doesn't count as *food*), so I was thrilled to try out Leopold's in Russian Hill.
We shared a house made sausage with butter potatoes and sauerkraut - a hearty combination of meaty, carby, and fermented flavors.
I settled on paprika beef goulash with butter spatzle and a green salad while my DC had a perfectly crispy schnitzel. Spatzle was toothsome, but not heavy and the goulash was comfort food at its best. By the way, the salad, while pedestrian, had the most delicious dressing.
One of my coworkers lives in North Beach and swears by the red sauce Italian food at Sodini's. With a group of 7, we tried out this cheap and cheerful restaurant. I had a bowl of tortellini carbonara and while it in no way, shape, or form resembled carbonara, I can see why he likes this place. The service is delightful and for those of us who grew up on American-Italian places like this, it's definitely a throw back.
Osha Thai: http://www.oshathai.com/ is very close to our office and has happy hour - something else I can't get in Boston. Other than every single item being way too sweet, the evening was pleasant.
Long Beach Prawns: Crispy coconut crushed tiger prawns served with onion, peanuts, carrots, and iceberg slaw - actually pretty tasty.
Osha Kobe Bite: Grilled premium Kobe beef served with roasted eggplant and secret caramelized balsamic - stop calling things Kobe beef that aren't. Regardless, a very delicious bite.
Papaya Salad: Grilled prawns, shredded green papaya seasoned with lime juice, chili, tomato and crushed peanut - way too sweet and overdressed.
Tuna Poke: Dice Yellow fin tuna tossed with Japanese seaweed salad, organic Japanese cucumber - raw fish and seaweed salad - yes please!
Ginger Beef: Wok-fried flank steak with ginger, shiitake mushroom, onion, bell pepper, black pepper and white wine - solid stir fry.
Pad Thai: too sweet. Jesus.
I can't find it on the menu, but one of the tapas for happy hour was a perfectly braised piece of pork over a fried plaintain - yum!
Baker and Banker: http://www.bakerandbanker.com/ - What a romantic restaurant! I had been promising myself to finally go to a California farm-to-table restaurant, and this was a great choice.
House smoked trout, potato latke, horseradish cream, pickled beets, shaved fennel - could have used something slightly more acidic or possibly some more salt in the latke, but a bite with each component on the fork was marvelous.
Duck and pistachio terrine, citrus marmalade, pistachio streusel, toasted baguette from our bakery - this was phenomenal. Just totally perfect!
See you again this summer.