Theres always a silver lining. My car was in for a major repair and Ellis Brooks gives rides to work when you bring the car in. One of the passengers in the van, who knew quite a bit about SF dining, was raving about The House. So if my car hadnt broken down, I wouldnt have tried The House. You could call it the $1,500 dollar lunch (including car repair costs).
Its been about over a year since anyone mentioned The House on Grant or the 9th Street location. IMO, it should get mentioned more often. The older links are below.
Im not a fan of fusion, but I am a fan of great food. This tiny restaurant on Grant is across the street from Steps of Rome. You get an excellent view of the poor souls dining at the Stinking Rose.
Each table gets an top notch dish of vinegar marinated cucumbers. The cucumbers, sprinkled with sesame seeds, are crisp and there is a subtle shot of some hot oil for tang. I really enjoyed them.
The special for the day was halibut. Very few restaurants in my experience are able to pull off such a variety of texture, taste and presentation. These are really beautiful dishes that taste even better than they look. Being on a diet, I thought halibut would be a safe bet. It was dipped in batter and fried. So who fries halibut?
It was just outstanding. A thin crackling crust with one of the best pieces of halibut Ive ever had. A garnish of glittering, neon-orange pearls of tobiko gave the fish additional dimensions of texture and color. There was also a tomato colored dipping sauce with chopped fresh cilantro floating on top. I ignored this in favor of a tartar sauce like accompaniment that had corn kernels, red pepper and jalapeno. Hot tartar sauce!!!
There was some absolutely top notch asparagus that was touched with a sweet Asian-style sauce and topped with something that looked like shaved almonds but had a wonderful smoky flavor. The chewy garlic noodles with sesame seeds were very tasty.
They have brewed pots of Chinese tea such as monkey picked ti kwan yin, jasmine pearl, keemum mao feng, pu erh, lapsang souchong, dragon well, green rice flower, chrysanthemum, and peppermint. The prices per pot are reasonable, some as low as $3.75. There are also suggestions on how to pair the tea with the food.
Theres a small but interesting wine and beer list. I had a very nice Cazar chardonnay (Sonoma 2000). The beers include:
Ommegang, dense creamy abbey-style ale from Cooperstown, NY
Singha, boon rawd brewery, Thailand
Hennepin, farm\house style ale from Cooperstown, new York
Chimay, trappist ale, red cap, Belgium
Duvel, brouwerj moortgat, pale strong ale, Belgium
Blanche de chambly, Belgian \-style wheat beer, unibroue, Canada
Czechvar, light pilsner, caske budejovice, Czech republic
Red tail ale,
Steelhead extra pale ale
There are also a few interesting adult non alcoholic drinks including, Navarro pinot noir grape juice, Navarro gewürztraminer grape juice, lichee black iced tea and erdinger, nonalcoholic Bavarian wheat beer. A friend I was dining with recently was complaining that many restaurants dont have a selection of non alcoholic drinks other than tea, coffee or soda.
Previous posts and reviews recommend the deep-fried salmon roll with Chinese hot mustard, the unaogi and avocado sandwich, and the politically incorrect sea bass.
I didnt see much enthusiasm for the desserts. I had the mango tapioca pudding which had beautiful swirls of mango sauce on top of a soupy tapioca that tasted like it was made with either sour cream or crème fraiche. I liked it.
One poster constantly mentions the horrendous noise level and all too sadly it is true. Ive never been in a restaurant that magnifies voices so much. There was a loud group of six at another table and they were, well, LOUD. The food was so good I was able to tune it out.
Very pleasant service. The link at the end has some nice pictures of the food, a good review and excellent background about the owners.
I know when visitors ask where to go in SF, Ill be recommending they stop by The House.
Heres another good review I found on the web by Bill Citara:
Former Chowhound posts:
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City search on The House
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