I live in The Presidio, so might be biased toward having a comfortable, civilized French bistro within three minutes walking distance (sort of 7-8 blocks in the normal part of the city). But I'm very happy to have had dinner, lunch and a couple of coffees at La Terrasse [www.laterrassepresidio.com but the sample menu there is not accurate] since it opened a week ago, the second of three new restaurants opening in The Presidio this winter (the others being Pres A Vis and The Presidio Social Club).
Dinner: I started with seared foie gras (in part because I've heard that someone is proposing to ban in California!), which was as good as any I've had. GoingOutAgain had a seared scallop salad with lobster and fennel, which she rated as great. For entrees, I had the rack of lamb with a tomato confit, which was an excellent combination and very tasty. GOA had roasted squab, which she thought was good: I tasted it and thought it a bit bland but squab usually isn't mouth-blowing. For desert, she had a chocolate pudding, which she and I thought was excellent (and I resisted at lunch today!) and I had a surprise (not on the menu) roasted pear cold and soaked in ice wine, which was very interesting. We had a bottle of Benton Lane pinot noir from Willamette Valley (with a twist off top!) that was excellent and "only" $43.
Lunch: Today, I stopped for lunch after a long walk around Crissey Field. Had the cream of potato and garlic soup, which was wonderful. Then the (also not on the menu) pan seared whole golden trout stuffed with sauteed spinach and shallots; mon dieu! Followed by an excellent double espresso. As I said, very civilized.
Here's the tricky part: La Terrasse is physically located in what's prosaically known as the Transit Center on the Main Post of The Presidio. Most people still don't really know that The Presidio is now open to the public, much less have figured out where the Main Post is and how to get there. La Terrasse will do fine from the breakfast and lunch trade from the people who live there (about 2500) and work on the Main Post (quite a few establishments, both for and non profit, now ring the old parade ground). But the only way the dinner hours will surive is if it's a destination spot and not just a neighborhood bistro. You can tell from the menu items I've described, that they're trying hard to be distinct.
The bistro is a joint venture between Curbside (two restaurants on Fillmore and on Lombard right outside The Presido) and Chez Spencer. Pretty good heritage for establishing that distinction. Worth giving it a try, perhaps after the new year when they've got their systems worked out and are more confident in their service.
Also a mini-review in the SF Chronicle today, which might explain why the restaurant was busy at lunch: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...