OK chowhounds please please advise,
I just moved to this city and need a culinary pep talk
and quick. While i wound never say that SF is a lousy food city, my experiances have not validated the hype that i heard across the land about this holy land.
I gave my name and waited patiantly at Ton Kiang on Geary; Good, but does ungreasy and fresh validate spending twenty five dollars a person on dimsum? In Manhatten it would make it empty.
I gave away my change on the way to Tu Lan; Should tasty and cheap make a vietnamese restaurant so wonderful that it wins rave reviews for eternity. In Queens it would make it dependable.
Truly mediteranian had pricey if slightly above average fallafel that were tasty and scraply shawarma that would pale in the shadow of any one of the cheap lebanese restaurants in Montreal. The next day I sat on a lit patio on Filmore and ate the only "shawarma" I ever had that was flavored only by grease for 12.95! I guess I know why Truly Mediteranian is held as an sf jewel.
As for BBQ: Brothers Barbeque had Korean barbeque that could be on any block in Fort Lee, NJ and the brother and laws bbq on divisidaro had faty ribs and overcooked chicken in a bland brown sause that would make it only in the most desolate of South Carolina truck stops.
I waited on line to try the chopped liver and maza balls at the famous Jewish Delicetessen... Oh wait, there are none.
I skepticly waited on line at ebisu sushi: A combination plate unvieled a delicious garnish of tiny fish slices atop rice that was being disguised as nigiri and turned out to be by meal. Should moderate portions of meltingly soft tuna and tender (if slightly too cold) salmon pieces formulate a best of San Francosco sushi restaurant?
What is it about this city that elevates a genuinely acceptable restaurant to a bonefied institution? The only reason I am so harsh is that everywhere in the country including NY, they say the bay is the supreme food city. SF is definintly not a bad food city- its above average. But it took me and my friend 12 months and 20 pounds to drive from our hometown (NYC) to San Francisco and all i heard in every city is the majesty of San Francisco.
So far I found a bakery on Irving and 9th that has the best baguette in the country (finaly) and was the only diner at Mas-San sushi, a small sushi bar on 8th and Clement that had cheap sushi as good as Ebisu. I also ate delecious beef brisket for 6 dollars at Tommys Joint better then my Nana used to make.
Please chowhounds, in a city as famous as San Francisco where the "best of the bay" winners are supposed to often double as the best of America winners, help me; contemplate the good places--i mean the places that would make SF deserve such a reputation and let me know. Have i hit some overrated joints, or is the nation simply wrong about this city?