Let me be clear about this. This is the definition of a dive bar. Don’t be fooled by the gourmet fare with the beautiful presentation.
I read about the great food this place was making since new owners took over in 2007. The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” recently filmed here.
Ironically this would have been my mom’s birthday and she would NOT have approved my going there. I did mentally toast her with my glass of New Belgium’s Giddy Up Ale (brewed with lemon peel and infused with espresso).
And really … this lady is not a tramp. I needed to work up my courage to walk in. I don’t usually frequent dive bars.
Yet the staff was so wonderful and the food so delicious that I was feeling very comfortable very soon. It was a totally pleasant experience and I’ll be back.
There are about a dozen dishes on a white board across from the bar. Walk up to the bar and order and the food is brought to you.
I ordered what seems to be a signature dish, mac & cheese with pancetta. It came with a mixed green salad with pear, strawberries and pineapple dressed with raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.
It was a very nice presentation, on a large terracotta tile that served as a tray for the black skillet with the mac and cheese next to a huge mound of salad.
There was a thick cheese sauce with large rigatoni tubes and generous bits of pancetta mixed in. It was topped with fresh grated cheese.
I don’t usually like sweet salads, but this was good.
Most dishes are $11 and with beer the $16 tab given the ambiance at first seemed steep until the food arrived. There are quality ingredients and the portions are more than generous.
There are about a half dozen beers on tap and I also tried the Poppy Jasper Amber Ale made in Morgan Hill
Condiments (Heinz catsup, Tapatio, mustard, pepper) were served in a Pacifica Clara 6 pack.
The chef drops off the dish at the table. He’s an intense, serious guy. Each dish is cooked to order, so there’s somewhat of a wait.
When the new owners took over, they spiffed up the place … good heavens … what did it look like before?
The front room has a long, old-fashioned 12 stool bar and one booth. There are hooks under the bar which were convenient to hang my bag.
The next room has the pool table and other board games. In the back is an outdoor patio with picnic tables, a ping pong table and BBQ grills.
Almost every inch of the knotty pine paneled room is covered with bar kitsch … a green lava lamp next to a green leprechaun, lots of sport memorabilia, Simpsons toys, framed beer company mirrors, etc, etc
At a customer’s request, Karate Kid was playing on the TV at one end of the bar and a sports program on the other bar TV.
The customers range from legal drinking age to 60 plus. A nice older Asian couple was sitting next to me. Everybody seems to fit. Sort of reminded me a bit of the intergalactic bar in the first Star Wars.
The other items on the white board
Stuffed quail with wild rice and vegetables
Pulled pork sandwich
Grilled chicken breast sandwich
Aciete pork chop
Burger and fries
Fish & chips
BBQ brisket sandwich
Achiote chicken tenders
They have brunch on the weekends. The chicken fried steak looked fabulous
The hours seem uncertain. Mon-Thu they open at 2pm. Fri-Sun 11 am. During the week sometimes they serve food at opening. Today they didn’t start serving until 6pm. They close at 2 am, but I think the food service ends sooner.
Here’s my previous query about the menu.
Corrections to that post. There is no set menu and the catsup isn’t house-made. There is another menu in that post with dishes they have served in the past
3129 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121
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