Visited for business, had a few meals. Wish I'd had time to do more research, and more time free of unadventurous colleagues: it was not a very Chowish week.
Bambuddha Lounge -- a highlight: fabulous grazing, drinks, and atmosphere. Nice prices, too. Could have lingered here all night.
Three Seasons -- very, very good, and a good value. Friendly, efficient service on a packed Friday night. Fresh spring rolls a standout.
Azie -- surprisingly good, not overpriced as often reviewed. Loved the vegetarian dishes, like a seared (!) tofu dish, sides of Japanese eggplant, long beans. Well-made cocktails, very proficient and friendly service.
The Fly Trap -- okay, it's kind of kitschy, but the kitchen was dead-on with a perfectly old-school calves' liver and onions with spectacular slab bacon. Worth a throb of the gout toe.
Hawthorne Lane -- good for a lone businessperson to dine at the bar (especially on Valentine's Day). Very good service, an extraordinary beef short ribs entree. Lovely wines by the glass.
The Foreign Cinema -- loved this place for brunch in the first ten minutes. Great atmosphere, and fabulous coffee, Bloodies, and a homemade apple "pop tart". Too bad the brunch entrees were so mediocre: utterly forgettable omelet and Croque Monsieur, not even good frites or homefries. Bummer.
Zuni Cafe -- all going fine, if painfully slowly, until the famous chicken arrived undercooked, bloody. They whisked it all away, but then insisted it was not underdone, just pink. Sorry, but I've prepared lots of free-range chicken myself, and I know bloody when I see and taste it. They did take it off the bill, but dinner was already well-ruined at that point. On further review, this place seemed like many celeb-chef joints coasting on their rep. Every turn seemed designed to drag out the meal, coax us to drink more, to overorder. We could have forgiven all had the food lived up to billing, but the quality controls failed on a not particularly packed night. A very distasteful experience.
Asia de Cuba -- stunning dining room, lunch bento box was okay, but hardly worth $25. I'd say stick to drinks, but these weren't very expertly made, either: for $13, I expect that cocktail glass to be chilled, buster. We kind of know what to expect from these folks -- their restaurants are not about food, their hotels not about service -- so this was about par.
Mezza Luna in Half Moon Bay -- it's the boonies, but this was passable Italian, rather Americanized, served by a sweet Italian family. Not special, not terrible, but obviously homemade, and it hit the spot in the middle of a day trip down the coast.
I hope to be better armed with local board recs on my next visit.
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