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100 short reviews. Absinthe, Aperto, Azie, B44, Bacar, Bagdad Cafe

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100 short reviews. Absinthe, Aperto, Azie, B44, Bacar, Bagdad Cafe

Paul H | May 11, 2003 05:02 PM

I have reached my 100 San Francisco restaurants goal. In honor of the accomplishment, I will be providing one hundred capsule reviews of San Francisco eating spots. These aren't the 100 best San Franciso restaurants; nor are they my favorite 100 restaurants. They are simply the first 100 restaurants I have been to in San Franciso that I can remember.

And now, the food. Here are #1 through #6 of the 100.

Absinthe - Great atmosphere, I am always expecting to see Oscar Wilde and Lord Douglas sitting together in a corner booth. Very creative wine list with a good selection of half-bottles. (One night, I found a 1/2 btl of Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf-du-Pape). Fries are good, Coq au Vin is good, Seafood appetizers are a plus. Good, friendly staff. Highly recommended.

Aperto - Small and pleasant Italian café in Potrero Hill. Had a good salad and pasta. Recommended.

Azie - Exquisite industrial/asian space. Creative menu was once one of the very best in the city. I had an excellent meal here with a heirloom tomato salad, and Steamed Fish with baby bok choy, Thai chili, and scallions in Black Bean sauce, served with Jasmine rice. You can still get excellent food here, but the signs of decay seem obvious. Neither of my entrees are still on the menu. The once renowned butter-poached lobster was replaced by olive-oil poached lobster and now the lobster is gone altogether. Plus, the kitchen now closes at 9:30 on weeknights! Recommended w/downhill watch.

B44 - Went once and haven't been back. After an interminable wait, was served a dried out, overcooked and remarkably unappetizing Paella. Not recommended (though I probably owe them another chance).

Bacar - Elegant modern space open to 1 a.m. with live jazz every night. Two hundred wines by the glass. Downstairs wine lounge. Wok-roasted mussels, Caesar salad and cheese plates are menu standouts. Recommended.

Bagdad Café - Down and out in the Castro. All-American diner food (with a few Mexican twists) available 24 hours per day. If you need something to eat at 4 a.m. this is much, much better than Denny's or a candy bar from Walgreens. (Since it isn't named "Baghdad Cafe" I wonder if somebody's father had a drinking problem?) Recommended for what it is.

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