A couple of weeks back, I asked for suggestions for "3 Evenings in SF,"and I wanted to check back to thank the many hounds who gave their recommendations - and those whose previous posts provided us instant options.
The first evening, we dined at La Felce, opposite Wash. Square. I ordered the Saltimbocca alla Liliano, which was excellent. My buddy ordered the Veal Scaloppine, which he said was "serviceable." (I don't think he was complaining, but he had a long and arduous day.) Overall a very rewarding, low key and oddly quiet dinner. (The Series was on at the bar, but there were no other patrons dining at 5:30 p.m.).
Golden Flower, Chinatown. We arrived fairly early the next day (around 9:30 a.m.) so perhaps this wasn't the most optimal time. We thought we'd beat the crowds, but instead had a rather confusing and uninspired meal. Har Gow dumplings (and others) were dry and tasteless, and the other plates seemed tired as well. It was impossible to communicate with the waitress, even to get a glass of water. Perhaps this was an off-day or I should have been more adventurous in ordering. Perhaps I had faulty notes on the place but it was a "swing and a miss," to borrow the vernacular of the moment.
Swan Oyster Depot. Another "first time visit" to this place was far more rewarding. Arrived there at 11:00 a.m. (again barely beating the lunch crowd). When the clam chowder arrived, I must admit I was taken aback. I now know that I've been "conditioned" to expect clam chowder to be chunky, creamy and usually thick. I know this is a known-fact to all you regulars, but the chowder at Swan is quite thin.. but *delicious.* It had a wonderful flavor and blew away my predisposed view of "thick" chowder - forever. Also had a dozen Kumamoto oysters - I couldn't help myself. Fat, plump and juicy. "Fish for breakfast" at it's finest, and raw critters at that. Wonderfully sassy yet courteous guys behind the bar make it a "must" for anyone visiting the city. By the time we departed at 11:35, the line was growing outside.
Mo's Burgers, North Beach. Another quick stop to beat the pre-World-Series rush and Mo's delivered the goods. I have read the other reviews on this board regarding "best burger in SF," and while I haven't been to Bill's or Joe's Cable Car, I can say that Mo's would probably be tough to beat. When we arrived, the cooks were in the process of grinding the evening's stock of burgers - from scratch. 7 oz's of fresh sirloin. I have to admit that the service from our waitress was indifferent (putting it nicely), but I wasn't looking to make friends. The burger itself? One of the finest I've had outside of grinding my own at home (which isn't often these days). It's the kind of burger that drips crimson red on the paper, of the rib-eye steak variety (not the greasy splotch variety). Order it medium-rare and it comes medium rare! Red inside and pink outside. The condiments (on the side) and lightly toasted French bun round out a total winner. I skipped on the fries, which would have seemed an unnecessary insult to this tasty work of art. A+ burger. We in So. Cal have Cassell's and Thai American Burger (to name a couple)... but this one was different. Leave it at that.
As a side note, my post last week also contained a query regarding "decent mai-tai's" available in the city. Tonga Room's got 'em, but they are very overpriced. (I know, I know but we had to make a trip so I could show my friend the "downpour.") We lucked out on an afternoon foray to Trad'r Sam's in Richmond. At $5 apiece, a fine deal and very tasty (the mix being 70% of the battle, imho). Very friendly owner and patrons as well. Definitely worth the trip if your craving a tropical drink in a mellow tiki-kitch setting. Beware - for $20, you can really oil the wagon.
Again, thanks to all on this board who provided tips and suggestions. It really helps to narrow down the chase and we were rarely disappointed.