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Acme Chophouse Report

steaklist | Nov 18, 200412:12 PM

Last week, I'd asked for recommendations for a good steak dinner. After narrowing it down to Alfred's, Acme, and the new C&L Steak (formerly Charles Nob Hill), we decided on Acme.

I met one of our party of three early for a drink at the bar. Had an excellent Tanqueray Ten Martini, friend had equally good Manhattan. The cocktail sizes are huge. We also ordered a dozen oysters - 6 Marin Miyagis, 6 Kumamotos. Both were excellent, although we slightly preferred the Kumamotos.

Once we sat down for dinner, we ordered two salads - the classic iceberg wedge with blue cheese & a duck persimmon salad. Both were great. The bleu cheese salad fulfilled every craving that would cause you to order it. The duck on the other salad was used sparingly, but was tender (stringy) and succulent.

For entrees, we ordered the 22oz Rib Eye (described as their signature steak), the 8oz Grass-Fed Filet Mignon, and the Double-Cut Pork Chop. All were amazing. I had the Filet, and was in heaven. Ordered Medium Rare, it was cooked perfectly - incredibly juicy with plenty smoke (I think they grill their steaks?). My wife declared her pork chop the best she'd had (which is quite a statement); I tasted it and thought it was very good, but couldn't compete with my filet, nor our friends rib-eye. Quite frankly I liked mine the best.

I was disappointed in the two sides we ordered. They were both fine (made to share family style), but I expected Sinful Starch Heaven from the Mashed Potatoes, and instead received something that anyone might whip up at home. Which is to say good, but nothing special. Next time I'd try their much-touted Mac N Cheese. We also got a Brussel Sprout dish, which was also fine.

The desserts we ordered were also good, but again, nothing special. Too bad. Was craving something to wow us after those steaks, but instead got a so-so berry Galette (we had to coax our waitress to throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream) and a perfectly acceptable Butterscotch Pudding (served as a shake, and touted as their signature dessert). We ate both perfunctorily.

The service was casual and friendly, but none too skilled, something that I've come to expect in SF restaurants these days. The final price tage was hefty enough (and the restaurant was empty enough) to warrant more professional service (Now that I think of it, our bartender was more informed than our waitress). This is something that doesn't necessarily ruin the experience, it just leaves much to be desired - especially as I said, when you're spending so much money (I'll use this opportunity to plug Bix as a similar-caliber restaurant with the most amazing service I've experienced in the City. It is a well-oiled machine that left me flabbergasted).

I would definitely go back to Acme for the steaks, wedge salad, oysters and martinis alone. The prices wouldn't let me do it all the time, but it's good to know you can get an excellent version of all of these items when you crave them.

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