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Casual Napa: Angele, ZuZu, Calistoga Inn + other SF: Slanted Door, A16 (long)

PaulyR | Aug 9, 200412:21 PM

A few days in SF followed by a few days in Calistoga:

Sakana (from a prev. post "cheap sushi near Union Square") was just alright. I had the Spider Roll, my wife Rainbow or Rock N Roll were good, not great. The tuna sashimi was average. Good sashimi should melt in your mouth, imo. This didn't. It was affordable, if I recall (I have yet to dig out all the receipts).

Slanted Door. Well.... a great view of the bay bridge. The food was good, but not worth "the hardest reservation in town" as I was told by someone at the hotel.
We were part of a large group (14) that sat at a long table that had a planter in the middle so high you could not see the person across from you. Family-style menu: We chose 3 apps (rice cakes and two rolls, one with shimp, one veggie, all very good), 3 entrees (stir fry chicken, pork and ? all good) and 1, actually 2 sides 9 (snow peas were our first choice, but they didn't have enough so we also had boc choi, both okay) Dessert was yummy: a selection of flourless chocolate cake, tarmisu, and...cookies? Service was okay at best. Servers tending to pile the large plates almost on top of one other. Now if they only removed that planter they would have had more room!

A16. Wow. We saw the short profile in Food & Wine (like everyone else) and winged it-no reservation, but we put our name in and stayed in a nice spot right in front of the hostess. Great people watching (exiting, entering, at the bar). Were told 15 mins, took closer to 25, but that was fine. We were offered a table for two against the wall or the chef's counter. Counter all the way! Got to watch the chef prepare the pizzas. The waitress was great, rec'd a great glass of wine for my wife based on her likes (for only $6), she gave us 2 bowls, for splitting my bean soup (which was great, very little liquid). We also shared my wife's green salad which had a great light, citrus dressing. We had the mushroom pizza (which is served without tomato sauce) which was excellent! For dessert we shared the fantastic lemon sorbet (they only offer 1 gelato and 1 sorbet, I think) and the cookie plate, all excellent. My wife had a good decaf expresso. Nice environment. Back wall is glass with an enclosed patio outside. Back of resturant has frosted skylights. And the cost:$47 not including tip! One of my top five or ten all time meals!

Calistoga Inn. Great. Outside dininig. Great mozz & heirloom tom. salad. Fantastic brushetta. My wife: the dungeonese crab cakes, very good. I had the wild salmon on pureed sweet corn with cherry tomato salsa, very, very good. Awesome "Something Chocolate" dessert. Two large scoops of vanilla ice cream with choc. cake/brownie in it, on top of (I think) a small brownie, with hot fudge on top. Sat at small bar, good friendly bartender.

Angele. In Napa, on the river, lunch after kayaking. Covered patio was great. My wife a green salad, then mussels. Both great. I had tomato pesto parm sandwich, very good, and fries, good, not great. Dessert, rasberry sorbet (which comes with a cookie), very good. I would go back in a second. Very good waiter. A pro.

ZuZu. Dinner later after Angele. Tapas/small plates. The fish of the day, tuna was great: sushi grade (uncooked, I think) small pieces stacked in a patty shape with spring onions and celatro sprigs, I think. The omlet wasn't good, desperately needing the side sauces provided. Veggie plate was good and I can't remember the forth plate. I wouldn't go back. Not bad, just next time in Napa, I would try Caledon instead.

Thanks to all the responders of my "Casual Napa Lunch' post.

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