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Restaurants & Bars 1

Catch -- new at Market/Castro

Chowderhead | Oct 29, 200212:14 PM

A friend and I ate at Catch on Market between Noe and Castro tonight. Here's a rundown:

The space is totally refurbished; I think used to be a storefront holding the AIDS quilt a while back. Fairly plain interior, seating maybe 50-75 people, which was fairly quiet and mellow. The inside alos holds a small piano, though noone played last night. There's a large outdoor area in front facing Market which was much more lively, with a large stone fireplace in the center (this is where we sat). Though it was chilly last night, the plastic drapes were down and heating lamps were on, so it was very comfortable. We walked in at 7:30-ish and were told we'd have a 30-45 minute wait, although noone else appeared to be waiting but all tables were occupied (I don't think they accept reservations). We sat at the bar (indoors) and each had an Absolut/tonic for I think $6.50 each. One interesting aspect to the open kitchen was a grocery-store-butcher-style cooler facing the dining room showing the seafood "catches"...crabs, prawns, etc. that seemed a bit out of place. As we waited, we watched dishes being brought from the kitchen to other tables, and servers noticing our interest happily described what they were carrying, which I liked.

After maybe 15-20 minutes, we were told our table was ready; our drinks were carried out for us and we perused the menu. We were brought warm bread and butter, but were never brought water, which we asked for mid-meal. The menu I would describe as a cross between (combination of?) Chow and Home, at similar prices (side note: we noticed the owner of Chow seated at a nearby table). Some wines are offered by the bottle (the one we chose was sold out) and some by the pitcher (which we took as a second choice). Same price points for bottles and pitchers...$23 and up. For appetizers, we were tempted by the Caesar, which looked a lot like Liberty Cafe's with whole romaine leaves and Parmesan shavings, but went for something different in the gruyere-truffle fondue with pears and apples ($6.00). Very tasty, but the leftover cheese which I would have dipped our bread in was whisked away unceremoniously when our entrees came.

For an entrée, I had the 1/2 roast chicken with braised green beans and pommes frites...a literal steal at $8.50. My friend had the mussels and fries which were very good and also a deal at $9.00...but I think Home's Friday night mussels special is better (where the fries completely conceal the mussels and the sauce is thicker)...but it's a close second. I believe the most expensive entrée is a steak with fries at $15.00.

Service was very attentive, although I don't think they're quite prepared to be as busy as they are (and this was a Monday night). They try to fold napkins when diners leave their seats for the restroom, but can't always keep up. Still, the attempt is nice, especially at these prices.

We didn't have dessert, mainly because our server oddly wanted us to finish our wine before presenting the menu (he stated this), and by that time we were quite full. Overall, for the price, atmosphere and quality of food I was quite pleasantly surprised. I'll definitely go back, but it will be interesting to see if things change at all (menu, prices) over the next few months as more people discover it.

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