Ever find yourself ordering the same dish at a different restaurant just to see 1) what other renditions taste like and 2) to use it to measure the worth of a repeat visit of a restaurant?
Years ago I used clams linguini in white wine sauce to measure an Italian restaurant. I used to love North Beach Restaurant off Columbus which to me their version reached glorious heights in the early 90s. Sadly a recent trip this year did not live up to expectations.
Since then two places have overshadowed the NB experience, though they are outside of the Bay Area; Giuseppe's in Pismo Beach, and a version done by this small homey Italian place in Carmel (a few blocks on the main road, up from the beach area....I forgot the name). Pasta tasted so fresh that it felt like it was made from scratch (to order), perfectly al dente, and the clams were cooked to perfection (no fishy taste, meaty, juicy, also a good sign of well picked ingredients). Don't get me wrong, I love Incanto, A16, Oliveto and their creative authentic pasta dishes, but sometimes I just have to go back to basics and old school (plus they don't offer that).
What do hounds feel are the best versions of this dish in the Bay Area and within the Peninsula? Looking for that fine version, and if within San Mateo/Burlingame area, hopefully can survive a car ride home (takeout).