We enjoyed a dinner at Curbside last weekend. This restaurant looks much more casual from the outside than it actually is on the inside. I'd call this a medium-priced French-leaning small restaurant -- from the garishly painted exterior it looks like it might be a diner or perhaps a restaurant bar!
People eat brunch here often, as I understand, especially on nice days.
From a quick Web search, it's part of the Curbside restaurant group -- the Curbside Cafe, Bistro, and Too. It's located right across the street from the Lombard gate of the Presidio (here in SF) at 2769 Lombard Street.
Our dinner was early (just after 6pm) and without wine (one of us pregnant, the other one not much of a wine-drinker). We were surpised to find such yummies as rabbit pate on the menu (it's divine, and you must try it). The server also cheerfully split a Caesar salad for us (which was mediocre) and happily refilled our coke and iced tea. They have no lemonade, at least when we were there.
There was nobody there when we walked in, and we sat at one of the booths along the right wall. A couple more tables trickled in -- I imagine it doesn't start up in earnest until 8pm.
We followed up with the NY steak with mashed potatoes in a mushroom merlot sauce with carrots and green beans. Interesting -- it was not like the steak in France (small, tough, undercooked, but full of flavor), or like a steakhouse steak (thick, tender, fully marbled, often overcooked :). It was cooked to a nice medium rare, but was a narrower and thinner NY than I was used to seeing. The sauce was so good that an avowed mushroom hater (Mr. Smith) ate up with abandon. I believe this was the special -- 19$ I believe, and a good value. B+
I had the Chicken piccatta -- after all that pate and salad I wasn't really hungry. It came on a generous plate of angel hair pasta, with bits of fresh (and actually flavorful!) tomato, a garlicky creamy sauce rife with lemon, and tender chicken breast pounded thin, grilled, and cut into strips. I'd give it also a B+. Not an entree that I'll dream about, but definitely better than adequate.
This restaurant is right around the corner from Liverpool Lil's, and if you're in the mood for a dinner other than burgers and beer, the Curbside Too is a better choice.
A glance at the wine list revealed a good but small selection of California and France. Not trendy vintages, which is always a plus, but rather true performers.
We were intriged by the dessert menu option of "Chocolate Obsession, with Chocolate Ice Cream and Hazelnuts" -- but they were out. Chef and server kindly comped us chocolate mousse. We were discussing the upcoming Grateful Dead on this past Monday, and our server overheard and turned out to be a DeadHead, and was therefore in sympathy with us. The Chocolate Mousse (I am a harsh critic, as I make it myself often and have considered it a daily source of sustenance/calories at certain times in my life :) was really good. A little different than I make -- it was served in a wineglass (often as they do in France) and it was piped out in a "star" pattern piled up. It was VERY rich in flavor, but light in texture. It had definite coffee and cognac undertones, which are traditional and proper -- and less of a choclate-forwardness. It also was not very sweet, as is best in a chocolate mousse also. A lovely little bit -- more than enough richness for two to share.
While perhaps not worth a trek across town, Curbside Too is definitely a good choice if you're in the Marina/Cow Hollow neighborhood. The trees of the Presidio beckon for a before- or after-meal walk, and you can see the GG bridge from outside, or walk around the Palace of Fine Arts at the bottom of the hill. Nicely tucked away where it will (probably) never get overrun. However, I heard the server say to another diner that there were 200 people or more showing up for Sunday brunch that day (which was sunny and beautiful) and that people waited for hours.
The decor can only be described as "eclectic".