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Another Fantastic Meal at Laiola

whiner | Apr 14, 200802:42 AM

I'm going to keep on singing this restaurant's praises. After two full dinners and a quck run in for a small plate and glass of wine, this is deffinitely my new favorite restaurant in SF. (No, I don't mean that I think it has the very best food or atmosphere, I mean it isjust my favorite place to hae dinner that doesn't cost an absolute fortune.)

7pm reservations Friday night, got there a little late, not a problem. This was my first time not sitting at the bar. (FYI, most of the 40 seats are walk in.) The table was very comfortable, we were close to the people next to us, but because of the noise level, while we could hear on another, we really couldn't hear them. The menu is COMPLETELY different from what it as a month ago. They said the are constantly switching the menu up to satisfy regulars.

We were three VERY hungry people (no one had had more than a salad all day) we ordered:

Small plates:
-pan-fried smelt (they said it was awesome, I'm not a fan of the small fishies)
-squid and chickpeas sauteed in olive oil with some lemon and other stuff (I liked it, they loved it, I'm not a squid kinda guy though; I only took one taste, just to taste it)
-dates stuffed with chorizo, wrapped in bacon: absolutely AWESOME! small portion, but the flavors worked perfectly with one another
-spring peas with blood sausage. One of the best pea preperations I've had.
-grilled quail over hazelnut and cabbage slaw with honeyed golden raisens. As good as it sounds. The second best quail I've ever had.

Large plates:
The lamb (2 orders)
The steak (1 order)

The lamb was very good. It was roasted leg (to medium-rare plus) and seasoned very well (with pistachios, I want to say).

The steak was better. I don't know what cut it was but it was grilled perfect just asrare gets to medium-rare and the seasoning was masterful. It is rare that I go out and have a steak and say, "wow, this is better than what I could do at home," but this certainly falls into that category. The steak was served over spinach with cauliflower that tasted like roasted marshmellos

Pea tendrils with cipollini onions: excellent, but the tendrils were quite chewy.

-orange blosom creme brulee: outstanding
-a cheesecake of some sort (didn't try it, but they said good things)
-pan con chocolate: SO GOOD! I'm not normally a dessert person, but this was just perfect, fresh bread, then slightly toasted, served with a semi-sweet chocolate... creme? mousse?... pudding? drizzled with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.

We each started off with drinks. I had the margherita picante which I highly reccomend.

We also had 2 corkages. (Corkage is $20/bottle, but they waive a corkage for every bottle you buy off the well thought out 75-100% over retail Spanish wine list).

After all of that, plus a 22% tip on top of the post-tax bill, dinner came out to just under $100/person ($97 to be exact).

I will be back soon.

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