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Restaurants & Bars 4

Fisherman’s Wharf Crabby Crawl – Dinner at A. Sabella’s

rworange | Feb 28, 2006 11:55 PM

The end of the meal summed up the service at A. Sabella’s. The waiter walked over, opened up his hand and asked me if I wanted one of the wrapped blue mints in his palm. I’ve never seen mints presented that way before.

The cioppino (26.50) had lots of tired fish. There were about four tiny clams in shell, a few pieces of crab claws and legs, some oddly hacked-up crab body … it was hard to get the meat out … and about a half dozen mussels. When they said shrimp that is exactly what they meant … one large in-shell shrimp that wasn’t cleaned.

At the end I was getting very annoyed with the effort of digging things out of shells for such little flavor. This is some of the blandest fish I have ever eaten.

The only good thing was that the seafood flavor seemed to be absorbed by the light tomato broth. However while it had the deep flavor of shellfish the other ingredients in the broth were as tasteless as the fish. There was chopped garlic and diced peppers but without any zing.

The bread basket had some garlic parmesan foccacia with almost the texture of biscotti. The sourdough was pretty good with a nice texture, crust and sour tang. The waiter had no clue who made it. He had to go to the kitchen to ask the chef what the other bread was.

Wine by the glass is $9. They are not listed on the wine list. There are only bottles on the wine list with the prices ranging between $30 – $50. There were a few bottles for $15 like the Berringer blush.

Trying to get the waiter to recommend the wine was a chore.

Me: Do you have wine by the glass?

Waiter: Do you want red or white

Me: Well, I’m ordering the cioppino what do you suggest?

Waiter: Do you want red or white? What do you like?

Me: I like both equally. I don’t know what your preparation of the cioppino is like, so what do you think would go best?

Waiter: The red and white are both good. What do you like?

Finally we narrowed it down to the Merlot or the Chardonnay. The Chard was everything bad about that wine and fought with the cioppino. It was a case of each making the other taste worse.

I had no intention of spending another penny here, so dessert is left for others to explore. The are $8.50 which at this time is about two bucks more than most upscale restaurants.

Also, the first question was did I want sparkling or still water. I asked for tap.

The décor is as tired and odd as the food. Just when was pink, green and grey the color of the moment … the 80’s? The pink seats were faded as was the carpet. Waiters are dressed in black pants, vests and bow ties with white aprons and shirts. It was like stepping back a couple of decades.

Another reason I didn’t stay was the music. I LIKE Sinatra and big band music. However, this was the worst of that era.

The view is one of the better ones because the restaurant is on the third floor. However the other Wharf restaurants block the immediate front view of the water. You can see Alcatraz though and the Bay Bridge. The Boudin building blocks the view to the right.

The bar is in the back of the restaurant … again that really 60’s look. There is a little view, but not as much as the restaurant. There was a blazing fire, but the area just didn’t look appealing.

Parking is free at a garage around the corner. You have to call in to get the code of the day.

In terms of the cioppino, for 4 dollars more I could have a version with stellar fresh fish at Scoma’s. Scoma’s has a nicer restaurant and free at the door valet parking.

It is very unlikely I’ll return to A. Sabella’s.

A. Sabella’s website - the menu seems to be current.


Fisherman’s Wharf Crabby Crawl - Scoma’s sourdough & Prix-Fixe Lunch ($21.95)


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