Thanks to everyone who posted suggestions on where to go before a concert at The Filmore (in this case, Eric Idle's Greedy Bastard Tour). I ended up looking at Patricia Unterman's book, and realized that Cafe Kati was only 2 blocks away (Sutter Street near Filmore with parking at Japantown, although we got lucky and found a place on the street). I'd been there for lunch years ago, and decided to splurge on a return visit.
We were half hour late for our reservation, but they couldn't have been more gracious. The back room was booked for a private party, but we managed to get reservations the night before the show. We got off to a rough start with the wine....the waiter suggested a pinot noir which smelled fishy when they served it. They brought a bigger glass when I pointed it out, but it still didn't work. So, when they realized there was still a problem, they exchanged it for a glass of the McManis cabernet, which was delicious.
We started with the mango rolls for Graham, and that night's special salad of blood oranges, beets, goat cheese, fennel, and pomegranate seeds. It was a wonderful winter salad, and I was impressed, since I'm not usually a fan of salads with fruit.
We had advised them that we only had an hour for dinner, and they got us in and out at a leisurely pace. The chef came out to visit with us (his son was hanging out at the counter, and was obviously at home in the restaurant), and was totally charming. What a nice touch!
Our main dishes: Graham had the salmon with potato gratin (looked good, but I was totaly focused on my dish, and didn't take good notes on his) and I had the miso glazed black bass in a dashi broth, with udon noodles, shanghai bok choy, and tempura kabocha squash, basd on a 2002 post from Wendy-san. I can't imagine a more satisfying meal, and we immediately made reservations for another dinner after Christmas.
It felt like a neighborhood restaurant with an edge: one table was filled with what I swore were Eric Idle roadies, and anothe had three blond models dressed totally in black. Great meal, great atmosphere, and the butterscotch pudding for dessert was a keeper. With tax and tip about $120 (2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 3 glasses of wine), but what a special occasion place!