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Restaurants & Bars

Gregoire's and Vanni's

oakjoan | Jun 4, 200501:25 AM

We tried Gregoire the other night. It's so hard to deal with take out when you live on Lake Merritt, miles away from Cedar Street. Nothing stays hot, blah blah blah. We should have eaten there.

First, I loved the way it looked and the whole show of them cooking, cleaning, bringing in new ingredients, taking orders over the phone, etc. They are really nice, too. I think we ordered wrong as well. Stupid to get lamb chops which aren't going to be eaten for a half hour. But we saw them sizzling away on the grill and they looked so good...

We also ordered the chicken cutlets - deep-fried. The cutlets themselves held up and were tender and crispy even after a half hour. Unfortunately, the dipping sauce seemed to just be plain honey. It did nothing, imho, for the chicken. The haricots vert were good. The salad was wilted by the time we got home. I think it'd be better to try the sandwiches, but it's hard to get there during the day when you work at 20th and B'way. Well, the place was jumping and crowded the whole time. Next time, we'll know better.

About Vanni's. It's on Dwight Way just below San Pablo. A friend and I went there last week for dinner. Her daughter raved about it and so we tried it. It's sort of a Thai menu with some inventive combos.

It's quite charming inside and it was packed (a nice thing for a place in a sort-of out of it location - at night espec).

The appetizer we shared was great. It was 3 small globe eggplants (looked like Indian eggplants) stuffed with something and deep fried. They were served with a sweet/hot/sour dipping sauce and were fantastic.

We ordered a beef dish, but it was completely unmemorable and I therefore don't remember it.

We also had seared Ahi with a crust of sesame seeds. It was served with a sort-of Vietnamesesque salad - shredded carrots, cukes, peppers and mango very sweet/sout. The combo of the rich, satiny tuna with the crispy crust and the crunchy salad was reallllly good. Another really good thing is that you can bring your own wine and they have no corkage fee. They have a wine list of their own but seem perfectly happy to open your wine and give you glasses gratis. Wonder how long that will last?

Has anybody else been there?

My friend has lived on 9th Street near Bancroft since the mid-70's and we walked to Vanni's. The neighborhood is getting gentrified at a very rapid pace.

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