Mikeb | Apr 23, 200202:12 AM     14

Hi everyone, this is my first report so please be kind.

I miss barbeque chicken, Portuguese-style in particular. I miss the chicken that you can only find in a churrasqueira, a restaurant specializing in Portuguese barbeque. Considering the amount of diverse restaurants in San Francisco, I figured that I’d be able to find that good churrasqueira that I’ve kept my eye out for since I moved to the City by the Bay. I haven’t found it yet, but during my search I came to be reminded that I not only miss churrasqueiras, but I also still have a yen for Portuguese food in general. I had only heard of one restaurant in San Francisco that had Portuguese food. It makes its home on Pine Street in a streetcar. This past Saturday I went to investigate for lunch.

Half of the Grubstake Restaurant is indeed in a grounded streetcar. It looks like one from the outside and it feels like one once you are inside. In the middle of the streetcar there is a bar with a few stools in front. The kitchen is at the back and then there are some tables at the front. The rest of the seating is available in the adjoining dining area—the part not in the streetcar. The appearance of the whole place is definitely that of a place to get some grub. The decor is clean, simple and not too busy in the dining area. The streetcar dining area? Well, to quote from Melanie Wong’s previous review “I liked the cozy dining car (and there are a few tables outside) with murals depicting early California and skylights above. The fresh flowers all around the restaurant distracts the eye from the fake grape arbor overhead, especially the huge sprays of gorgeous orchids grown by the owner's brother.”

Grubstake offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu consists of the traditional fare one expects to find on a short order or diner like restaurant. For breakfast items like eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes, and French toast populate the menu. For lunch/dinner, one can choose from burgers, steaks, various sandwiches, sides and others. What makes this place special was that they have a seven item Portuguese menu as well. The menu indicates that it would take up to 20 minutes for one of these items, but I could wait. The menu also indicates that “Upon advance request, we will prepare any Portuguese dish for which we can obtain proper ingredients.”

I ordered the Costeletas de Porco à Alentejana (Pork Chops Seasoned with White Wine, Garlic and Spices from Alentejo) as my lunch. This is a play on one of Portugal’s renowned dishes, Porco à Alentejana. Porco à Alentejana is cubed pork butt cooked in wine, garlic and Alentejo spices (usually paprika, pepper, salt and bay leaf) with small clams. I decided to wash it down with a Sagres—Portugal’s number one beer.

The chops were very good. They were perhaps not as spicy as I would have liked, but they still did have a great taste of both the garlic and paprika. This was good comfort food and I was happy. The beer went along well with the meal. I must add that the meal itself made for quite a big lunch. Two medium thick pork chops, cubed potatoes and some vegetables will always fill me up. I was glad that I was going for a walk afterwards, as I needed it. The total was about $14 after tax, before tip.

I would definitely return to Grubstake. The one item I had was good and so was the service. After finishing my meal, I was able to sit and read the paper without feel rushed. Another thing to note is that Grubstake is open until 4am. I know that I have added it to my list of places to go, especially if it is late at night and I have a hankering for some filling yummy food.

1525 Pine St (Between Polk and Van Ness)
San Francisco
(415) 673-8268

Link: http://www.sfgrubstake.com

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