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Market Bar revisited

Joan Kureczka | Mar 9, 2005 07:52 AM

Well, it started with a craving for oysters. Jesse -- who doesn't eat them -- was willing to be indulgent and take me down to Hog Island at the Ferry Plaza. Unfortunately we walked in to find them closed to the public for a private party. Bummer. Nothing appealed beyond the view at the adjoining seafood bar and he didn't want to brave the crowd at Slanted Door.

He also didn't want to leave for one of our more usual haunts, so knowing they'd have the oysters I wanted, suggested we try Market Bar again as there were seats available at their bar. It turned out to be a good idea, and I'd now nominate this place for having the best value fruits de mer. It doesn't hold a candle to Zuni in most ways, but goes way beyond the offerings of most of the other places in town where I've tried the shellfish.

We ordered a small "plateau" (there were 3 sizes) which came with 6 oysters (as good in quality and flavor as some of those I would have gotten down the hall), 6 large shrimp, half a lobster, and half a dungeness crab. Quite a bit of shellfish for $28, and pretty tasty -- it would probably be even better at the start of the crab season rather than the back end. There were 3 sauces, none of which was that good (a typical cocktail sauce, a mediocre tartar sauce, and a mignonette that lacked the balance of some I've tried).

We also split a truly delicious pasta -- rigatoni with sausage, broccoli di cicco, parmesan, olive oil and hot pepper flakes. Perfectly cooked, and really yummy.

They had a reasonable selection of wines by the glass -- I tried a good full-bodied rose from the South of France, followed by a great Mouvedre from the Langdoc. Prices were reasonable -- $6 and $7, compared to some of the prices I've seen lately at other venues.

Definitely worth re-evaluating this place again -- it's not flashy, but a good value restaurant in the "old San Francisco" tradition of a place like the Washington Square Bar and Grill.

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