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San Francisco Bay Area

portofino grill, foster city (longish)

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portofino grill, foster city (longish)

neener | Aug 5, 2005 11:10 AM

as we find ourselves in foster city a few days a week, and the weather being so mild these days, the s/o and decided to try out a suggestion made from other chowhounders about where to eat in the burbs. *btw thanks for all the suggestions* we decided to try out portofino grill, mainly because it was nearly sunset and the weather was still very mild. we thought it would be perfect for outdoor dining.

though the lagoon had a particularly interesting scent last night, the aroma of great food soon took overwhelmed the rustic pier that is the dining area.

the steamer bucket of clams was an excellent appetizer. the plump little clams were fresh and not overcooked. the broth was perfect to dip the toasted bread. when some places (poorly) prepare this dish, as you eat it, your lips feel a bit sticky. though honestly, im not quite sure why this occurs, i just dont like it. this bucket of steamers had no such feel, nor did it have a hint of a fishy scent, nor any unpleasant sand grits. having no sand grits means the kitchen staff actually spent the time to properly soak the clams, which may seem like a no brainer to any cook and/or diner, but youd be surprised how many times i have gotten sand with my clams. what this steamer bucket of clams did have was a superb, refreshing quality. the dish came with one of those oversized spoons to plate the clams onto your serving dish; i coudlnt resist to size it as a vehicle to try heaping spoonfuls of the broth. i must say this was an overall excellent appetizer.

as for the entrees, i had the ribeye, she had the seabass. we both agreed both dishes were prepared very well. the seabass was seasoned well, the outside had a thin layer of crisp searing, which is always a good thing and the inside was flaky, soft and juicy. as for the ribeye, i personally like a crunchier sear on the outside, but still, the slab of meat was prepared well. however, with the overall quality of the dishes, we did have a little issue. the meat and fish werent as quite as fresh as it couldve been. we both were discussing this and it seemed at odds with the care and effort portofino grill seemed to put into their dishes. we both came up with that perhaps, it being a thursday night, they were just trying to push out some of the *weekday* groceries before the weekend rush.

i couldnt touch the sides. between the bucket of steamer clams, the half a loaf of bread i kept dipping into it, the nice ribeye, and the rajun cajun hotdog i snuck in while leaving union square prior to dinner, i was stuffed.

thank you wendy-san for recommending this place when i inquired about some good foster city eats.

i would have no issue recommending this place. i was a bit nervous about the shaky wooden planks that make up the pier, but it falls in with the charm of the place. the large gentlemen that greeted us originally seemed to be the owner and also a very easy going guy who chopped it up with every customer that came in. i will be returning very soon to try some other dishes. the pizza the table behind us had looked and smelled mouth watering good. i shouldve asked for a slice.

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