with some trepidation (as chowhounders didn't give big thumbs up based on some posts i saw), i went to andalu with my boyfriend last week. i was so pleasantly surprised i wanted to report on it here.
first, on the food front. we skipped the often mentioned tuna tacos and started again with a great fondue of cambazola cheese, served with ripe pears, crisp apples and perfectly crunchy bread.
we then shared a salad of romaine, garbanzo beans, homemade croutons (soft variety) and a wonderful and pungent anchovy dressing. they are not aiming to please everyone with the strong flavors here and that is a good thing - because why go halfway with anchovies?
we then had 2 meat courses in succession - steak tartare with a very unique "tonato" sauce, and then a spectacular osso bucco.
we had planned to also have brandade but canceled the order when we saw how full we were getting and how good the desserts looked!
we finished up by sharing the banana pecan tart with makers mark gelato. I forgot to ask if the gelato was homemade but whether it was or not, it was amazing and a dead on pairing.
We paired a few different wines with the various courses - I only remember the Australian "GSM" (Grenache Syrah Mourvedre). The others were good as well. I think it would be easier if the restaurant suggested wine pairings with particular dishes. The wine list overall was very interesting and reasonable prices abounded.
Lastly, let me comment on service. I don't know if we got lucky but our server (tall blond male) was great - from explaining and suggesting dishes, to pairing and then splitting glasses of wine, to canceling one course incredibly graciously......
all in all, an incredible meal. we wound up sharing 4 glasses of wine (so 2 each) and our tab came to $35 per person before tax and tip. For all the different tastes we got to experience and the overall atmosphere, I considered it a great value.
Oh yes-- and if you hate parking in the mission (we dealt with it), you can valet for something like $8.
i'd be very interested if chowhounds have other restaurants they recommend in this price range (not the cheapest meal in town but a great value and won't break the bank) with creative menus and wine lists!