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Restaurants & Bars 22

Report: Tennessee Grill

ML8000 | Aug 30, 2007 01:53 PM

I've been meaning to write about Tennessee Grill but it's one of those place half the people get and half don't...and of course I'm hesitant to kill the vibe. It might be the last of its kind in SF.

Tennessee Grill is one of those places that aren’t around much any more – a hole-in-the-wall American diner that makes most of its food from scratch (nothing is over-salted) and yet is inexpensive. It reminds me of old school Chinese American places like Jackson Cafe and Valley Cafe but without a Chinese menu...but the concept/food is similar (including the frozen peas/carrots).

Out in the Sunset District it’s definitely not trendy but that's part of its charm. I’m a fan. Reasonable prices, well-prepared food, the clientele and the diverse staff. I don’t think anything is over $10 bucks…most plates are around $6.25 for a la carte, $7.50 for full.

In the morning it's usually packed with senior eating breakfast...a sign of value. At lunch and dinner I’ve see many single senior men, which I gather is a sort of a default meal plan for these old school social function, and it's nice to see.

My highlights:

Chicken Fried Steak – cooked from scratch, mashed potatoes, veggies and 4 slices of Boudin’s sourdough and butter. (I have no idea how it compares to stuff in the South but for $6.25 in SF I’m don’t care really.)

Fried Chicken – a full ½, cooked to order and fresh, veggies, mash potatoes.

Typical specials might be roast beef, ox tails, roast pork, corned beef and cabbage or salmon. Prices range from about $7.50 to $9.00. I’ve never had anything bad served except some dry roast pork (maybe 10 years ago) just don't expect anything beyond good solid diner food.

For all full meals, $1.25 more gets you tea/coffee, a big bowl of soup (usually minestrone) or the salad bar (to be avoided).

Burger – The Tennessee special; fresh beef, cooked to order, char-grilled, fries (frozen…only okay) and cheese - $4.10. In my mind this is a huge value and beats Bills because it’s cooked over a charbroiler/grill. Most sandwiches/burgers are in the $5 buck range.

Tennessee Grill
1128 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

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