After spending several days reading through old posts on Chowhound, my husband and I settled on Metro Cafe and Restaurant LuLu for our two evenings in San Fran. I didn't find much on Metro Cafe on Chowhound but Rachel Raye recommended the place on her $40/day show a long time ago.
Metro Cafe (on Divsadero Street between Oak & Page)--
We got there at 7:30 and the place was packed. Only one table available, which we got. Unfortunately there were only 2 waiters for the entire restaurant and the service reflected that. It took about 15 minutes to get a menu and another 30 minutes to get our starter course. The prix fix menu is a great deal for $23 but we didn't like the options that evening so we went a la carte. Obviously the a la carte is NOT recommended if you want to go cheap. We had escargot in a cream sauce (approx. $14)--the sauce was light and well balanced but the escargot were very small but tender. I ordered the braised rabbit in a cream mustard sauce ($18). The sauce was delicious, although part of the rabbit was a bit dry and I wish I had asked for more sauce. The mashed potatoes on the side were plain. My husband ordered the filet with blue cheese sauce and a balsamic demi glace ($26). His was fantastic!! The sauce wasn't too blue-cheesy and the demi glace wasn't too sweet. The meat was absolutely tender. This dish was a winner. Dessert was white chocolate bread pudding ($7)--yummy, firm and not too rich. Would I go again?? I'm not sure I would but my husband loved it. Service was horrible but they did give us a complimentary glass sauterne with the check, which was thoughtful.
Restaurant LuLu (at 4th & Folsom)--
Great atmosphere but the smoky grilled meats left our hair and clothes smelling like a campfire the rest of the evening. In my opinion the best two things about Restaurant LuLu is the unusual dishes and the 2 oz. white tastings. It was really fun ordering lots of tastes of wine while we shared dishes. We started with an antipasta of 3 selections ($15)--pickled vegetables, salt-cured salmon and the bacon leek tart everyone on Chowhound recommended. Wow, the tart was great!! I wish we would have gotten one big tart that we could have pigged out on, but as our friend doesn't eat meat (including bacon), we ordered a variety. I guess I'm just not into pickled vegetables. The salmon was fine. All were very tiny portions--hardly enough for 3 people to taste, much better for 2 people to share.
I ordered a pasta with arugula, roasted garlic and pancetta ($18). I enjoyed the dish but the serving size was really tiny. Maybe it was a small plate but I thought it was supposed to be a main course. I was hungry after I finished. Our friend ordered the spinach tart with pine nuts and baked apples ($18). She said she liked it. My husband ordered steak medallions in a tarragon sauce and steamed vegetables with saffron butter (I think $25). WOW! This dish was fantastic. The only negative was that the meat had a thread of gristle that made it chewy but the taste was great! The portion was large, too. The dessert was chocolate cake with walnut ice cream. Everyone loved it but I thought it was very common.
Service was very good although the place wasn't busy. Would I go again??? Yes, but next time I would I ordered the steak medallions and the leek tart.