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Bruce | Aug 22, 200305:13 PM    

I posted a version of this way down the page, but thought I would make it more prominent here, in response to several questions about rue lepic on this board.

A couple weeks ago, my wife and I and some friends happened to spot this charming cafe during a walk. We made reservations for that evening, and were lucky enough to get a table at 7:00 (there's only a handful of tables). As we opened the door, we were bowled over by the wonderful, unmistakable aroma of sauteed leeks. The restuarant serves mostly french bistro fare (minus the frites, at least on that evening), but we learned that the chef/owner is Asian. (There's a huge, tacky portrait of her on one wall.) According to our waiter, Rue Lepic has been in business for almost 40 years, which is why, he explained, it doesn't show up many guidebooks, etc. "We're old hat!" he said.

The tiny kitchen is wide open to the dining room, so, if you want, you can watch the chef prepare your meal.

I thought the wine list was marginal. The prices were reasonable but the selection left a little to be desired. We found a couple halfway decent French bottles, so it was no big deal.

The meal was extremely well-prepared and paced. I ordered one of the specials, pan-sauteed halibut, in a light and creamy but not overly rich sauce. The fish was cooked perfectly, moist and flaky, and the portion was generous. My wife selected scallops from a prix fixe menu, which included a very nicely prepared seafood pasta appetizer in a delicate tomato sauce; a cup of so-so tomato soup; her entree--a succulent scallops dish; and sorbet for dessert. Our dining companions both ordered lamb, which was perfectly cooked to their order (rare) and, they said, excellent.

Prices were unremarkable for SF; about what you would expect to pay for some decent, well-prepared food and a couple bottles of reasonable wine. (I can't remember the total; I pushed the check in front of my wife and she paid!)

All in all, a delightful evening, but what will always stand out in my mind about the restaurant is that it wins hands-down for having the world's smallest bathroom. I'm not particularly big, but anyone over six feet tall might be able to squeeze in but would probably never manage to squeeze out again. We laughed out loud about it.

In general: highly recommended--just don't drink a lot while you're there-you may never be heard from again!

Bruce

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