If this had not had a brief mention on Chowhound and an article in the Marin Independent Journal in the VERY unlikly event I even drove by this out-of-the-way bar & restaurant ... I doubt I would have stopped.
It looks like a non-descript bar in a run-down industrial neighborhood.
However, this 50 year old bar was recently bought by one of the owner’s of Mama’s in Washington Square and the other owner was one of the owners of Orsi’s.
Yes ... it is true ... they are serving many of the breakfast dishes that Mama’s makes. Sitting on the counter was one of those fabulous brioches Mama’s uses for French toast dishes.
I wanted to try the prosciutto, so even though I’m not an eggs Benedict fan, I ordered the procuitto Benedict.
This was a lovely dish with a rich golden house-made hollandaise on top of two perfect eggs. I ate the proscuitto separately. It was good and I wanted to enjoy it by itself. There were some nicely browned home fries flavored with herbs.
The coffee was good. The bloody Mary was better. This is a non-fancy bar ... tomato juice, booze, lots of fresh horsradish and spice ... no fancy-dancy celery stick or vegetable garnish. The only green thing near this drink was a tiny ... tiny piece of lime.
I wanted to try the Mai Tai which the IJ said was Trader Viks original recipe. The menu says it is Quinn’s Mai Tai.
The last time I had a Mai Tai I was in college and at that point in my life I was fonder of Tequila Sunrises and Black Russians. The last time I had a Mai Tai I owned a dress that was a then-fasionable bright pink Mai Tai color.
So I forgot I didn’t like Mai Tai’s to begin with which to me always tasted like Kool Aid with booze in it. Nice marchiano cherry though. Nothing fancy here either ... plain glass ... drink ... cherry on top.
The pancakes & French toast dishes looked every bit as wonderful as Mama’s SF. The fruit was the same quality too.
The French toast dishes included: Swedish cinnamon, chocolate cinnamon, cranberry orange brioche, apple dore (gala apples in lemon butter), berry dore.
Pancakes included: buttermilk, banana, blueberry, cinnamon apple, chocolate chip and dollar pancakes.
There were about a half dozen omelets and other standard breakfast dishes. Other Benedicts were: classic, Blackstone (bacon & tomato), Florentine, smoked salmon & Dungeness crab.
Breakfast is served daily until 5 pm.
Lunch which starts at 11:30 offers basic sandwiches. The burgers looked good. Other sandwiches were Italian sausage, steak, grilled chicken, Dungenes crab, club, Monte Cristo, Mama’s Cristo (with apples added), BLT, tuna and a corned beef version of a Reuben.
Clam chowder is always available and there is a soup of the day.
Salads include crab Louie, shrimp Louie & Caesar.
Dinner starts at uh, 5 or 5:30. There is a daily special
Monday – grilled salmon
Tuesday – meatloaf
Wednesday – Laagna
Thursday – Corned beef & cabbage
Friday – Cioppino ($15.95 currently.. price based on crab seasonality)
Saturday/Sunday Prime rib
The rest of the dinner items are pretty basic and reasonably priced in the $10 - $12 range. The highest priced item was a steak at about $20.
A few of the entrees: chicken Tuscan, chicken parmisan, pork chop milanese, linguini with clam sauce, pasta pomodoro, fish of the day, sauteed prawns.
Appetizers also serve as the bar menu. They include quesadillas, chicken wings (baked with rosemary, orange juice & sweet vermouth), calamari, fish & chips ($6.95), prosciutto & fruit, beer-battered onion rings, garlic fries, garlic bread.
They didn’t have a dessert menu because it changes daily.
The décor is old-time bar. It was cozily decorated for Christmas with live trees in the bar and restaurant. There is a working fireplace in the bar area.
The back restaurant looks out onto the canal which has a little marina. In the summer there is a large outdoor patio area which looks like it might be pleasant. The floors are painted concrete, there is wood paneling the likes of which I haven’t seen since I drank may last Mai Tai in college. The tables have colorful table cloths with olives and such.
The staff is very pleasant. Unfortunately they had a problem where a lot of staff were MIA, so they were short-handed. I had a very long wait ... very long before my order was taken.
One of the owners, I think it was Mr. Orsi came over and apologized explaining about the staff shortage. When my check showed up, they also brought another Mai Tai that they ‘accidently’ made and was complementary. You know, those were strong drinks. I did a lot of shopping in San Rafael before the buzz wore off and I dared get on the freeway.
It was a pleasant way to say goodbye ... to the old year.
So, let me give this one more try ...
Happy 2007 & beyond ... chow ... Krys
Marin IJ mention
Pier 15 Restaurant & Bar
15 Harbor St,
San Rafael, 94901
It is a road off of East Francisco where there are all those car dealerships.
Monday – Friday: 10 am – 9 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9 am – 9 pm
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