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Restaurants & Bars 1

SF/Napa/Monterey Trip Report

mliew | Dec 30, 2007 05:40 PM

Just got back from 3 days in the Bay Area and wanted to write a trip report. Almost all of the places that we ate at were recommended on here and for the most part were exactly as described.

San Francisco:

Ristorante Milano – Small restaurant on Russian Hill very reminiscent of San Francisco eateries. Dining room has about 10 tables or so. To start, we ordered a grilled vegetable appetizer and the mushroom bruschetta. Both were very good. For our main dishes, I had the lamb chops. My girlfriend had the homemade linguini with tomato sauce and clams/mussels. The flavor of the lamb was great, very simply prepared with minimal spices. It was server with grilled vegetables (similar to the appetizer) and roasted potatoes. My main criticism of the dish was that the portion size of lamb was very small, probably only about 4oz or so. I’m not a big fan of huge portions but for $25 I would expect a little more. My girlfriend enjoyed her dish a lot, however she said that the tomatoes in the sauce tasted like canned tomatoes rather than fresh. Overall though this was a good meal.

Bistro Boudin – After searching through many posts it seems the general consensus is that Fisherman’s Wharf is a tourist filled culinary wasteland. However, this place seemed to be one of the few exceptions. The restaurant is nicely decorated and modern, and for a Saturday evening did not seem to be very crowded around 6:30 pm. The clam chowder was very good, not too starchy and thick. I had the smoked sturgeon which was very good. The crab cake sandwich was also excellent, although the crab cakes seem to contain a high ratio of filling to crab. For dessert we had chocolate and vanilla crème brulee, bread pudding and apple crumb cake. The bread pudding was a little dry and bland, but the others were quite tasty.

Yank Sing – Great dim sum although expensive. Xiao Long Bao was excellent, the skin was very thin and the filling on the light side. The dumplings were not broken and the soup was flavorful. Everything else we ordered was above average as well. The only thing I didn’t like was that the Gai Lan was served ice cold. I’m not sure if this was on purpose or not, but even cold the dish was good. Overall I enjoyed the food but it’s a bit on the pricey side. I think there might be other places that give better bang for the buck.

Napa:

Bistro Jeanty – I had read some reviews that this place had gone downhill recently but overall the food was excellent. Tomato soup with puff pastry was outstanding and almost every table I saw had at least one order of it. The french onion soup, and Coq Au Vin and were also great. The grilled sole was good but nothing special. My only gripe about this place was the fact that they screwed up our reservation and gave our table to another party. We ended up waiting 30 minutes for a table to open up which was rather annoying.

Monterey:

The Fish Hopper – Cannery Row is another place described as a culinary wasteland full of tourists, but a few people recommended this place. I had a sample of their clam chowder and didn’t care for it that much, too thick and not a lot of flavor. We ordered the chef’s appetizer consisting of a crab cake, calamari, grilled artichoke and garlic bread. All were pretty good although the garlic bread seemed rather pedestrian and out of place. I ordered the halibut with grilled prawns. The fish was cooked nicely and the sauce was subtle but tasty. It could have used a little bit of salt. The mashed potatoes and vegetables were ok but nothing special. The pasta dish we ordered was quite watery and bland. Overall, I think this place was decent especially considering the location but certainly nothing extraordinary.

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