Had drinks tonight with some friends at the Tonga Room - it was the first visit for all of us. I had a Greyhound, which was unobjectionable, while others had drinks off the tropical drink menu. Mai Tai was fine, Scorpion bowl was borderline horrendous, and the Zombie reminded me of drinks I tasted in dorm rooms during college...the kind of mixed drink you make when you have no idea what you're doing. I got shivers after tasting it, and it's amazing that a $12 cocktail could be this awful. I know that a Zombie is a common cocktail, so apparently some people like this stuff, but it's definitely not for me. The Tonga Room was cool - indoor pool, simulated rainstorms, nice big tables - but I probably would never go back.
After this, I wanted a snack, and ended up ordering some chicken strips from Palace Steak House, which has been the subject of lots of discussion in my La Lengua Chronicles thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8386... - I'm probably the only person in the history of SF to get drinks at the Tonga Room, followed by chicken strips from Palace Steak House, but what can I say...I'm a trailblazer! I wanted *only* chicken strips (no fries), so the price was $6.00 instead of $8.00 for three medium sized chicken strips. These were pretty decent - batter was on the light side, sort of like what you'd expect on fried clams or fish, and chicken inside was moist. They came with packets of ketchup, but I brought them home and ate them with Thai chile sauce and some kimchi on the side. I probably won't rush back, since it wasn't quite good or cheap enough to be worth it, but it certainly wasn't bad for a fried snack.
Tonga Room is in the Fairmont Hotel: Powell @ California in SF
Palace Steak House is in the Mission: Mission @ Cesar Chavez in SF