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Back from my visit to the Bay Area and Napa Valley - Recommended restaurants revisited

dt | Feb 11, 200409:02 AM

Thanks to all for their recommendations and helpful lists. They served us well on our vacation to San Francisco and Napa. I only wish we had more time in San Francisco to explore and sample more of the food and ethnic food areas.

I now recall that when we were there in 2001 we had pretty yummy seafood at Yabbies. How is that restaurant now?

This time around, we skipped the upscale restaurants (because of time constraints and also because we were 'saving it' for the restaurants in Napa some of which were disappointing). We had dim sum at Yank Sing which was an excellent experience - i found the food authentic (without sampling some of the more inventive dishes brought out) and it was a nice ambience, the concept of a refined environment in which to enjoy the quality dim sum carried across. We tried the dim sum at Ton Kiang a couple of years ago, I remember that being very good too.

Saigon Sandwich Shop was delicious; yummy bahn mi; we went on a sunday (amazingly, it was open) and saw a line running out the door on saturday. and the whole area by the shop, named little saigon was amazing. we walked into a crowded vietnamese noodle restaurant and had amazing chicken noodle soup (would have had the beef but for my recent illogical declaration that i would consume beef no more).

I revisited brothers bbq and it was absolutely delicious. I know, looking at the various postings that opinions differ as to which korean bbq place in best. i would love to try the others next time around. but brothers didnt disappoint. it was worth the drive, the wait and the permanent smell of smoke in my sweater :)

That was my short run in SF. In Napa Valley, we really only dined in Yountville and Rutherford. I read in a publication, after returning to NYC that La Toque was given the same points as French Laundry in Zagats - any thoughts on that? I am a huge Thomas Keller fan, didnt sample the food at La Toque and distrust Zagat so any comments, thoughts are appreciated, for future reference.

Bouchon was very very good - very consistent with all the dishes. The seafood plateau was amazing and very fresh. We had freshly made sausage in lentil garlic broth which was tasty and the cod fritters served on sun dried tomatoes was innovative, done perfectly and had really clean lines were taste was concerned. The mussels in saffron broth was very good - fresh mussels and the flavored broth was done just right. The fries were a tad mc-donald's like my boyfriend says - he might be right. they would have been more frites-like :)

Pere Jeanty which i hear had a poor review and rating from the SF Chronicle (?) was a disappointment. it was good food, no doubt, but not worth a revisit perhaps. the wood oven roasted mussels was interesting but had unnecessary addition of breadcrumbs. the quail and porcini risotto while tasty was not the best it could be and the bouillabase while also tasty and innovative was perhaps trying to hard with fried monkfish topped wth aioli. i felt the broth was flavorful enough such that there would be no need for frying or added condiments. the restaurant itself is beautiful though.

bistro jeanty on the other hand excelled. the service was unintrusive and knowleageable. we shared the escargot which was, if you like your escargot, tender, juicy and well falvored. the linguini with broccoli rabe, garlic and chili flakes was just perfect as was the coq au vin.

domaine chandon was just so-so. the food is hit or miss. the lamb cooked three ways was perfectly done, so tender and very well seasoned. however, we felt with everything else, the effort was too obvious, from the carrot foam over shrimp to start to the oysters with a 'too-firm, too cold' grapefruit sorbet. overall, its worth a try but i dont think the menu achieves and overall excellence. the service was too intrusive, and the restaurant could do with overall better waitstaff.

lastly, we tried augerge du soleil. perhaps the tasting menu shows better depth and range. we only tried the regular prix fixe menu. the main courses of duck and lamb were pretty good but everything which came before didnt quite hit the mark- the skatewing and risotto. its a beautiful locale and worth visiting, the food is certainly not really to complain about but i think it just misses being very good and for the price one pays it really could be better.

overall though, foodie-wise, we had an excellent time. its always nice to try new things and we did a lot of that.

comments, rebuttals, recommendations for the future are welcome.

where would one post a message about wineries?

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