Category Archives: Restaurants

Trou Normand — A Carnivore’s Delight

The "small'' beef chop at Trou Normand.

The “small” beef chop at Trou Normand.

 

Sure, you can choose a salad or veggie sides at Trou Normand in San Francisco’s South of Market district.

But really, this restaurant is all about the meat.

Local heritage breeds, whole-animal butchery, and up to 40 different kinds of house-made charcuterie and salumi offered daily are its hallmarks.

It is the younger sister restaurant to Bar Agricole, both founded by Thad Vogler. Executive Chef Salvatore Cracco, who heads the kitchen and butchery program, was the former butcher and sous chef at Bar Agricole.

They’ve turned the historic Art Deco Pacific Telephone Building space into an airy, industrial-hip environment with an unfinished ceiling, marble tables, over-sized tufted leather banquettes, and cool cafe artwork.

The light fixtures.

The light fixtures.

The bar with its iconic artwork.

The bar with its iconic artwork.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. Naturally, my husband, aka Meat Boy, tagged along. After all, this carnivore’s paradise is right up its alley.

The restaurant is named for the northern French tradition of enjoying a small glass of brandy, usually Calvados, between courses to settle the stomach and awaken the palate. Gotta love the French, right?

Read more

Bourbon Steak Scores at Levi’s Stadium

The bourbon cart at Bourbon Steak at Levi's Stadium.

The bourbon cart at Bourbon Steak at Levi’s Stadium.

 

There is no pussyfooting around this.

Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is not inexpensive. It’s a special-occasion place. It’s where you go when you’re dining on an expense account to sink your teeth into an 8-ounce Snake River Farms rib cap for $110 or a Japanese A-5 Kagoshima rib eye for $34 per ounce (with a 3-ounce minimum required).

It’s not a place you’d head to every night. But then again, you couldn’t anyway. Because the restaurant is situated right on the ground level of the 49ers’ stadium, you can’t get into either Bourbon Steak or Bourbon Pub (the contiguous casual eatery) when the Niners are playing home games — unless you are a game ticket holder. In fact, the whole restaurant and pub becomes the ultimate gourmet tailgating extravaganza on game days — but only for season ticket-holders who pony up $5,000 each for the 10-game season. After the game ends, the restaurant and pub are open to any ticket holder.

Similarly, if One Direction, Taylor Swift or any other concert or special event is holding court at the stadium, you can’t get into the restaurant or pub, either, unless you have a ticket to said event.

Got all that?

I think you can guess whose autograph this is.

I think you can guess whose autograph this is.

How many other famous signatures can you spot?

How many other famous signatures can you spot?

The stadium field.

The stadium field.

When dining there, it pays to call for a reservation or to at least check the Levi’s Web site beforehand to make sure no events are happening the night you want to visit. Be mindful that the restaurant is open only for dinner; the pub is open for lunch and dinner.

Read more

Thrice-Changing Spot Morphs Into New Lark Creek Kitchen

Salmon tartare at the new Lark Creek Kitchen.

Salmon tartare at the new Lark Creek Kitchen.

 

It was once Yankee Pier. Next, it transformed into Lark Creek Blue. Now, this spot on the main drag of San Jose’s Santana Row reopened just weeks ago as the new Lark Creek Kitchen.

It’s the first such new concept by the Moana Restaurant Group since it took over operations of Lark Creek Restaurant Group’s stable in January with the exception of One Market restaurant in San Francisco, which remains independently run.

Not that the other two concepts lacked for diners, but Lark Creek Kitchen is Moana’s first action to refresh the brand. Other plans are in the works to redo Lark Creek Steak in the San Francisco Centre and to reopen the now-shuttered Fish Story in Napa as something else.

Read more

Testing Out Delivery.com

Green beans with pork in a tamarind sauce (back) and fried fish with a jumble of salted beans, ground chicken and shallots from Chez Sovan via way of Delivery.com.

Green beans with pork in a tamarind sauce (back) and fried fish with a jumble of salted beans, ground chicken and shallots from Chez Sovan via way of Delivery.com.

 

These days, why bother driving to a store or restaurant, when you can get someone else to bring whatever you need right to your doorstep instead?

That’s the idea behind so many apps and Web sites now, including the new Delivery.com, now operating in more than 38 cities around the country.

It allows you to order provisions from markets, wine and spirits stores, and restaurants, as well as services from laundry and dry-cleaning shops.

I was asked to test it out with a $50 gift card. Because only restaurants are offered right now in my area of the South Bay, I decided to spend it all on a food delivery order from one of my favorite family-owned restaurants, Chez Sovan in Campbell. It’s one of the few Cambodian restaurants in the Bay Area, and its food is crave-a-licious.

The site is easy enough to navigate. Once you pick your restaurant, click on it to get a menu. Then, just click on each dish you want.

Read more

Liholiho Yacht Club Offers Up A Delectable Voyage

Beef tongue poppy-seed buns at Liholiho Yacht Club.

Beef tongue poppy-seed buns at Liholiho Yacht Club.

 

At Liholiho Yacht Club, Chef Ravi Kapur wants you to know first and foremost that he’s not cooking Hawaiian food.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t daydream about the islands when you sit down to dine at his San Francisco restaurant.

“The people who visit Hawaii say this isn’t like Hawaiian food at all,” Kapur told me in an interview earlier this year. “But the people from Hawaii say this reminds them of what they ate in Hawaii. It’s all about the flavors.”

Indeed, it is. It’s all about a pantry heavy on Asian ingredients that allow him to think of making duck liver mousse with Shaoxing wine, rather than the usual Calvados. It’s about a mire poix that’s not based on carrots and celery, but on scallions and ginger.

Kapur’s cooking is a blend of his Indian and Chinese ancestries, his time growing up in Hawaii, and his fondness for the Bay Area’s impeccable ingredients.

The restaurant’s name is taken from the street where Kapur’s uncle lived on Maui, where he’d host blow-out barbecues to help support his catamaran racing habit.

“The idea refers to the past, but also to the idea of the ocean and migratory nature of what Hawaii is,” Kapur says. “It’s my journey and voyage to this restaurant.”

Chef Ravi Kapur in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night.

Chef Ravi Kapur in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night.

The view from the end of the bar.

The view from the end of the bar.

And it seems, everyone wants to come along for the ride, as evidenced by the crowds every night at the casual, brick-lined dining room.

Read more

« Older Entries