Eureka Restaurant and Lounge – Castro, San Francisco

fried okraThe Castro has never been known for its restaurant scene, and for good reason. There hasn’t been much to talk about. The restaurants are for the most part fast food nightmares to serve an ever-increasing number of drunken tourists. Eureka Restaurant and Lounge is one of the exceptions.

The food is an interesting and flavorful blend of Southern Soul and Mississippi Delta cuisine. You can tell that everything is made with passion and love. The fried okra was some of the best this little doggy has ever eaten. Crusted with corn meal (the way it should be in the south), it was crunchy and perfectly seasoned. The aioli served on the side tasted like an odd and not so interesting version of tartar sauce. The black-eyed peas were smoky and full of flavor.

For my entrée I ordered the roasted pork tenderloin with yams and braised collard greens all in a bourbon molasses glaze. Let me tell you here and now, that my tail was wagging something fierce. The pork was melt in your mouth tender. The smokiness of the glaze covering the warm tender yams would make your grandmother’s Thanksgiving yams taste like leather. The dish was simply outstanding.

There were a few bumps along the way. The waiter had a terrible attitude and acted throughout the entire evening that I was a complete inconvenience to him. I’m a pretty laid back kind of dog. It takes a lot to get my fur ruffled. He was close to seeing my bite.

The other issue I had during my meal was the inability of the kitchen to make any adjustments. Their menu clearly states that all food is prepared to order. I had originally ordered the Cajun meatloaf as it simply said served with mashed potatoes. Other menu items mentioned garlic mashed potatoes. I inquired about the meatloaf and was told in a very snarky tone, yes all our mashed have garlic. I asked if I could get it without garlic. I was told no. So much for preparing their food to order.

Despite the problems I encountered this place is a must visit for anyone in the Castro who wants a bit of calm and peace among the hordes of loud and sometimes obnoxious tourists crowding the streets of the Castro.

Online at: http://www.eurekarestaurant.com
Reservations Accepted: Yes via Seatme.yelp

Food: 5 Paws
Service: 2 Paws

Overall Score: 3.5

ShatasSignature_3.5

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Sugoi Sushi – Mission, San Francisco

ls.jpgIf you’re familiar with the Valencia Street than you’ll know that this restaurant used to be housing in the old KFC building, and thankfully they’ve found new and much better digs up near 23rd Street.

We started our evening with the pan-fried gyoza. They were good, but that’s about all, nothing about them wowed me. The gyoza could have used a bit more time in the pan, as they were a bit soft and chewy for my taste. They only have one variety and it’s not vegetarian, so those who want these as your appetizer will have to settle on pork.

The rest of the evening’s menu consisted of vegetarian options from their regular menu and the nightly special. Their cucumber sunomono was nicely prepared and had a nice bite to it. The Agedashi Tofu, had an off-putting flavor, I couldn’t place the problem, perhaps old oil, or tainted with fish residue. It was my least favorite item of the night.

One of their nightly vegetarian rolls, was wrapped with a thin layer of tofu. Something I have never seen before. It was by far one of the best rolls of the evening. They should consider this one for their regular menu, because there is really nothing (vegetarian) that sets them apart from other sushi restaurants in the area.

Even with the above praises for some of their dishes, two of the three people in our party ended up getting sick that night. Odd to think that something vegetarian could cause such problems, my only thought would be that the vegetarian items came in contact with a surface that was not properly cleaned from fish.

Patrons be warned. Because of the serious stomach problems, I cannot give them anything higher than one paw for food.

Online at: http://www.sugoisushisf.com
Reservations Accepted: Yes via Seatme

Food: 2 Paws
Service: 2 Paws

Overall Score

ShatasSignature_2-4-2

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Foreign Cinema – Mission, San Francisco

1599_2266What can one say about the Mission that hasn’t been said a thousand times. It’s a rich, wonderful cultural spot in the city, and unfortunately, the Mission being chewed up and spit out by high-end condos, and trendy shops and restaurants. It will be a huge loss for San Francisco when this area is overrun by money.

For now, we still have places like Foreign Cinema. Some my call this place one of those high-end restaurants, but it’s been in the Mission for over fifteen years. It’s a place you have to experience at least once, but be warned sometimes once is never enough.

The menu is not extensive as some restaurants, but some might say it allows the kitchen to perfect their dishes. It also changes on a fairly regular basis, so know that if you’re looking at their website. What you see on their website isn’t necessarily what will be available to you at the restaurant.

While the menu is well done and the food is good, it isn’t outstanding. Case in point. The night I went, there wasn’t a single vegetarian entrée on the menu. Sure they probably could have created something on the fly if I was a serious vegetarian, but that shouldn’t be the case. Every restaurant should have at least one option outside of having to order two or three appetizers.

Another oddity in the food was their ahi tuna dish. It was served with potato chips. I’m sorry for $31, try roasting some potatoes, or at least mashing a few. I found it insulting and frankly tacky.

The Bavette Steak was done to absolute perfection. It sat on a bed of roasted white corn and sliced potatoes. The slices of steak were medium rare, juicy, melt in your mouth tender, and topped with a wonderful tarragon sauce.

Even with the few flaws, Foreign Cinema delivers a fun and interesting dining experience.

Online at: http://www.foreigncinema.com
Reservations Accepted: Yes via Open Table

Food: 3 Paws
Service: 4 Paws
Overall Score

ShatasSignature_3.5

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Mosto – Mission, San Francisco

FullSizeRenderIt’s only been seven weeks since I posted my review of Mosto in the Mission area of San Francisco. Seven short weeks, but in that amount of time so much has changed that I felt obligated to write a new review to keep my readers and eaters up-to-date.

Back in May, I gave this glorious restaurant a 5 paw review. I don’t do that very often as to me 5 paws are saved for the best of the best. Mosto was the best of the best, but something happened and they have fallen hard.

Picture it, 5:20 p.m. on a Monday night. Not a busy time, or day of the week. I patted my furry feet into Mosto and took one of the high top tables. There were perhaps eight other people in the restaurant/bar. In other words, it was not crowded.

My order was simple, a margarita, a cactus taco, an al pastor taco, and a pastrami taco, nothing crazy or difficult. About fifteen minutes later I’m informed that another tables order was put on my bill and so they needed to sit down with me to determine what I had ordered and what on the bill wasn’t mine. There were even a couple of tacos that no one seemed to have ordered on my bill. So after a round of discussions, I received the food that I had ordered.

Nothing on my plate even resembled the wonderful food I had just a few short weeks ago. The cheese on the cactus taco was over cooked, brown, and crunchy. When I bit into the al pastor taco, my immediate thought was that the pork had been sitting out in the sun. It was completely dried out, and no flavor. We won’t even go into the details of what they did to the pastrami taco.

This was without a doubt one of the worst restaurant experiences I’ve had in a quite a while, not only was the service completely out of whack, but the food was total crap. Not what I expected on my return visit to Mosto.

Alas, that will be my last trip to Mosto. I won’t even give them a second chance at redemption. The only reason they are getting two paws instead of one – the margarita.

Online at: www.mostosf.com
Reservations Accepted: No

Food: 2 Paws
Service: 2 Paws

Overall Score

ShatasSignature_2-4-2

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Buttermilk Southern Kitchen – Mission, San Francisco

IMG_1353I love just wandering the streets of any city I’m visiting and not having any specific plans. That’s when, in my LDO (Little Doggy Opinion), you find some of the best local restaurants. Case in point, Buttermilk Southern Kitchen in the Mission. This was one of the best surprises of my trip to San Francisco so far.

The minute you walk into this small quaint restaurant the smell of sweet buttermilk waffles and fried chicken greet you with a warm caress. I had an odd feeling of being at home the moment I stepped inside, then I realized why…Buttermilk reminds me of an upscale Clover Grill (one of my favorite little spots in the French Quarter), and the food is outstanding!

Being a lover of all things po-boy, I was intrigued by their version of this New Orleans classic dish. They marinate then grill the shrimp, instead of frying it, and to get the crunch, they crumble house-made potato chips into the sandwich. I was skeptical, but I ordered it anyway. This po-boy rocked this little doggy’s world. Warm, fresh roll, juicy perfectly seasoned grilled shrimp, chips, lettuce, tomatoes, and an amazing variation of remoulade. It may not be authentic, but it could beat the pants off some of the po-boys in New Orleans.

If you’re in San Francisco and are craving some food from the south and/or Louisiana, get yourself over to Buttermilk and dig into some amazing food.

Online at: http://www.buttermilksf.com or https://www.facebook.com/ButtermilkSF
Reservations Accepted: No

Food: 4 Paws
Service: 4 Paws

OVERALL SCORE:

Rating 4 Paw

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Lers Ros Thai – Hayes Valley, San Francisco

Lers RoiOne of the things I love about San Francisco, is that no matter what your day holds, or where you wander in the city you are never more than a few paw prints away from good food. Today’s find came from Hayes Valley while I was shopping at Nancy Boy for some bath products. Their shampoo does wonders for my untamed fur…but I digress, this blog is about food.

I was in the mood for something warm and satisfying, so I stopped in at Lers Ros Thai. It was my first time visiting so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m so glad I did, I think I’ve found my new go to Thai place. And there is a location on 16th street just a few blocks from where my doggy palace is located.

I wanted to try a couple of dishes, so I ordered the vegetarian Pad Thai and the Pra Ram Pak, a peanut curry dish with vegetables. And for those vegetarians out there, they have an amazing list to choose from, so dig in.

The Pad Thai was warm, with a sweet smokiness that I’ve never experienced before with this dish. The vegetables were cooked to perfection, tender yet still slightly crisp. They were flavorful and fresh.

The Pra Ram Pak, was a delicious surprise. Served with white or brown steamed rice, it was tofu and mixed vegetables in this slightly spicy, peanut curry sauce that was out of this world. I was licked my paws trying to get the last drop. It was crazy good.

So if you are in Hayes Valley, the Mission, or the Mid-Market area of the city, and you’re in the mood for really good Thai food. Stop by. This place has an extensive menu. I can’t imagine anyone not being able to find something here that suites their taste or dietary requirements.

Online at: http://lersros.com
Reservations Accepted: Yes via lersros

Food: 4 Paws
Service: 4 Paws

Overall Score

Rating 4 Paw

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Shizen Vegan Sushi – Mission, San Francisco

IIMG_1295’ll admit it. I was skeptical when a friend suggested we eat at a vegan sushi restaurant. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I’m not much on raw fish, but vegan? I trust my friend and went along for the experience without much hope of enjoyment. I’ll also admit that I was so wrong. This place rocks!

The interior is simple, yet beautiful. It’s the sort of place that welcomes you the minute you step inside. The staff is attentive and treats you as if you are part of the family – big kudos for this. There isn’t any attitude and you won’t feel as if the staff doesn’t want you there.

The shoyu ramen was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It’s flavorful, and beautifully presented. This is worth the trip alone. Other highlights of the evening included the tempura shiitake mushrooms stuffed with house-made “crab” meat and matcha sea salt. The futomaki roll was loaded with tofu, spinach, IMG_1296mushrooms, kanpyo and inari. The combinations of flavors in this one was in my opinion one of the best of the rolls.

Shizen Vegan Sushi is a must be sort of place. Try as this little doggy did, words cannot adequately describe the subtle textures and flavors of just about every thing that is placed in front of you. Don’t let the word “vegan” deceive you. This place is sublime. You won’t ever miss the fish.

Online at: https://www.facebook.com/ShizenSF
Reservations Accepted: No

Food: 5 Paws
Service 5 Paws

Overall Score

Rating 5 Paw

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Ritual Coffee – Mission, San Francisco

IMG_1305I know this review isn’t going to be too popular with some people, but I’ve never been one to go along with the masses; besides a good dogfight is good for the soul.

Ritual Coffee on Valencia was one of my go-to places for coffee and some writing time. The space was warm and inviting, the coffee always perfect, and the staff friendly. It was a community spot for folks to come in out of the chilly San Francisco weather, sit down with friends over a cup of coffee, or with a notebook and pen, or computer. It’s what a coffee shop should be.

Fast forward to 2015. Ritual Coffee underwent a massive remodel in 2014. This was my first time back since. Whoever designed the interior space or thought this was a good idea should be taken out and shot.

The new Ritual is cold and sterile. The design makes you feel miniscule and dwarfed immediately making you feel unwelcome. Most of the tables are gone though with the chilly atmosphere, one doesn’t want to linger, and my guess is that is exactly what they want. They want their customers to come in grab a cup and go. No more lingering, no more community feel. The customers are no longer welcome to sit and be a part of what made Ritual Coffee great. The redesign is a concept to get the customer in and out as quickly as possible, to serve more is to, afford the increasing rents of the Mission.

The pastry and baked goods were terrible. Either they were days old or the baker doesn’t know what they are doing. The IMG_1306croissant literally crumbled when I touched it (see picture) what ever happened to moist, flaky, pastries? I couldn’t even eat it as it just kept crumbling. Oh, and let’s talk about the price. Two pastries and two coffees came to twenty-two dollars, yes twenty-two dollars! No thank you, never again.

Simply put the design doesn’t fit. It has nothing to do with the neighborhood it once supported. It’s as if Ritual Coffee has turned it’s back on the community and the people who supported it, all for a quick buck.

Online at: https://www.ritualroasters.com
Reservations Accepted: No

Food: 1 Paw
Service: 1 Paw

Overall Score

Rating 1 Paw

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Celia’s Mexican Restaurant – Lafayette, CA

FullSizeRender 3Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with Mexican food. This little doggy could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner not to mention dessert, late night snacks, well you get the picture. Yesterday, my dear friend took me to Celia’s in Lafayette and let me tell you my tail was wagging all the way through my lunch.

Celia’s isn’t some high-end, fancy Mexican place that does frilly foo-foo food. This is your basic Tex-Mex, Mexican style food and it is done with perfection. The chips are fresh, warm, and salted with care. The salsa is mildly spicy if that makes sense. The flavors of onions, cilantro, tomatoes, are balanced so that one bite isn’t all onion and another bite all tomato. All the flavors in every bite, it’s oh so good.

I ordered the Chile Relleno Especial. The Chile itself was mildly spiced, perfectly battered, and stuffed with a blend of cheese and ground beef. It was topped with Celia’s house-made red sauce and served with some of the best rice and beans I’ve had in a very long time.

There are ten locations in and around the Bay Area so you don’t have to drive to Lafayette to satisfy your cravings for Mexican food, but you do need to get to back side to Celia’s.

Online at: http://www.celiasrestaurants.com
Reservations Accepted: No

Food: 3.5
Service: 3.5

Overall Score

ShatasSignature_3.5

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Kiji – Mission, San Francisco

IMG_1284I don’t eat a lot of raw fish for various reasons, but when I do and I’m in San Francisco, Kiji is the only place for me.

It’s a small, elegant restaurant tucked away in the Mission on Guerrero. Did I mention it was small? And it gets crowded but luckily they do take reservations. The menu is diverse and has an assortment of hot and cold starters along with a long list of rolls to choose from. For vegetarians out there reading this, they have a ton of stuff and it’s delicious.

We started the evening with the Hamachi Carpaccio. This dish alone is worthy of a visit. The thinly sliced yellowtail tuna literally melts in your mouth. It’s topped with a delicate spice, truffle oil, sea salt, and a thin sliver of jalapeno pepper. [Pictured at top]. The next item on our menu tour was the vegetable pan-fried gyoza. They were warm pockets of heaven and cooked to perfection.

The Valencia roll, tuna, avocado, and cucumber was delicate and fresh and topped with a spicy and tantalizing salsa. The veggie futomaki roll was for me the surprise star of the evening, with its smoky wood flavor of the gobo and shiso, it complimented the other vegetables without flaw.

There are a lot of sushi restaurants in San Francisco. I’ve tried more than I care to count and Kiji always comes out in the top two or three of my go-to spots. If you’re in the Mission, stop by, it’s worth the trip.

Online at: http://www.kijisushi.com
Reservations Accepted: Yes via OpenTable

Food: 5 Paws
Service: 5 Paws

Overall Score

Rating 5 Paw

With love from my dog bowl to yours….Happy eating.

Shata

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.