1701 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410937.788109 -122.426918
Tue-Sun 5:30 - 10:00
Neighborhoods: Central North, Lower Pacific Heights (Fillmore), Lower Pacific Heights
Foodie with an Attitude – For our third anniversary, John and I went to Baker and Banker in Pacific Heights. We live one block from the restaurant and I pass it everyday on my way home from the bus so I was super excited to try it. The restaurant is small and seats about 50 people. Its classic old school Pacific Heights, with dark wood and snooty patrons. We might have been the youngest people in the restaurant, so its not the hip and happening spot I had hoped for. Its more of a place you take your wealthy aunt and uncle from out of town.
Happily, we were seated right away. The only problem is that the two tops are all in a row on the left side of the restaurant and closely spaced together. I could have easily joined in on the conversations around us. In classic Pacific Heights fashion the table of two ladies to our right were complaining about their son's boarding schools. Oh heavens! And the table to our left were giving each other the judging eye at our lack of foodie knowledge. Our server promptly greeted us and took our drink order. She proceeded to explain the appetizer special of an Italian white truffle dish which 'the chef had procured' for a banging $40. At this point she pretty much lost John with her floral explanations of the food and I was soon to follow.
I ordered the Panko Crusted Hama Hama Oysters for an appetizer and John ordered the Braised Monterey Bay Calamari. Both were OK, even though the oysters were beautifully plated, I wasn't impressed with the flavors nor was I impressed with the calamari which reminded me more of a tomato soup with calamari than a proper appetizer. We both ordered the Housemade Pappardelle with Braised Short Ribs for our entree. The entrees were delicious but I would have rather the short ribs not be shredded but more larger solid pieces.
One aspect of the restaurant that I was disappointed in was the service. I would have liked to see the team work together rather than everyone have distinct roles in the restaurant. At one point, our appetizer plates had yet to be cleared after we had been finished for over 5 minutes. Our server came by and asked how it was, but never took our plates, the maitre d' came by and said hello but still no plates cleared. I watched as the bus boy systematically went around the restaurant as the servers and other staff did nothing to assist. I worked in the restaurant industry for many years and understand how you have your duties in the restaurant but to stick to your server role and not clear a dish is completely unacceptable to me and makes me feel like there is social stratification at work here. The staff of the restaurant should work together not in parallel or against each other. In all I give the restaurant 3 stars for being beautifully decorated and for the food. I would have given the restaurant 4 stars had the service been better.
For more reviews check out my blog at: www.alicestadertravels.blogspot
Quality Dining Experience – In the old Quince location, this bistro styled eatery is a must try. I have had the pleasure of dining here three times over the past seven months and it gets better with each visit. The fresh innovative tastes, the attentive wait staff, the value for the level of excellant cuisine. The breads and desserts are over the top delicious. Bravo to this place-keep up the good eats
Best new SF retsuarant – I went to Baker and Banker for my birthday and I LOVED IT! The service was friendly, polite and not overbearing. The waitress was knowledgeable about the food when I debated over what to order. She also recommended a great wine. The food was to die for! I started with the smoked trout appetizer, which is a must order. I would literally eat this every day for lunch if I could. I got the monkish entrée and it was also very delicious. The chorizo was a nice touch. The pastry chef owner was nice enough to come over and wish me a happy birthday and even sent over a few complimentary side dishes. For dessert we ordered the bananas foster and the chocolate chip cookies were just perfect. I totally understand why this place is on the Chronicle’s top restaurant list.
Citysearch Editorial Review – In the former Quince space in Pacific Heights, Baker and Banker is a charming bistro from Jeff Banker (once exec chef of Home) and the Lori Baker (an aptly named pastry chef formerly of Fifth Floor). The cozy dining room has a gastro pub feel, with cushy leather booths underneath beer list-scrawled blackboards surrounding a few four tops in the center, and there really isn't a bad seat in the house. The menu is eclectic (cauliflower soup with Vadouvan curry, almonds; house smoked trout, celery root latke, horseradish crème fraîche, pickled beets, shaved fennel; seared black bass, Thai shellfish risotto, herb salad, crispy shallots) but solid, if perhaps a tad overpriced--but then again, this is Pacific Heights. The desserts are inventive (Chantenay carrot cake, kumquats, rum soaked currants, cashew brittle cream cheese ice cream) and the wine list has several lovely bottles for about $30, which evens things out a bit.
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