Lunch at Fog City Diner, San Francisco

by foodhoe on October 8, 2008

1300 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA | 415.982.2000 | website

This aptly named restaurant sits along the stretch of Embarcadero between the Ferry building and Fisherman’s Wharf, walking distance to the pier where huge cruise ships come into port releasing busloads of tourists clutching pocketbooks and cameras.  Fortunately we are on the far side of the street, the non-pedestrian side, where we feel protected with the mass of of the financial district behind us.  JT organized a lunch with Sarah and Andy and their little guy Isaac, who seems eager to explore the world as a mature 6 week old boy.

The interior is shiny and sleek with polished wood and brass fittings that form plush leather lined booths with elegant dim lighting.  It was designed by Pat Kuleto who is famous for his work on Boulevard Restaurant, Farallon, Jardiniere, Waterbar, Epic Roasthouse and Nicks Cove.  It’s swanky and it knows it.  We were seated at a booth sporting a brass nameplate for former Mayor Willie Brown.  What does this mean I worried?  If he shows up, do we have to move?

Fortunately, he did not arrive and we dined in his personal booth in a somewhat secluded far end of the long restaurant where we could watch the food coming out of the kitchen.  This is my favorite spot in any restaurant because I like to ogle the food.  Yes, I am a foodhoe…

Once JT saw the Amazing Truffle Fries with Asiago ($8.95) on the menu, she was smitten and so we enjoyed this big pile o’ taters fresh out of the fryer.  They glistened with a layer of truffle oil and lightly dusted with shaved tendrils of asiago cheese and fresh herbs.  The aromas coming off of this plate were outrageous… I get weepy just thinking about it.

Another item on the menu jumped out at both Sarah and Andy, so we enjoyed an order of Farmhouse Cheddar Biscuits ($4.50).  I’m a biscuit lover and these were flaky and buttery and a little rubbery from the delicious addition of sharp cheddar cheese… these were so rich that I didn’t even think about slathering on butter, which is my normal behavior around hot steaming biscuits!

My initial craving was for a burger, but they had a few different options that had me in a quandry… a good old fashioned cheeseburger, the daily special was a veggie burger, or the buffalo burger?  I had eaten a bison burger a couple of years ago when we were in South Dakota, but didn’t remember much about it and decided to bust out and go for the $17.95 buffalo burger.  They dropped off a fine assortment of condiments for my dining pleasure…

So about that $18 Buffalo Burger…  It arrived cooked medium as I requested with a light pink inside and charred nicely with a chewy crust outside.

The gamey meat was topped with a thin slice of tangy and acidic Humboldt Fog goat cheese along with a handful of bitter wild arugula that combined with a jarring dissonance much to my dismay.  Everything was wrong and it ruffled my feathers to be frank.  Perhaps it was an exercise in pushing the limits of the burger gone bad. I’d much prefer a burger from In-N-Out to something like this.  Just looking at the picture, I feel like making blech and splooey sounds…

It came with a nice pile of wedge-cut fries that like the truffle fries, were coated with fresh cut herbs and paper thin shreds of asiago cheese.  I was about fried out by this time in the meal but they were quite good dipped into the spicy chipotle aioli.

Sarah had the World Famous Red Curry Mussel Stew ($12.95) that had a rich coconut curry broth and was dramatically garnished with a handful of crisp beansprouts and two pieces of grilled bread to sop up the delicious stew.

JT had the Macaroni and Gouda Cheese ($9.90) that had a crunchy panko breadcrumb crust and was full of fresh peas and chunks of ham.  It was more like a creamy alfredo sauce and not very cheesy…

Andy?  Well, he ordered the Herb Seared Ahi with Garlic Aioli ($12.95) which came with even more fries that went untouched.  The presentation was more like bruschetta, and was served open faced which meant it was served on two half slices of bread…  Not much food for a growing young man.

Well, for sure I would go back for those Amazing Truffled Fries!  Besides that, there were some hits and misses, and now I know that I am not a buffalo burger fan.  But that makes me want to go back for a regular cheeseburger just to make sure – in fact it’s my duty…

Fog City Diner on Urbanspoon

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Passionate Eater October 8, 2008 at 7:31 pm

They need to have a brass nameplate and booth just for you Foodhoe! Wow, this post definitely makes one miss the Fog City. I’ve never dined at the Diner, but I will have to do so after reading this post.

Passionate Eaters last blog post..Wham, Bam, Ala-Kazam at Emeril’s Nola


Rosa October 8, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Those fries look incredibly good! A nice little place!



Rosas last blog post..VANILLA & LEMON CUPCAKES


grace October 9, 2008 at 8:49 am

cheese fries, cheese biscuits, mac & cheese. sounds a bit like heaven. 🙂

graces last blog post..enough already!


foodhoe October 9, 2008 at 10:17 am

PE, oh if only I did have my very own booth…
Rosa, those fries were the best of all
grace, yes heavenly indeed


Kirk October 10, 2008 at 9:42 am

Hi FH – While reading this, my thoughts were the same as PE’s…..without a doubt you should have your own booth, and brass nameplate…I can see it now: “Where the FoodHoe Crows!” ;o)

Kirks last blog post..Clearing Out the Memory Card – Revisits to, Pho King, Sab-E-Lee, Tita’s Kitchenette, Okan, Ba Ren, & one more. Plus some Vien Dong Linda Vista rumors.


Single Guy Chef October 10, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Wow, lunching with the power brokers now, huh? I wonder if the burger got thrown off by the cheese. Can imagine the arugula doing much to change the taste. Anywho, Fog City Diner used to be so quintessential San Francisco. I can’t believe it’s still around. Must be all the fried goods. 🙂

Single Guy Chefs last blog post..Helado … the Afternoon Meal


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