Teppanyaki chefs twirl their knives and ignite towers of flame while cooking meals tableside inside Hana Japan Steak & Seafood. They slice new york steaks, chicken, and salmon and toss scallops onto the grill alongside chopped veggies and mounds of rice, all without ruffling their tomato-red toques. Each hibachi dinner comes with a shrimp appetizer, a bowl of soup, and a salad with organic Hana dressing imported from the organic part of Japan.
Imagine Affairs revitalizes the classic murder-mystery template with current-day touches: Scenarios reference the modern nightclub in which the audience and actors gather, and cases are cracked by CSI-style cops, not Holmesian detectives or omniscient robots. Meanwhile, the actors leaven the dire situation with doses of improv comedy and audience interaction, which lets guests become as entangled in plot twists as they want.
As a youngster, Latif Lamnaouar learned classic Moroccan dishes by watching and helping his mother in the kitchen. After moving to America, the homesick Latif started cooking those meals himself, a process that reduced his homesickness and propelled his culinary aspirations. He now crafts Moroccan specialties at Lateeva's Cafe, from veggie sandwiches with eggplant and split pea hummus spread to lemon chicken paninis with pesto and spinach.
Before noon, Latif assembles plenty of breakfast treats, too, including wraps chock-full of eggs, hash browns, salsa, and a choice of turkey sausage or turkey bacon. Complement feasts with coffee drinks or the apple juice, strawberry, and tamarind blend of the Road to Casablanca smoothie, named for its resemblance to Humphrey Bogart's naturally fruity scent.
Eat an endless parade of succulent meats, salads, sides, and hot dishes at Espetus Churrascaria. With today's Groupon, $20 gets you $40 toward a prix fixe rodizio-style dinner (can't be used toward drinks or dessert) that ensures hunger's defeat at the hands of knife-wielding, meat-serving gauchos. The rodizio dinner costs $49.95, so you'll still need another $9.95 in addition to your $40 Groupon, but that's still 40% off some of the best meats in town.
A5 Wagyu Steak | Japanese-Influenced Small Plates | Expansive Wine List | Retro-Futuristic Decor
The Vibe: Semicircular, cream-colored banquettes sprawl out beneath a ceiling dome with colored recessed lighting, simultaneously evoking a lounge from both 1970 and 2070. Away from the lounge, the bar tempts guests to tell stories or laugh maniacally in front of flames flickering on a projection screen.
When to Go: Swing by for 5A5's happy hour (weekdays from 5–7 p.m.), which Travel + Leisure magazine named as one of America's best for its rotating selection of $2 bites and its cocktail of choice: the French A5, which mixes Ketel One with St. Germain elderflower liqueur and grapefruit juice.
A5: the highest grade of wagyu beef. The ranking is based on its marbling, color, texture, and firmness.
Marbling: the flecks and strips of fat in beef.
Inside Tip: For the wagyu experience without the steep price, order one of the restaurant's wagyu small bites, such as the tartare with asian pear and quail yolk or the sliders with bacon jam.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Gawk at 19th- and 20th-century European and American paintings at Montgomery Gallery (406 Jackson Street).
After: Catch a new play or some sketch comedy at The Eureka Theatre (215 Jackson Street).
“Every steak will have a handle.” That’s the guarantee that Epic Roasthouse chef and co-owner Jan Birnbaum offers with his bone-in steak policy; he subscribes to the belief that the best parts of any cut of beef are those closest to the bone. His patrons shouldn’t have any problem trusting his opinion, considering Julia Child once invited him to participate on her PBS series Master Chefs. Jan’s more than 30-year career has taken him to renowned restaurants around the country (including New York’s Quilted Giraffe and San Francisco’s award-winning Campton Place Hotel), where he has often experimented with dishes from his native New Orleans. Jan continues his momentum with Epic Roasthouse, a restaurant that’s recently been selected for nine of Gayot’s 2013 top-10 lists for San Francisco, including Top Steakhouses. The much-loved beef takes up the bulk of Epic’s dinner menu, with such cuts as petit filets and rib-eyes emerging from the kitchen one of seven ways (from Pittsburgh-style to well done). Each cut smokes in a custom-built wood-fired grill or a wood oven, absorbing the aroma of the almond and walnut that burn within them. The seasonal menu also features a nightly selection of house-cured meats, which might include duck prosciutto or braised oxtail terrine. The location lends just as much to Epic’s allure as the food. The building’s prime spot on the Embarcadero gives diners perfectly framed views of the Bay Bridge through large picture windows. The interior was designed by Pat Kuleto, a designer selected for a Time magazine list celebrating the last millennium’s Top 100 Innovators (guests might recognize his work from Jardinière or the Fog City Diner). The upstairs has a private dining space with a dedicated chef and kitchen, and there, guests can enjoy those same Bay-Bridge views from a private terrace.