There are plenty of restaurants in the City serving great fried chicken, but very few offer a full bar with a decent whiskey selection. Sure, beer pairs well, but we believe that whiskey is a better choice to imbibe with the crispy poultry. After all, it is the other Southern staple and is a lot less filling. Whiskey’s higher alcoholic content also helps to cut down the fat. A natural pairing together, fried chicken can also help ward off the hangovers from too much whiskey. Don’t believe us? Try it yourself at one of these places. Hard Water | Pier 3, The Embarcadero It’s hard to say whether the whiskey or the chicken is the draw for this tiny 1000 square foot waterfront restaurant, owned by The Slanted Door’s Charles Phan, specializing in whiskey and Southern food. More than 150 different bottles of whiskey (many of them premium and hard to get) are available as one or two ounce pours, providing the ultimate tasting to pair with their excellent fried chicken. Three crispy, cornmeal coated pieces are served with a tasty pepper jelly, but the house-made hot sauce is our choice to spice it up. Make sure to get the fried alligator or pork cracklings to complete the fried experience. Mission Bowling Club | 3176 17th Street Three perfectly fried boneless thighs arrive suspended from skewers on a tray made from recycled bowling alley wood (pictured above). At $10, it’s a great deal; so much so that you should just go ahead and order two so no sharing is required. There are plenty of bourbon and rye choices to pair with the chicken. The background bowling noise adds a retro feel to this Mission joint. The Front Porch | 65a 29th Street Their motto is Mission Southern Hospitality, and they certainly deliver. Fried chicken comes in a single order of four pieces served in a cafeteria-style tray with mashed potatoes and collard greens (pictured above), or by the bucket of 10 pieces with some popcorn thrown in. Make sure to ask for their house-made spicy sauces to dress the crispy chicken. Bourbon is the right choice to pair with their chicken, and they have more than a few selections available. Town Hall | 342 Howard Street The fried chicken has been on the menu since day one of their decade-long existence. It’s a good thing because their version is one of the best around. A garlic, onion, and butter solution is injected to the buttermilk-soaked chicken prior to frying, adding a ton of flavor while keeping the chicken very moist. They have lots of other good Southern-inspired food on the menu, but the fried chicken is a must-order. A selection of one of the few bottles of bourbons is the right pairing with the chicken. Wayfare Tavern | 558 Sacramento Street Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence returned to the restaurant scene three years ago and more than proved that he can cook at this perennially crowded place. He recently shared the secret to his excellent moist fried chicken: slow cooking at a low temperature of 200oF prior to battering and frying. The chicken is accompanied by fried garlic cloves and topped with fried herbs (sage and thyme), and the best way to eat a piece is with a squeeze of lemon supplied with the dish. The dish (pictured above) is fairly large with 5 pieces, so plan on sharing and ordering a side of mac and cheese to complete the meal. It’s a tavern, so the selection of whiskeys is great, as befits the gentlemen’s club atmosphere.Read More
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San Francisco has a large variety of vegan restaurant options, and many restaurants that aren't 100% vegan will offer one or two vegan dishes on the menu. Gracias Madre (organic vegan Mexican), Herbivore (vegan comfort food), Cha-Ya (vegan Japanese), and Loving Hut (vegan Asian fast food) are all great options for plant-based meals. But one restaurant in SF stands out among the rest as the only fine-dining vegan restaurant in the city. Millennium Restaurant creates a gourmet dining experience out of vegan, healthy and environmentally friendly foods. They strive to make vegan dining fun and exciting, and their cuisine is influenced by the flavors and styles of many cultures. Their menu changes seasonally, which makes it easy to visit multiple times but never eat the same thing twice. Located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, the restaurant has a fantastic design, combining eco-friendly ideas with those reminiscent of a French bistro. It's the perfect balance of upscale chic and an inviting atmosphere. Sample dishes include: an Indian Spiced Red Lentil Soup infused with warm spices and a dash of coconut milk on top; the Black Bean Torte made with a whole wheat tortilla, caramelized plantains, smoky black bean puree, pumpkin-habanero papazul, cashew sour cream, and strawberry salsa; an Indian Spiced Potato cake with cardamom scented grilled eggplant puree, chestnut lima bean coconut saag, tamarind-tomato chutney, pickled fennel, and a cherry tomato salad; and the Peach and Pecan Glazed Tempeh with a peach and molasses glaze, a seared white corn grits cake, roasted green chile cashew cheese, seared broccoli rapini, a peach-ginger chutney, and pickled okra. Desserts are equally fantastic, with vegan cakes, ice cream, and cookies, to name a few. Their wine list is also vegan and organic - not to be missed! And while Millennium is an all-vegan restaurant, their dishes are so hearty that it's likely meat-eaters will be satisfied eating there as well!Read More
The San Francisco Peninsula and South Bay, with their strong Japanese populations, have long had a multitude of sushi and izakaya (small plates) restaurants; but the last two years have brought even more Japanese eateries to San Francisco. Many serve traditional Japanese plates such as edamame, kushiyaki (skewered grilled items), karaage (marinated fried chicken) and udon or ramen soups along with sushi and sashimi. The Mission already has its share: Minako, Blowfish, Cha-Ya (vegetarian), Nihon Whiskey Lounge, Ken Ken Ramen and Nombe, to name a few. But the three newcomers below have made this neighborhood a destination for an authentic Japanese dining experience. Is the Mission turning Japanese? We really think so. Maruya (2931 16th Street) Opened last October, Maruya is the newest fine dining Japanese establishment in the Mission. Chef/Owner Masa-san (Masaki Sasaki) and Executive Chef Hide-san (Hidebumi Sueyoshi) hold court behind the case-less cypress bar that centers the tranquil, wood-paneled restaurant. Both chefs have extensive experience with stints in Tokyo, New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, garnering four-star reviews along the way. Top quality pristine ingredients are featured in the raw fish and cooked items, many with minimalist Japanese sensibilities of showcasing the primary component in a beautiful presentation. Do yourself a favor and let the chefs guide you through the experience. Sit back, relax and enjoy the Omakase (chef’s choice) menu by Masa-san, which includes a mixture of cooked and sushi items (including an amazing dashi-poached tomato). Or, go with Hide-san’s sushi-centric menu where each piece is properly seasoned and served one piece at a time on top of a ti leaf (no soy sauce necessary here). With seating for only 25, it would be wise to make reservations in advance. Izakaya Yuzuki (598 Guerrero Street) Upon being seated you will notice that there are no soy sauce bottles to be found anywhere on the tables. That is because Chef Takashi Saito makes sure that each dish has enough umami flavor by preparing most of the food using “koji,” made from fermented cultured grain or soybean generally used to make sake, miso and soy sauce. Open since 2011, Saito-san may have started the koji trend since it is now a common ingredient at many restaurants across the US, including nearby Bar Tartine. There are many plates to choose from, including otsumami (snack), grilled and crispy items. Each one of the dishes is carefully prepared, flavorful and beautifully presented. Ramen Izakaya Goku (3232 16th Street) San Mateo’s Shabuway team is on a tear moving northward and invading the City. They have exclusive rights to operate US outposts of Men-Oh Ramen from Tokushima, Japan which is expanding outwards from the first one opened in the Inner Richmond, right next door to Shabuway. They also opened Waraku Ramen in Japantown. They could have brought Men-Oh or Waraku to the Mission, but they opened Goku instead. The ramen offering between the three are all distinctly different, and Goku’s is a selection of five types, including an interesting clam and garlic version. Several izakaya tapas-style small plates such as wasabi fries, grilled squid or fried shrimp with chili sauce are also available. With no reservations taken, there can be a wait on busy evenings for their reasonably priced Japanese fare, but take note that they are open for lunch on weekends.Read More
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