The Brass Door: A User’s Guide
Classic Steakhouse | Prime Rib | Cocktail Lounge | Blue Plate Specials
Prime rib: it’s their signature item, and you can get it in steak form or sandwich form, including as a French dip sandwich with au jus
From the saute station: calamari Siciliano stuffed with Dungeness crab and bay shrimp
From the fryer: deep-fried gulf prawns with steak fries and coleslaw
What To Drink: a selection from the extensive wine list, which is loaded with Livermore Valley, Napa Valley, and California wines.
It Started As: the 8/5 club. Howard “Shorty” Schlesinger opened the club in 1946, naming it after his favorite odds at the track. With space for 20 diners, this stop along Highway 21 featured steamed beer, fried chicken, and a row of nickel slot machines. In 1955, Howard relinquished the reins to his son Mick and a local milkman named Dick Basso, who renamed the spot The Brass Door. Despite several renovations and one fire, The Brass Door still retains its old-world charm, but now seats more than 200 guests.
Who’s Running Things Now: Dick Basso’s son, Danny, who took over the restaurant in 1974.
While You’re Waiting
Have a drink while hanging out in the full cocktail lounge, where eight TVs broadcast the day’s big games.
Inside Tip: There are daily blue plate specials consisting of hearty meals served at a discounted price, so be sure to check out an online listing of these daily specials before you visit.
Fun Fact: * The deep fryer operates on soybean oil and is free of trans fats.
Béarnaise: Essentially a hollandaise with different seasonings, this popular steak sauce consists of a base of emulsified butter, egg yolks, and vinegar flavored with shallots, tarragon, and pepper.
Buon appetito! Eat your heart out at Pasta Primavera Cafe, where the freshest, five-star fare will fill any Italian appetite.
Pasta Primavera Cafe serves up a wide variety of menu items, including tasty gluten-free eats.
The drink list at this restaurant has everything you need to complete your meal (and your night out).
Little ones are just as welcome as their parents at this restaurant.
For weekday specials that hit the spot, head to Pasta Primavera Cafe's happy hour.
At Pasta Primavera Cafe, there's no need to confine your meal to a traditional dining room — outdoor seating is available when the weather is warm.
Tap into the free wireless Internet at Pasta Primavera Cafe.
Take advantage of the restaurant's reservation system, and book a table for your party.
At Pasta Primavera Cafe, business casual is the norm, so save your suit and tie for another day.
For the tastes of Pasta Primavera Cafe from the comfort of your next party, the restaurant also offers catering services.
This restaurant offers carryout for your convenience.
Pasta Primavera Cafe's diners will appreciate the free parking in a lot next door.
Cyclists will love the spacious bike racks outside of Pasta Primavera Cafe.
You'll typically spend about $30 per person to dine at Pasta Primavera Cafe, so plan your budget accordingly.
Reviewers rave about the dinner menu at the restaurant, though breakfast and lunch are also served.
Pasta Primavera Cafe is the place to go if you're looking for quality and highly-rated Italian food.
You don't need a plane ticket to experience all the best flavors of Italy. They're all under one roof at Pasta Primavera Cafe.
For fast food in San Ramon's San Ramon neighborhood, check out the burger menu at McDonald's.
Whether rocking a gluten-free lifestyle or looking for something low-fat, this place will serve you just what you need.
Don't stay cooped up on a beautiful summer day! At McDonald's, you can dine outdoors on their lovely patio.
Your group can sit comfortably at McDonald's, a local restaurant.
McDonald's offers a free wifi hot spot — perfect for surfing the web or getting a little work done.
With the booming music and energetic crowds, this restaurant can get downright loud.
Wear what you like when you dine at McDonald's — the restaurant has a chill vibe just right for casual dining.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your meal or snack to go.
The free parking lot next door is a steal for those dining at McDonald's.
If your preferred mode of transit is of the two wheel variety, you're in luck — there's tons of bike parking outside the restaurant.
We know your wallet needs to last the whole night. That's why our food is priced under $15.
Eat your way through the day at McDonald's — diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner here.
Whether you layer on the works or prefer your burger plain, McDonald's is the spot to go for a delicious burger done in minutes.
If you're hunting for a quick and easy lunch option, check out the highly-rated McDonald's.
Katy's Korner is serving up American favorites with a tasty tweak.
Vegans love the healthy fare at Katy's Korner.
No need to splurge on a babysitter — tots will be right at home chowing down at this restaurant.
When the weather is nice, hurry to Katy's Korner to grab a spot on the patio.
If waiting to be seated isn't your style, plan ahead and make reservations.
For those who prefer to dress down for dinner, Katy's Korner's low-key style is the perfect match.
Catering from Katy's Korner will take your party to the next level.
No time to sit down? No worries! This restaurant offers a take out option so you can grab your food on the go.
Just come to us and park. No tickets, no fees, just a free convenient parking lot from us to you.
If cycling is more your speed, you'll find plenty of space to stash your bike outside the restaurant.
It will typically cost you about $30 to enjoy a meal at Katy's Korner.
The breakfast menu at the restaurant draws rave reviews, though you can also stop by for lunch or dinner.
Indulge in all of your favorite American classics with a trip to the definitive standard in town at Katy's Korner.
For a classic American dish, head over to the casual establishment of Katy's Korner.
So take your next meal to the next level and indulge in some great American eats at the highly-rated Katy's Korner.
A relaxed establishment in San Ramon, Chevys Fresh Mex's tacos, burritos, tamales and more will certainly appease your appetite.
Find the perfect vintage to complement your meal — this restaurant offers a fine selection of wines, beers, and beyond.
This restaurant is a terrific spot for families to gather with its kid-friendly ambience and menu.
Make those early evening hours happy ones and swing by for some discounted food and drink deals after work.
Summer meals will taste even better when you enjoy them on Chevys Fresh Mex's gorgeous patio.
Chevys Fresh Mex is a great location to host a group dinner.
Crowds tend to pack the place on weekends, so call ahead to reserve a table.
The food's ready when you are. Come on in or carry out.
Just come to us and park. No tickets, no fees, just a free convenient parking lot from us to you.
Cyclists will love the spacious bike racks outside of Chevys Fresh Mex.
There's no need to spend a fortune on a delicious meal at Chevys Fresh Mex — most prices are under $15.
Paying with your major credit card is one payment option at Chevys Fresh Mex.
Everyone in San Ramon knows the secret to a great place for Mexican takeout is Chevys Fresh Mex.
There's no better way to celebrate Taco Tuesday than at Chevys Fresh Mex, so head on over today and chow down on some unique tacos.
Head to Imperial Delight in San Ramon and take a culinary trip to the Far East, where fine Chinese cuisine is readily available.
Enjoy a low-fat or gluten-free meal at Imperial Delight, a local favorite.
With Imperial Delight's BYOB policy, you can create your own food and beverage pairing.
Complete your meal with the perfect glass of wine or beer from this restaurant's drink list.
Let the kids come too! Little ones love the food and atmosphere at this restaurant just as much as their parents do.
Imperial Delight is a fine restaurant for those with large and small parties.
Avoid playing the waiting game and call ahead for a table.
Show up in sneakers or a suit at Imperial Delight, where dining in comfort is of utmost importance.
The restaurant has catering services as well.
This restaurant also offers delivery and carryout if you're in the mood for the restaurant's cooking but prefer to provide your own ambience.
At Imperial Delight, diners will receive complimentary parking at the lot next door.
Imperial Delight is a prime location for cyclists to park their bikes and enjoy a bite to eat.
Chow down on breakfast, lunch, or dinner fare at Imperial Delight — they're open for all three meals.
Discover the colorful, flavorful blend of Chinese cuisine at Imperial Delight today.
Most Top Chef finalists launch their restaurant careers right after their time on television ends. Not Casey Thompson—she spent seven years after season three traveling, all the while thinking hard about what she wanted in a venue. She met farmers, built relationships, and finally opened Aveline (plus its cocktail bar sibling, The European) in June. As the result of so much careful planning, the restaurant truly embodies Casey’s vision, both in the space and on the plate.
One key part of that vision? Pigs. Casey loves to use almost every part of them, including the head. In honor of Aveline’s recent launch, we asked her about her fondness for pork, her cooking philosophy, and some of her go-to spots in San Francisco.
GROUPON: One ingredient that crops up on the menus at Aveline and The European is pork. Specifically, pork from the pig’s head—pork jowl, pig cheek, pig ear. What do you like about this ingredient?
CASEY THOMPSON: In general, I love any animal that tastes good from head to toe! As a chef, it’s really beneficial for me to use different parts of an animal that might otherwise be underutilized. It keeps costs down and provides guests with the opportunity to try things they may not otherwise try.
There is a lot more marbling in these parts than you might think, and there are a variety of different textures in specific parts like the ear.
G: Do you think that pig face is trending right now?
CT: I don't know. I try not to pay too much attention to what’s “trendy.” I just want to make food that tastes good, and if it means using parts of an animal that are unfamiliar to most people and [then] educating people about them, I’m happy to do so.
G: If someone hasn't tried any part of the pig’s head, where should they start?
CT: I think a good place to start is with pig cheek—it’s rich and it braises perfectly! Confiting a pig cheek [at home] is easy. The most difficult part is probably finding the product, but your local butcher can help with that.
G: Are there other pig dishes in San Francisco that you like?
CT: The pork at Kokkari is unreal, and Namu Gaji does a pretty impressive job too!
G: Aside from cooking with pig parts, you’re also an advocate for sustainability and the environment. Where does that passion come from?
CT: I have a job that impacts the environment, and as such, I have a duty to make sure that my staff and I do all we can not to add to the overwhelming issues we’re already facing.
I am also a firm believer in good husbandry. All animals deserve to live a good life, especially if they are giving us theirs for nourishment. It’s our responsibility as humans to recognize that.
G: Some of your dishes have original ingredients with a cool, earthy vibe. I’m talking about the "ham snow" and "chicory soil" on Aveline’s menu. Can you tell us more about these?
CT: Environmental elements in a dish add interesting flavors. The chicory soil contains nori, breadcrumbs, candied cashews, and chicory—all pretty earthy, you’re right. Now, the ham snow is highly technical stuff: we freeze ham, grate it over cold amberjack, and call it snow!
G: You’re also creating the menu over at The European, your bar-and-lounge project with Adam Wilson. It seems like the snacks have more of an updated comfort-food feel. Is The European the other side of Aveline's coin?
It absolutely is! There is a secret kid side to me with that menu and, really, it’s us having fun. I do think we have the best burger—it is so good. I want people to use both spaces! Come and eat at The European!
G: To close out, can you share some of your favorite San Francisco spots to grab a bite?
For coffee: Réveille Coffee Co.
For breakfast (and guilty, greasy pleasures): San Jalisco
For lunch and dinner: Kokkari, Kin Khao
For after-hours drinks and eats: Rye, Tradition, Le Colonial
For outdoor dining: The Ferry Building, Slanted Door, Cavallo Point, Coqueta
This interview has been condensed and edited. Photos courtesy of Casey Thompson. The European photo by Andi Fisher.
When you live in a city with so much scenery, eating inside can feel a bit stifling. Here are five beautiful restaurant patios in San Francisco that allow you to order in the great outdoors.
Mission Rock Resort (817 Terry Francois Blvd.)
The restaurant group that owns South Park staples MoMo’s, Pedro’s Cantina, and Pete’s Tavern overhauled Mission Rock Resort in late 2012. Now, it’s a bayside escape with plenty of deck seating, calming ocean views, and easy parking. Try bites from the raw bar or fried seafood for lunch, brunch, or happy hour.
Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.)
The most popular tables at this Mission stalwart are in the romantic covered patio. In the evening, artsy or retro flicks are projected on the patio wall while sound can be played through drive-in–style speakers at each table. The movies, however, are a secondary draw compared to the Californian-Mediterranean food.
Waterbar (399 The Embarcadero S)
Waterbar is a perennial Top 100 restaurant, so you can bet on some memorable seafood with views of the bay, the Bay Bridge, and the Bay Lights—not to mention $1.25 oysters every day before 5:30 pm.
Bar Agricole (355 11th St.)
Opened by a collective of the city’s best bartenders and sommeliers, Bar Agricole is led by master drink maker Thad Vogler. Unsurprisingly, its cocktails are just as good as its seasonal food. The space’s award-winning design features plenty of redwood, concrete, and glass, plus a spacious patio that’s covered and heated during the winter months.
Biergarten (424 Octavia St.)
Biergarten takes its name literally—its only seating is outdoors, where all of its Bavarian-style street food is served from shipping containers converted into a kitchen and bar. Brews can be ordered by the half- or full-liter, but considering the long lines, it’s best to get the larger of the two before you squeeze into one of the communal picnic tables.
Photos courtesy of Mission Rock Resort, Foreign Cinema, Waterbar, and Bar Agricole; Biergarten photo courtesy of BarFlySF.
San Francisco is a city with many different vantage points: between the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the various eclectic neighborhoods - there are so many sights to take in!
Here are 5 restaurants with stunning views and some of the best ways to see San Francsico:
#1: Greens Restaurant. Located in a converted warehouse in Fort Mason, Greens was a pioneer in establishing vegetarian cuisine in the 80s. One entire wall has floor to ceiling windows, which is perfect for enjoying spectacular views of the SF marina, Golden Gate Bridge, and the hills of Marin. Their meals, made with locally sourced produce and enhanced by wonderful wine pairings, offer an epiphany for meat eaters and vegetarians alike.
#2: Top of the Mark. Built in 1939 and located at the top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel, this bar, lounge and restaurant offers 360 degree panoramas of the San Francisco cityscape. The menu includes an intoxicating selection of 100 martinis along with wines, beers and other spirits. They also have a three course prix-fixe dinner offered with an amuse-bouche and wine pairings.
#3: Slanted Door. A modern Vietnamese restaurant overlooking the San Francisco Bay, located in the Ferry Building and right on the waterfront, this hot spot blends Vietnamese cooking with local SF ingredients. The wine list is Riesling-driven, and other drinks include fresh squeezed juices and hard-to-find Chinese teas. All of their meat is sourced from local farms in the SF Bay Area.
#4: Waterbar. The Waterbar gives diners amazing views of the Bay Bridge while serving up top-notch seafood. Built in 1969, it was converted from a longshoremen’s bar into the restaurant it is today. A favorite among locals, businesspeople and tourists, The Waterbar will not disappoint in its views of the waterfront!
#5: Sutro’s. Located inside the famous Cliff House, Sutro’s features stunning views of the cliffs overlooking Seal Rocks, the Pacific Ocean and Marin coastline. A stylish-casual restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows, Sutro’s menu changes seasonally and is focused on the finest organic produce, fresh seafood and local ingredients that are farmed using sustainable practices.