Northside SF  

The Tablehopper
Lobster rolls on Fillmore, where to eat on the cheap
By Marcia Gagliardi

I know plenty of Pac Heights residents are happy with all the good eats that continue to come to Fillmore Street. Now open is the second location of Woodhouse Fish Co. (1914 Fillmore Street, 415-437-2722). To recap, the chef is Jon Hearnsberger, who was previously at the Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro for six years. This second Woodhouse location is in the former Toraya spot – and for you history buffs, it was actually a Japanese fish market before the space was transformed into a restaurant 40 years ago. This location is a bit bigger (55 seats), than the Market Street location and has a Carrara marble counter with stools, wood floors, and a variety of sea-themed objets d’art and design elements. The menu features Woodhouse on Market favorites, like the lobster roll, stuffed artichoke, fried Ipswich clams, chowder, and raw oysters, and is introducing West Coast seafood dishes for dinner service. There will also be some daily specials for lunch, like Alaskan halibut in parchment with red potatoes, leeks, spinach, oven-dried tomatoes, and basil butter, or Dungeness crab griddle cakes with crispy russet potatoes and green salad. Open daily.

More dining options in the neighborhood: Bushi-Tei Bistro (1581 Webster Street, 415-409-4959), the casual sister restaurant to Bushi-Tei, is now open in Japantown. It’s the same chef (Seiji Wakabayashi) doing his Franco-Japanese fusion style. A few dishes on the affordable menu include yatko (chilled tofu with marinated Spanish sardine, dried bonito flakes and tapenade); squid ink spaghetti with roasted paprika, shrimp, scallop, squid, enoki mushrooms, and shiso leaf in yuzu dashi broth; and Kurobuta pork that is thinly sliced and sauteed with parsley and caper sauce. Both lunch and dinner are served. Closed Tuesday.

Pickles (42 Columbus Avenue, 415-421-2540) in the Financial District is now serving dinner, but I thought I should clarify that chef Matthew Kerley’s menu isn’t just about hamburgers and onion rings and frozen egg custard: it also includes an Americanized version of pasta carbonara with hand-cut fresh egg pappardelle, house bacon, sweet peas, tomatoes, fine herbs, Grana Padano, and egg yolk; grilled Niman Ranch pork loin with apples and house potatoes; shrimp scampi; and chicken piccata (all $12.50–$14.50). Plus there are new hours, with dinner until 10 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday, and until 2:30 a.m. Friday–Saturday for you night owls.

So sorry to hear Cafe Majestic (1500 Sutter Street) abruptly shuttered. I spoke with publicist Susie Biehler, who said the Butterfly Bar and the historic Hotel Majestic will remain open, and the kitchen will quite possibly continue to turn out lighter fare for the bar patrons. No word on what’s next for chef Louis Maldonado, but he does have a new baby he’ll be able to see more of until he starts his next gig – stand by.

Meanwhile, Brick (1085 Sutter Street, 415-441-4232) is reinventing itself and has temporarily closed, reopening on May 1 as Fly. Co-owner Matt Sturm said Brick had a bit of an identity crisis, and never quite found its place in the neighborhood. Sturm, along with partners Leslie Shirah and Chris Cronk, decided the best course was to just change the concept altogether and keep all 18 employees. The new, affordable menu is going to be like the one at their popular bar, Fly, on Divisadero, with appetizers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and a few other additions, but nothing over $11. Happy hour will be 4:30–6:30 p.m., with drink specials and half-price pizza.

Cow Hollow has a slew of meal deals right now, including Jovino (2184 Union Street, 415-563-1853), which is offering a $9 nightly dinner. Here’s the line-up: Sundays – meatloaf and cheddar mashed potatoes; Monday – vegetable curry rice bowl; Tuesdays – chicken cacciatore and polenta; Wednesdays – lasagna (your choice of meat or veggie); Thursdays – beef stew with carrots, potatoes, and peas; Fridays – fried chicken and mashed potatoes; and Saturdays – mean spaghetti and meatballs with a glass of house vino. Yup, just $9 – hard to argue with that.

Terzo (3011 Steiner Street, 415-441-3200) is offering a Spring Wine Special Sunday through Thursday until May 31. All bottles of wine priced at $40 or less are half off for dinner guests. Since Terzo specializes in small plates, “dinner” is defined as two small plates or one large plate per person.

And Spuntino (1957 Union Street, 415-931-6410), the cheese shop offshoot from Ottimista now has their retail wine and beer license. The majority of wines are priced at $20 or less, with some for only $10, ranging from Italian wines, to French, Spanish, and California wines, and even some from Argentina, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand.

Nettie’s Crab Shack (2032 Union Street, 415-409-0300) is now offering California Casual Clambakes on Sunday nights (replacing the Crab Feeds). The family-style clambakes include a salad to start, cornbread, a pot filled with steaming hot mussels, clams, Delta crawfish, whole prawns, spicy sausage, and boiled potatoes, and whoopee pies for dessert. $35 per person, Sundays 5–10 p.m.
Looks like the fancier places are getting in on the meal deals too: Union Square’s Campton Place (340 Stockton Street, 415-781-5555) just kicked off The Stimulus Menu, a three-course nightly dinner for $45.

Marcia Gagliardi also writes a popular weekly e-column about the S.F. dining scene; subscribe for free at and get it in your inbox every Tuesday. She additionally writes for San Francisco magazine, Edible San Francisco, and the weekly SFCVB blog, Foodie 411. Got a hot tip? E-mail

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