Potrero Hill -- anything interesting?

My son’s living there now and though the neighborhood seems very nice, the food I’ve tried so far has been a tad bland and overpriced. I hope I’m wrong. From Hazel’s kitchen, I had a rare roast beef with Swiss and horseradish mayo sandwich. Good quality ingredients, but not really worth 8.95. They were out of dutch crunch and the sliced sourdough didn’t seem very fresh. My burrito from Papito was big and expensive and nothing special. Maybe there are hidden gems on these menus?

What about other places? The Vietnamese restaurant? The pizza at Goat Hill doesn’t look great (or at least not to my taste), though my son and his roommates have had takeout a couple times. What about the Peruvian place? Any tips at all?

Breakfast at Plow. Skool is fairly good. I’m in the Potrero neighborhood almost every day, and nothing else there is all that exciting. Best to venture to Dogpatch. $8.95 may seem high for a sandwich, but that is pretty standard (or even low).


Goat Hill, meh.

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Had two meals this Sunday. One thing I noticed is that the higher end places all had 25-30 minute waits, while the more modest places had tables available. Maybe because the food isn’t all that good? Anyway, looked at Plow’s brunch menu (4.50 biscuit!), but didn’t want to wait, so we had lunch at Sunflower. I had the Vietnamese crepe, because it was new to me. It was fine, not greasy, a bit bland. Once was enough. The chicken curry I tasted was just okay, though the vegetables seemed fresh and well-cooked. Dinner (after fun with Ikea furniture), at Goat Hill Pizza: I had low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. (Had the Portuguese: linguica, green onions, black olives and lots of garlic.) The crust was less doughy than I feared and the tomato sauce nicely flavored. The place was full of families. Who says there are no kids in SF? And, again, no wait.

The neighborhood suffers from Upscale Demographic Syndrome: everything’s relatively expensive and any foreign cuisine (even French!) is Americanized. The Thai barbecue place was good but moved. Goat Hill is edible but there’s so much better pizza in town.

Skool is good. Mochica was good at its old location, try the halibut tiraditos.

There are lots of families with young kids in SF. Potrero Hill’s one of the boring middle-class areas where they like to live.

Six of us had dinner at Aperto on Sunday. To start we shared the arancini, mozzarella and pesto, smoked salsa rossa, and an order of the handcrafted burrata, sweet onions, broccoli rabe with grilled bread. The food didn’t seem dumbed-down, just fairly mild, with high-quality ingredients.

I had the seared tuna with chanterelles and fresh shelling beans, dabbed with pesto. It was simple, maybe under-spiced, but fine. The tuna was almost dry, but the beans were great. My son’s pasta special – cider-glazed pork and roasted tomatoes – was more interesting, and my husband’s red wine braised beef short ribs, cipollini and chicories on creamy polenta was delicious, leading me to think that they do long-cooked meat well here. (Unlike at the Rendez-Vous cafe on Solano. The daube I had there recently didn’t seem to have cooked long enough to develop flavor.) Didn’t try the other dishes, but my mom’s mussels looked good.

Olive oil cake was sort of bland, but that’s the style, I suppose. Didn’t taste the other desserts.

Service was excellent. The place was about 2/3 full and not too noisy. (No kids – not that I mind. Just noting.)

Wasn’t a bit like the overly cheesy, salty, creamy food at Cugini on Solano. Talk about Upscale Demographic Syndrome!

What is Upscale Demographic Syndrome?

I think your description of Aperto fair and matches my many dinners there in the late 90’s. Some places don’t change much, and that’s a good thing.

Dat Spot: this is a tiny place, mostly a counter, with a couple of tables near the door. It was cozy on a cold night. The owner was very friendly, almost to the point of being manic.

We had the rotisserie chicken ($26). It was a pretty small bird, but nicely flavored. It came with two sauces and two sides. The potato wedges were nothing special, but the “carnival corn” was tasty: two pieces of corn on the cob rolled in mayo, cheese and chile. For the sauces we chose the mustard (basically a thick vinaigrette) and the chimichurri (great). Again, the prices in this neighborhood are bit high for my West Berkeley sensibility. I doubt I’ll get the chicken again, but I’ll probably try more of the menu.

One last note: it feels a bit weird to eat this not-terribly-healthful food under a mural of a bloated Uncle Sam clutching a chicken leg, especially since all the guys working there are so skinny.