Saturday, September 05, 2009

Working through the three dozen

A few morsels from the pleasant task of eating our way through the list of more than three dozen restaurants along and near Fillmore Street in our San Francisco neighborhood.

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Does anything surpass the mini-baguette sandwiches at La Boulange on Pine Street? OK, the full-sized baguettes themselves, but for a light lunch, go for a mini.

The BLTs we had at mid-day on Friday came straight from the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: They were just right!

The baguette itself had the perfect crust. The tomatoes were fresh and lettuce crisp. And what substance on Earth beats bacon for flavor?

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An encounter with Charles Phan in the mist late Saturday afternoon secured a first-person status report on his newest Out the Door restaurant location.

Phan said the much-awaited eatery at 2232 Bush St. will open in "a month" in the storefront on which he has been working for quite a while.

Seeing my reaction, Phan piqued the anticipation by adding: "We will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner."

We knew that, but hearing it from Phan himself made it real.

What will the genius behind the acclaimed Slanted Door offer for breakfast, Vietnamese style?

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Many say Massimo, and not the Italian food from his kitchen, is the show at Via Veneto, 2244 Fillmore St. We have had better Italian right in the neighborhood, but Via Veneto was good enough that we will return.

Our first experience was for Saturday lunch, a time quiet enough for good conversation and a relaxing meal. The grilled salmon at the center of the seafood salad special was cooked just right, retaining its moistness and flavor. The prosciutto in the focaccia was sweet and savory, just the way it should be.

The server was attentive without hovering. We'll be back, having eyed the lengthy list of pasta selections and being easy marks for a well-made alfredo sauce. That will be the true test for us.

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