Scoma’s Rules

When i moved into my new place a month and a half ago, i immediately discovered that if you set the lock on the door handle and just let the door close, the bolt doesn’t catch, but if you push the door from the inside or pull the handle from the outside you get a satisfying kerchunk, the sound of a prison-grade bolt slamming solidly to.  Ahh, safety.

But yesterday i returned home and inadvertently pushed on the door as i went to unlock it, and the door swung open.  What?  So i did some tests, and yes, something is clicking loudly in there when you pull the door closed, but even though the handle won’t move, the door can be just pushed open.

For the last six weeks.

To get the door to actually lock, you have to slam it hard.  So what i learned from this is that nobody in the building is going around testing doors.  Well, either that or they took a quick look and saw there was nothing worth taking.

But that’s not why i’m writing, since the plan here is to provide some culinary updates.

First, some bad news:  that nicely decorated new Krua Thai place on 16th Street is handsome and has a fascinating menu, but unfortunately the food lacks excitement and is not even close to the fine fare at either of Basil’s locations on Folsom Street.  That said, the menu is so beguiling that i feel like i ought to give it a second chance, but not until i’ve worked my way through all four menus at Basil.

More bad news is that i finally got around to eating for the first time in decades at that wonderfully funky old diner across the street, It’s Tops.  It isn’t.  Well, at least the hamburger isn’t and i cannot imagine how anyone with taste buds could have voted it Best Burger.  The one at Burgermeister, on Church across the street from Safeway, is not only cheaper, bigger, and much better but also comes without the french fries, which were not all that good at It’s Tops although of course i ate every damn one, being so starved for potatoes. Still, i’ll try the breakfast at It’s Tops, as i recall that being pretty good many years ago.  Hold the hash browns.

The good news is that Scoma’s, on Pier 47 at the foot of Taylor Street, remains as good as ever even though i didn’t know anyone who’d eaten there in the last thirty years.  After the Ai Weiwei show my friend Stephen suggested that we eat there, and to be a good sport i damned it with faint praise and went along.

To my surprise, the food was delicious.  And yes, it’s a little pricey, but the portions are enormous, so you get two meals for the price of one.  Also, you do not need to order an appetizer since the entrees are so large.  For that matter, the fried calamari appetizer, very tender and tasty although not crisp, was large enough to be a meal in itself.

I tried Stephen’s cioppino and found the broth very good although not quite as fine as the divine version at Anchor Oyster Bar.   For my dinner i ordered a lobster, shrimp, and scallop linguini in a cream sauce that was so delicious i could have killed myself by trying to eat it all, a dish so fine that it makes me want to go back there just to try some of the other offerings although i know very well i’ll order that dish on my next visit.

Go.  Soon.  It’s better than you remembered.

And OK, totally off topic, but a design feature at Alcatraz that i found fascinating was all the spiral staircases, inside and out.  See, i grew up in an environment in which there were very few buildings over one story tall, and nothing had a basement, so i was starved for stairs and went into a rapture the first time i saw a spiral staircase.

spiral staircase at Alcatraz


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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 10 January 2015 at 06:30 | Permalink

    Stunning photo.

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 30 January 2015 at 11:38 | Permalink

      Sorry for the late reply. WordPress has stopped sending me emails when someone submits a comment. But glad you liked the photo as i sure do enjoy taking them.

  2. Charlie
    Posted 10 January 2015 at 13:52 | Permalink

    do you know why Scoma’s/Sausalito is closed?

    • Matte Gray
      Posted 30 January 2015 at 11:40 | Permalink

      Sorry for the late response. WordPress has stopped sending me emails notifying me of new comments. Alas, i get over to Sausolito so seldom now that i hadn’t even noticed that the Scoma’s there had closed. Probably had something to do with real estate costs there on Bridgeway.

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