Club Car

Gold Coast

For dessert we headed upstairs to the Rod & Gun Club, an air-filtered cigar lounge that recently hosted the Financial District's version of a political rally: an event titled "Save the Cuban Cigar." In addition to the six breeds of stogie ($7.50 to $18 per), there's a small bar, a pool table, comfortable chairs, and a shabby-around-the-edges elegance, with more memorabilia -- paintings, fishing tackle, a framed 4-yard-long cigar -- adding to the ambience.

Unfortunately, the food once again failed to live up to the surroundings. The Jack Daniel's pecan pie ($4.50) came to the table so hot from overwarming it was charred on top, which was at least a culinary relief from its bland, pecan-heavy filling (you need at least a little sugary glop in any pecan pie). The coconut crème brûlée ($4.50) was, by contrast, absolutely tepid, with none of the dish's signature hot-caramel spark and an overly sweet, lumpy, seemingly cream-free crème underneath. The deep-dish apple pie ($4.50) featured overcooked, oversweetened fruit in a cardboardlike crust. The chocolate-espresso cheesecake ($4.50), on the other hand, was the best dish we ordered over the course of two visits: dense, rich, creamy, and imbued with the sort of chocolate that is thankfully available without prescription.

Gold Coast has the old-San Francisco steak n' saloon look down pat.
Anthony Pidgeon
Gold Coast has the old-San Francisco steak n' saloon look down pat.

Details

230 California (at Front), 989-6939. Lunch served Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner Monday through Friday 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: difficult. Muni: 1, 12, 41, 42, California Street cable car. Noise level: convivial

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The Gold Coast's 66-item wine list is, appropriately enough, mostly red in hue and California-oriented, ranging in price from a Christophe sauvignon blanc ($20) to Beaulieu's '68 cab ($350), with most bottles in the $20 to $40 vicinity. Answer-ing to the needs of the neighborhood, the Gold Coast's spirits arsenal is impressive: 20 single malts, 17 small-batch bourbons, 14 brandies, and 13 tequilas (including El Tesoro's Paradiso at $16 a shot), as well as a wide variety of rums, gins, vodkas, and liqueurs.

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