Side Dish

Hissy Fits and Harangues

Mr. BitterRemember Mark Miller? The man who was supposed to show San Francisco what good food was when he opened the short-lived Loongbar? Well, Harry spotted Mr. Miller at Delfina, dining with James Ormsby, founding chef at Bruno's and executive chef at Red Herring; Miller was busy spreading his own peculiar recipe for joy to the waitstaff and his fellow diners. First, he photographed every dish (looking for inspiration, maybe?), preventing the food runner from putting cheese on the pasta until he had snapped a photo. Harry then overheard him complain that the wines on the wine list were all too young, although he did manage to suffer through two bottles. The final insult came when he discovered the restaurant doesn't take American Express. He threw a hissy fit and harangued everyone within earshot, going on and on about what terrible businesspeople proprietors Craig and Annie Stoll are, then informed the server that he was going to "take it out of your tip." He left her a miserly 10 percent. Harry can't imagine why Loongbar didn't succeed.

Chain, Chain, Chain What is going on in the Civic Center? Once upon a time, you could have a decent meal in and around Redwood Alley, when the original Stars reigned the neighborhood. Today, in addition to the McDonald's and Chevy's, you will soon find a branch of California Pizza Kitchen, similar in spirit to those in Concord and Palo Alto (not to mention Vegas, Jersey, and Guam). How nice. Now when the suburbanites make their annual trek into town to take the kiddies to The Nutcracker they won't be confused by any fine dining choices. In fact, it will be just like the mall. Isn't that super?

Bruno's ReduxJohn Varnedoe vehemently denies that his recently bought-back Bruno's restaurant is for sale again. Why do these rumors keep circulating? Harry stopped by last week on a Wednesday to check out the scene and was sorry to see a definite lack of hipsters enjoying the great food and jazz. Where have all the hipsters gone? Perhaps they're all sucking down fresh air at the new oxygen bar on Valencia, 22 O 2. Or perhaps Bruno's emptiness is just a midweek phenomenon. In any case, Harry highly recommends that you check out Bruno's music listings at, then get yourself to the club for your own dose of jazz hipness.

Dry DockYankee Pier, Bradley Ogden's latest culinary adventure, opened last week in Larkspur, just down the road from the Lark Creek Inn (and firmly on dry ground). With a changing menu put together by Bradley himself, chef/partner Jeremy Sewall, and chef de cuisine Jack Mitchell, the Pier brings the Bay Area its own headquarters for homesick New Englanders. The spread features such Northeastern specialties as classic New England clam chowder, fried Ipswich clams with orange watercress salad, whole Maine lobster, and a "Grandma's Platter" of barbecue brisket, to name a few. The above can be washed down with a hearty selection of American beers -- or, if you must be classy, you can choose from among 20 native wines, available by the glass. Of course, you'll have to drive your cah to Lahkspuh to get theah, but Harry thinks there's a little Kennedy in all of us just looking for some chowder love.

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