By Mollie McWilliams
By Molly Gore
By Pete Kane
By Pete Kane
By Anna Roth
By Alex Hochman
By Joseph Geha
By Anna Roth
Barrie's Angus fillet of beef in a port--foie gras sauce answered the question with a maybe: The beef itself was savory, tender, and cooked to perfection, and a side of truffled potatoes in a tower of onion rings proved adequate, but the sauce tasted remarkably like nothing whatsoever. My entree -- a thick, juicy double-cut pork chop -- achieved similarly spotty results. I liked the firm, moist pork and the side of potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, but was entirely perplexed at the unusual graininess of my deep-fried "potato" wheel until I realized it was actually polenta.
The dessert that came with Barrie's tasting menu proved even more confusing -- in fact, no one could tell us what it was. Our waiter had no idea. A passing hostess gave it a once-over, shrugged, then went about her business. A perusal of the dessert menu revealed nothing that corresponded even vaguely to our creamy, cylindrical, mousselike cake suffused with an overwhelming taste of licorice. I've had better desserts on airplanes. A scoop of smooth, rich, vanilla gelato with a handful of raspberries on the side took us to a far better place, but a second handful of entirely flavorless blueberries made us wonder if Boys Toys had somehow found a way to lure the taste out of fruit.
San Francisco, CA 94133-4515
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Maker's Mark Manhattan $8
Seafood sampler platter $18
Warm spinach salad $9
Mixed baby greens $7
Double-cut pork chop $21
Grilled Angus fillet of beef $28
Five-course tasting menu $56
On a brighter note, our bill was accompanied by a handful of free passes to the larger club downstairs. After sauntering along a hallway decorated with holographic images of Playboy Playmates and (a strange touch) items such as the Quiet Power Tie Rack and the Ionic Breeze Mini Air Purifier from the Sharper Image, we found ourselves in a bigger, brighter Boys Toys with not one but two stages, a veritable ass-shaking jamboree. Folks -- mostly men -- drank, chatted, and (presumably) enjoyed their hands-off lap dances as Barrie and I sipped cocktails and took it all in. Finally, a tall blond woman offered us a private dance, but since she wasn't really our type, we declined.
And then came the strip club moment: As a middle-aged, ponytailed fellow slid a few bills into the G-string of one of the women onstage, the look on her face was one of utter boredom. Hell, if I were in a similar position to hers (a disturbing image), it would take more than a few bucks to make me smile, too.
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