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Best Steakhouse San Francisco 2005 -

C&L

1250 Jones (at Clay), 771-5400, www.cl-steak.com

The menu here is a little tricky (starters, steaks, vegetables, and desserts each inspired by one of eight cities), but what inspires us in a steakhouse is its meat, and C&L serves some of the best we've ever had: pure cornfed beef from Painted Hills Natural Beef in Fossil, Ore. It's so delicious that we ask to have the sauces (such as the campfire bean that comes with the Denver rib-eye, or the fresh herb vinaigrette with the San Francisco petit filet) served on the side. As is true of many steakhouses, C&L is a swell place to take a vegetarian, who can feast on thin herb-dusted pommes frites with a black pepper mayonnaise, "mini" twice-baked potatoes rich with crème fraîche, grilled baby bok choy in a garlic vinaigrette, creamed spinach with nutmeg and Parmesan, cheddar grits with Vidalia onion bouillon, a sweet potato gratin with ginger and pecan praline, glazed carrots in lemon cream, and a wild mushroom fricassee with sage and brown butter. Don't miss the freshly made popovers.

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