Best Pre-Opera and Symphony Dinner - 2006
Hayes Street Grill
There are a lot of restaurants high and low clinging to the streets near the Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall that are dependent on the culture crowd chowing down right before curtain time. The Hayes Street Grill shines on these occasions, for several reasons: its no-nonsense décor, its excellent food (focusing on seasonal fresh fish, though there are always several grilled meat and fowl dishes, too), and most of all its savvy staff, who are practiced in getting you in and out and well-fed in between, without making anyone feel rushed. How about Hog Island oysters or crab and avocado salad with Green Goddess dressing to start, followed by Fort Bragg petrale sole with green garlic, king trumpet mushrooms, and new potatoes, or Estancia grass-fed steak with mustard butter, balsamic onions, and french fries, and maybe a hot fudge sundae with toasted pecans and then, only two blocks away, Mahler conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, or Mark Morris' ballet Sylvia? It's no wonder that ticket holders book their dinners here months in advance.