Best Reinvention - 2009
Sutro's at the Cliff House
Once upon a time, the Cliff House was regarded as the quintessential San Francisco tourist trap: a badly run, badly maintained place with nothing to recommend it save its matchless ocean view. But since the arrival of famed multistarred chef George Morrone, former opening chef at Aqua and Fifth Floor, there's a new excitement about dining at its upscale room, Sutro's. Morrone and co-chef Brian O'Connor have introduced a seasonal menu emphasizing local seafood, including Pacific oysters, Dungeness crab (in a luscious peppery bisque or plump crab cakes), petrale sole (roasted whole), and Penn Cove mussels (served with harissa). Morrone's famed ahi tuna tartare is a signature dish. Meat lovers can enjoy venison carpaccio, grilled beef filet, and an unusual prime rib of veal. Finish with chocolate mousse, butterscotch pot de crème, or artisanal cheeses. There's an extensive list of mostly California wines and international spirits.