Don't Cry for Me, Jeremiah
How do tourists decide where to eat? If you're a well-heeled visitor staying at one of the city's top hotels, you need go no farther than the concierge desk. And Nancy Oakes, chef/owner of Boulevard, should be very happy about that. Boulevard was the only restaurant to get the nod from concierge staffs at all four hotels contacted (anonymously) by Dish: the Fairmont, Four Seasons Clift, Campton Place and the Grand Hyatt Union Square. The request was for top California cuisine. Second-place contenders were Aqua and Postrio, with two mentions apiece. Sorry, Mr. Tower, only one for Stars.
Go Tell Hitchcock
Am I the only one who wonders why the much-ballyhooed Vertigo, located in the Transamerica Pyramid, is on the ground floor? “You look up,” our incredibly adorable waiter explained. I must be missing something.
The Terrorist Ate Here
Two things lured me into Gourmet Carousel the other night: It was on my route home and there was a parking space right out front. The place was packed. After eavesdropping on the guys at the next table, I realized this was the focal point of that crazed-madman shooting spree on Franklin and Pine last year, a fact that was being used as a sort of “humorous” date anecdote. Proof positive of the old adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity. (P.S. The food is first-rate. Try the pea sprouts with garlic sauce and pork with eggplant.)
Rice Costs Extra
Famous TV chef Jacques Pepin gets the royal treatment from local cooks when he's in town, many of whom, like Reed Hearon of Lulu, credit him with inspiring their careers. Not so at Broadway's Yuet Lee. Pepin, feasting on salt-and-pepper squid and clams with black bean sauce, reportedly got the usual gruff, move-'em-in, move-'em-out service. It was only after several passersby came in to shake his hand that the manager came over to find out who he was. And after that it was lukewarm tea in a plastic glass just like everyone else. Pepin, by the way, is taping a two-hour special on technique (how to bone a chicken, get seeds out of a pomegranate, etc.) at KQED next month, a program that airs nationally in August.
Apologies to Fringale chef Gerald Hirigoyen. We know how to spell his last name (though we didn't last week).
By Barbara Lane