Number 15: Leatherneck Steakhouse's Truffled Tater Tots

SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

Along with properly seared New York strips and a beautiful sea bass with chorizo and saffron-tomato butter sauce, Paul Lozito serves what must be the best steakhouse snack in San Francisco: truffled tater tots.

The name suggests dude food. (What? They're not stuffed with bacon and beer?) But where the real thing are granular, dense, oil-slicked nuggets, Lozito's are more classically known as pommes dauphine — pâte à choux dough blended with mashed potato and piped into long, ridged cylinders. They come out of the fryer with a crisp golden shell, and inside, a smooth potato purée. There's a suggestion of truffle oil's rutting-season musk to the tots, but not so much that you have to keep your distance from the bowl. (Quite the opposite.) They're designed for dipping into the steak sauce and soaking up beef juices, but you may find yourself neglecting your $30 steak in favor of the so-called side dish.

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