Friday, July 6, 2012

San Francisco: San Tung & Nihon

Got some new stuff to talk about!  I haven't done much this summer in terms of food, but I did start off the summer by attending two great music festivals.  Finally, this past weekend, I traveled to San Francisco for a few friend's birthday, and of course, San Francisco is always a top destination for food!

Since I did go up mostly for birthday celebrations, I didn't really plan out what I wanted to eat, but still got to try a few popular places in SF!

San Tung
1031 Irving St
Between 11th Ave & 12th Ave
Inner Sunset
San Francisco, CA 94122

dry wings
San Tung is this super popular Chinese restaurant with over 2800+ reviews on Yelp and still maintains 4 stars!  Quite amazing.  There's always a wait so rather than heading into Inner Sunset, we ordered take out!  Talk to anybody in SF, and they'll take you that the bread & butter of San Tung is their legendary "dry" chicken wings.

Not really "dry" since it does have a sweet & savory sauce over it.  I'm sure the "dry" refers to the Chinese word "乾炒" which literally means "dry stir fry," and that loosely means frying in the wok.  By the time we got it, the skin wasn't really that crispy anymore but it was still good.  Next time, gotta go there and try the wings hot.

pork & chive
Ordered a few types of dumplings.  Pork & Chive was definitely my favorite.

pork & cabbage
Pork & Cabbage.  Nice subtly sweetness from the cabbage.

string bean
String beans, which is always a favorite dish of mine at Chinese restaurants.  At San Tung, it has a noticeably sweeter flavor to it.  There's also a good amount of preserved mustard tuber.  

combo fried rice
Combo fried rice.  For sure would've been better if we had it at the restaurant.

We also got these bigger dumplings.... I liked the other two better :P

sesame noodle
Seafood sesame noodle.  I'm a huge fan of sesame noodles, but at San Tung, it has a really sweet sesame sauce, so I wasn't a big fan of it.  They packed the noodle and sauce separately to prevent it from getting mushy.  Good call. 

black bean noodle (zhajiangmian)
Black bean noodle (zhajiangmian).  I actually liked this one... not what I am used to for zhajiangmian but I like how it is not overly salty like many places!

Glad I finally got to try San Tung, although after the meal, I have decided that I must check out the place for myself to really see if I liked the place or not.  While it is convenient that we did take out, the long drive back from one end of the city to the other probably cooled the food down so it's not as enjoyable!

After lunch, we headed towards Biergarten for some outdoor boozing.  

Cool spot but damn that loooong line just for beer.  Love the litre mugs!


Afterwards, we walked to Nihon Whisky Lounge, which is another popular place with high ratings on Yelp.  I was told they had the West Coast's biggest whisky collection, and we did have a few whisky drinkers in our group so we were pretty damn excited.

We actually went there for happy hour and during happy hour, they have many of their menu items and drinks at half off!  I did have a bit of reservation about the food at this place.  I was afraid of it being... "washed down" or fusion to suit the taste of people, and I guessed right.

Oh took these with my iPhone since I didn't have my camera at the time... so quality and lighting is gonna suck.  A lot :P

Nihon Whisky Lounge
1779 Folsom St
Between Erie St & 14th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Oimo no Tempura with mountain potato, taro, and sweet potato with a sweet & sour sauce and pink salt.  Loved the taro!  It's been awhile since I got to have fried taro.  Great tempura batter.

seared kobe
Washu Gyu no Tataki with seared US Kobe beef with yuzu sesame dressing.  There's a nice peppery crust on the Kobe.  Beautiful marbling too.

raw hanger beef
Yukke with raw US Kobe beef (hanger cut) marinated with garlic sesame soy sauce.  Probably my favorite.  It really is raw beef but that marinade is right on and even though it is a hanger cut, which usually means it is really chewy, that Kobe beef was amazingly tender.

stuffed mushroom
This was when it began to feel like the place was just... meh.  Nihon - flash fried breaded walu & tuna with sweet soy sauce & lemon aioli.  

Teba Karaage - Japanese style buffalo wings.  After eating so many wings for lunch.... definitely was not craving more wings haha.  I gotta admit, the seasoned sesame is a nice touch though.

hamachi shitake
Hamachi Shiitake with shiitake mushroom stuffed with hamachi, tempura fried, served with sweet chili & sweet soy sauce.  I loved the shiitake mushroom and the hamachi with the crunchy tempura but c'mon... the sauce is pretty damn generic and ruined the shiitake.

Dynamite with baked seafood, sautéed onion & shiitake mushroom in dynamite sauce.  Not a big fan of mayo, and I don't think I ever will be so I've never been a huge fan of dynamite.  Cool presentation though!  They light up the plate so the it can heat the bowl and warm up the dish.

Samurai Roll with spicy tuna & jalapeño, topped with tuna, avocado & habañero tobiko.  Meh, was hoping for some quick from the spicy tuna and jalapeño, but none.

Tori - grilled chicken with soy glaze.  The soy glaze, which is just their version of teriyaki sauce, was sorta... fruity?  Something was a bit off about it :P

pork belly
Butabara, which is gilled pork belly.  I wish they had some sesame oil & salt for this hahah.

peat's old fashioned
Funny, the only picture of the drinks there that I took was this one I took on Instagram, Peat's Old Fashioned.  They added sugar to it so it was very sweet, and it seems pretty watered down.  Two rocks only too...

Even though my drink was only so-so, the drinks others ordered were pretty spectacular.  Was not feeling the food since I'm still a fan of more authentic Japanese food.  Our server was a huge fail too.  She was just rude so it did ruin our experience.

Next up, Pizzeria Delfina!