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Chow
215 Church Sreet/Market St., SF
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Pretrial hearing at Judge Vardigan's chambers
10/14/01

Turner

Well I had been meaning to chow down at Chow for quite some time. Since Judge V. moved around the corner, I finally got a good excuse. As did he, apparently, since he seems to eat two out of three of his daily meals there. But I'll tell you what, Chow has some serious chow know-how.

They sure as hell know how to whip up a tasty appetizer, like the mushroom-goat-cheese-toast thing we got. Hoo wee! Some hunks of French bread with what I guess was garlic and olive oil on them, melted blobs of goat cheese, all smothered with three kinds of exotic sauteed mushrooms. Good stuff. Had to eat it with forks and knives due to the mound of 'shrooms.

For the main course I chose the 1/2 grilled Sonoma chicken with lemon, herbs and garlicky mashed potatoes. Sounds good, huh? Well it was. Big slab of a bird, all browned and grilled and herby. One thing I seriously appreciated about this bird was its lack of bones. That is to say, all the bones had been removed, save the "drumstick bone." Nice! Like having a big chicken steak. And, it was grilled to perfection, crispy-charry outside, tender-juicy inside. All lemon-herb-garlic infused from top to bottom. Excellent. Beside that was a pile of "garlicky mashed potatoes" that were decent. They were garlicky, but perhaps a bit dry. The only other thing I recall on the plate was a hunk of cranberries, or cranberry sauce, like from Thanksgiving. Frankly, I hate that crap and barely tasted it.

Did I mention that the plate cost $9.50? A bargain, at that price, for a big perfectly grilled half-chicken and mashed. And if you like cranberries you'll be in heaven. They've got a big, varied menu with dishes from various cuisines, and plenty of American-style rib-sticking food, so pretty much everyone can find something they want.

Chow now, brown cow. Even if you're not a brown cow, check it out.

 

Vardigan

Well, I'd already glowingly ExhiBited Chow a while back, so my feelings on the restaurant were pretty well-established. And now that I live around the corner from it, they keep getting reinforced – VERY often.

I'd eaten the (Much Kinder Than Ty) Cobb Salad roughly eight times since moving just a few weeks prior, prompting special counsel and new/old roommate Ask Andy to threaten contempt of court if I ordered it for this review. So I did not. With a trembling lip, while silently asking Cobb for forgiveness, I called for the Thai noodles ($8.95), a nice soupy bowl bursting with steak and chicken. By the bottom of it, as I eagerly sopped up the remains with my bread, I was relieved to know I could indeed, from that point forward, happily order things at Chow that aren't the Cobb.

Judge McC has thoroughly described the toasty appetizer, but I'll give it another shout. Sauteed mushrooms are always fine by me, and they triple the pleasure with three different kinds. You'll be savoring the stray 'shrooms that fall from the goat cheesed bread.

A thin chocolate milkshake is my only complaint. I've had a good one there before, but this one was not so sturdy. And they don't give you any steel extras.

Chow gives you very good füd at very reasonable prices. You may have to wait -- that's okay. Enjoy a drink out back at the Pilsner next door and they'll grab you when the table's ready. A hint: They almost always overestimate the time you'll have to wait.

 

McClure

Judge Vardigan brought us to this spot, right around the corner from his new digs. If he owes you money, hang around awhile and he may just hop on by. Chow is true to its motto or slogan or whatever is written below their name on the menu. They have food, drink and a good-time taste I can relate to. Everything I tried, I liked.

We started with an appetizer of "Fall mushrooms and goat cheese on grilled toast" ($5.75). I'm not a big fan of the mushroom but they don't frighten me either. The toast was pretty well smothered in 'em, with a layer of cheese securing the 'shrooms in place on the crunchy toasted bread, and adding some nice flavor and creamy texture. Since I'm no fanatic of the mushroom, when the waiter told me the types used – Chanterelle, Crimini, and Oyster – I had no idea what to make of it. Altogether the combination made for one fine way to start of the meal off.

Judge V. had been raving about – and was actually banned by a roommate from ordering – the Cobb Salad. I guess he just can't get enough of it. Well I just had to give it a try and flaunt it under his yearning eye. It was incredible with the lettuce, chicken breast, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, tomatoes and egg. Sound good? Well, it is. Mix it all up with some Mayo type dressing and you have a meal on your plate. I went for the half order($4.50), knowing I had more chow coming. I definitely think that a full Cobb salad ($7.95) would do you right. One thing though: If your not into creamy dressing steer clear or ask the friendly waiter what they can do about it.

Next I enjoyed Rose's Sunday meatball sandwich, served only on Sunday of course. It's topped with arugula and melted mozzarella. What a flavor treat on a freshly baked (I do believe) sorta flat bread. As meatball sandwiches go this is tops and don't forget the delicious thin cut fries that go with it, oh yea. I hear it's often crowded at Chow and our visit was no exception. We only had to wait about ten minutes though and they encourage you to pop next door for a drink. They'll zip on over when your table is ready, but will you be ready for it? The folks are friendly and seem more than happy to discuss the food and its preparation. Both Judge T. and Judge V. seemed to enjoy their meals but I'll stop rambling and let them tell you more.

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