Occupation: Project Assistant
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: 20 Spot
Reviewed 20 Spot: Monday, January 6, 2014
Whenever I walk into 20 Spot, I feel like I have entered the living room of my stylish best friend—in the 1970s. There is always a soothing record playing, and there are two classy sofas, a friendly bar area, and a dining area for dinner. The walls tastefully display art and décor from the Mad Men era, but in a way that feels like home.
My dining buddy and I ate dinner here on a Monday evening, and were surprised by how lively the atmosphere was on a weekday. We started with four Beausoleil Oysters (WA) served with mignonette, which were the perfect size, clean and tasty. We also got the Raw Hamachi, served with avocado, leeks, and pickled fennel. Both of these starters were flawless, and beautiful in presentation. Per our server’s recommendation, we ordered the Roasted King Trumpet Mushrooms, and the cheesy Yukon Gold Potatoes. These were both hearty dishes, easily shared between two people. The mushrooms were browned just before the point of being crispy on the outside, and were mixed with browned sunchokes that added the perfect amount of sweetness to the dish. Also accompanying the mushrooms and sunchokes was a creamy but delicate béarnaise sauce. The potatoes were served in a small ceramic casserole dish that definitely came from the 70’s. The potatoes were as good as the dish was cute, served in a Gruyere Mornay sauce. We could have stopped there, but my buddy and I couldn’t resist ordering the Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Trout Roe. With the creamiest egg yolk filling you can imagine and salty fish roe, they were worth it.
20 Spot is not just a wine bar, although their impressive wine list is unique and always showcasing new finds. It is an amazing restaurant, where I bring friends and family all the time, knowing we will leave happy.
Occupation: Director of Finance
Favorite Restaurant: Lanna Thai
Reviewed 20 Spot: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Walking into 20 Spot, I had a warm feeling of being at a small gathering of friends. The sofas, coffee tables, crate wine racks, and stacks of LPs provide the backdrop for a wonderful evening – don’t be frightened by the Elvis skeleton on the wall! 20 Spot features great swing Dixie jazz and Americana music in the background to set the mood.
20 Spot is way more than a wine bar in that they offer a bevy of delicious dishes that both pair well with wines but can also stand on their own merit. The freshly made bread with creamy chilled butter featured an interesting assortment of cucumber, radish, and celery slices. After indulging in the bread and butter starter, a glorious plate of cheeses with multi grained crackers, cherry compote, and sliced pears and veggie traipsed onto the scene.
The culinary highlight of the evening was the Spiced Potted Dungeness Crab with crème fraîche, toast, and a Meyer lemon. This is a sumptuous and hearty treat. The huge portions of fresh crab and reasonable price for under $20 make this the must have dish at 20 Spot.
After basking in the afterglow of the Dungeness crab feast, we made our foray into comfort foods. The roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes with Mornay sauce, caramelized onions, and dill was a comforting side dish on a chilly winter night. Also a treat were the Roasted King Trumpet Mushrooms with sunchokes, artichokes, and béarnaise. This glorious earthy creation had a seductive soft underbelly of creamy cheese that was not to be forgotten.
The Chocolate Pudding with chopped nuts, rich whipped cream, and salted caramel was the perfect way to complete our gastronomic adventure.
The service at 20 Spot was top notch – the servers were very friendly, quick to take our orders, and promptly refilled our water glasses. Prices for the small plates and wines at 20 Spot are on the higher side compared to most other restaurants in the Mission District, but are in line with other local wine bars.
Occupation: Custom Marketing Manager
Location: San Mateo
Favorite Restaurant: Chalet Ticino
Reviewed 20 Spot: Friday, January 3, 2014
We started our meal with a bottle of the Furthermore Pinot Noir ($65) based on our server’s recommendation. From there we ordered a variety of things from their small plates menu to share. The Deviled Eggs ($13) were filled with a super creamy, rich buttery-smooth filling, and were topped with roe and cured salmon. Our serving came with 6 halves along with cucumber slices. I aspire to make deviled eggs that are so delicious. Next came the Frisee, Beet and Burrata Salad ($12). The burrata was rich, so tender and fluffy-soft and had a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt on it that added a nice textural contrast. The beets were tender but not mushy. I wished this dish came with a dash of something acidic to provide additional flavor, a squeeze of sour orange or lemon would have made the flavors stand out more. After that came the Kampachi ($15) which was superb. Kampachi is related to yellowtail, which is my favorite sushi fish. Our final dish was a Mushroom and Sunchoke dish ($15) recommended by our server. I am so glad she recommended it, because it was my favorite dish of the night - savory, rich and creamy.
We opted for a Cheese Plate ($13) and tastings ($19) of Madeira, sherry and port for dessert. There were four different cheeses to choose from and we ordered goat cheese and triple-cream Brie. It was a perfect finish for the dinner. The cheese plate came with a lot of accompaniments: Marcona almonds, grapes, apples, crackers and a few more things. It was a one of the most fully decked-out cheese plates I have encountered. Yay!
I enjoyed my evening at 20 Spot, though it's on the pricey side. It's the kind of place I'd frequent more regularly if I were about 15 years younger and lived nearby and had a lot more discretionary income. I had great service and a delicious meal there, however there are many places that I can go for a $200 night out that I'd pick before it. Still, if a friend suggested going there, I'd agree.