Cheese Lasagna; Grilled Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Cranberry Compote; Ginger Spice Cake with Pumpkin Ice Cream
Occupation: IT Program Manager
Favorite Restaurant: Chow
Reviewed Chow: Friday, January 6, 2006
Chow is a bustling neighborhood restaurant nestled in a small row of local stores at the beginning of the Castro district in San Francisco. As soon as you enter into the restaurant, you have a feeling of belonging. The host or hostess greets you with a warm smile. The wait time for a table is no more than 15 – 20 minutes and the host or hostess is more than happy to allow you to shop at the stores next door and will come and get you when your table is ready. Two large window tables in the front of the restaurant entice walking traffic to enter and enjoy a well-prepared meal with friends from the neighborhood. Once seated, you can peruse the eclectic artwork on the walls from local artists while listening to 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s era music. The atmosphere is warm, cozy, relaxing, and definitely not pretentious. The servers are prompt in getting drink orders and allow you enough time to review the menu’s wide range of American, Italian, and Asian dishes that include: daily sandwiches, starters, salads, pastas, noodles, wood-baked entrees, and grilled and roasted meats. The wine and beer lists are large enough to feature local wineries and breweries without overwhelming you.
I came with friends and family, and we ordered the nacho platter and dumplings to start. The dumplings were perfectly tender and the flavor of the pork stuffing was not overdone. The soy sauce dressing nicely complemented the dumplings and brought out the flavor of the pork stuffing. The nachos were unique in that the chips were dipped in a red enchilada-like sauce and then topped with black beans, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce, and red onions. I felt the sauce made the nachos a little soggy and the lettuce was a less flavorful iceberg variety. I ordered the chicken and mashed potatoes entrée. The chicken was grilled to perfection. The skin was perfectly crisp, yet the meat was tender and juicy. The thighbone was removed which made it easier to eat with a knife. The mashed potatoes were buttery and captured the chicken juices perfectly. The green beans were well cooked and maintained their crunch. The cranberry compote complemented the chicken nicely. For dessert, I had Chow’s famous ginger spice cake with pumpkin ice cream. This is a little taste of heaven! The cake is warmed in the oven and drizzled with a very light caramel sauce. The cake is very most and the spices and ginger are perfectly matched. The pumpkin ice cream brings out the flavor of the spice cake and is an amazing complement. This dessert is definitely one that you will have a hard time sharing with others. And don’t be surprised if you catch yourself licking the plate!