Jason’s Restaurant, Clove & Hoof Butchery, Dragon Beaux: Check, Please! Bay Area reviews

 A KQED television production. ♪♪ Sbrocco:
And everybody say, “Opa!” -Opa!
-Opa! Sbrocco:
Hi, I’m Leslie Sbrocco. Welcome to
“Check, Please! Bay Area,” the show where regular
Bay Area residents review and talk about their
favorite restaurants. We have three guests,
and each one recommends one of their favorite spots, and the other two
go check them out to see what they think. This week,
event planner Lea Stafford devises events,
formulates themes, and shapes moments, knowing that each perfect
element contributes to a successful occasion. With this is mind,
it makes her own dining expectations very high. And restaurant consultant
Richard Ju knows the business. His culinary training
makes him a tough critic. From the front of house
to the kitchen, systems must work smoothly, and he sets
a pretty lofty bar. But first,
C.F.O. Michelle Martinez. She studied ballet
and acting in stark contrast to her current
business life. Her eatery reflects
these differences by adding an Asian twist
to traditional Italian dishes, thereby concocting
its own version of contemporary
Californian cuisine. In Greenbrae
at Jason’s Restaurant. Lee: I opened this restaurant
for one thing — for me to cook. I’m not that
regular kind of chef. I don’t have chef jackets. I wear a t-shirt to work,
I wear shorts to work. ‘Cause I’m on my feet all day. I work six days,
seven nights a week. Hi, my name is Jason Lee,
and this is my restaurant. I put all my heart
and soul into this place. It’s everything I love to eat. So everything
that is on the menu is something that
I love from my heart. A little bit of
Asian influences, Italian influences,
Californian influences. You know, I love meat. Everything has something
of bold flavor. We’re not afraid of it. This restaurant
is family-driven. My wife works at the bar.
My little sister — she works as
a hostess sometimes. My mom does all my flowers. My father helps me out whenever
I need any shopping to be done. When a customer first comes
to the restaurant and has no idea
what they’re getting into, I love it when
their reaction is like, “Oh, I never even knew
about this place. I got tell all
my friends about it.” There you go.
7, well-done. What we do in the kitchen,
how hard we work, and how my staff
in the front strives to make their experience
that much better, I think that’s the reason
why people come back. It’s just that whole feeling — just to cook it, feel good
about it, send it out. They feel good about it. Their plate’s empty. That’s the best feeling
you can have. Sbrocco:
All right, Michelle, you went from the arts
to finance. Martinez: Yes, but I’m at
a museum that strives and works on creativity, so I fit right in. Sbrocco: And is that why
you go to Jason’s? Creative cuisine? Martinez: I got to Jason’s
for that reason, and they are in my neighborhood. Sbrocco:
So, where do you go first? Martinez: I usually go
with the Dragon Prawns. The Dragon Prawns are four giant
prawns tempura batter-fried with a delicious wasabi aioli, crisp, crunchy
cold tobiko on top. It’s enough for two to share, and I’ve never
been disappointed. Ju: We had those, as well.
We ordered the prawns, and I was just shocked by
how huge the prawns were. It was amazing. The flavors
were really good on this dish. It was a little bit
overdressed for us. -Martinez: Mm.
-Ju: But it was delicious. But we also had
the beet salad. The flavor of the salad
overall was good, but it felt like they were
really skimpy on the beets. They were also a little skimpy
on the cheese and the pecans, as well. That was a little bit
of a disappointment. Stafford: I actually had
the crab cakes, and the flavor was nice. It had nice celery and onion, and there was an avocado puree which was perfectly plated,
in my opinion. It wasn’t heavily dressed. But while the exterior
was really nice, I did not care for the interior. It wasn’t warm enough for me. The exterior was crispy. It was hot like I like it, but that heat just didn’t
make it to the center for me. Sbrocco:
All right. Hot Shots. Ju:
Oh, so, The Hot Shots. There are three shooters.
-Martinez: A trio. Mm-hmm. Ju: The fish —
It’s a really nice hamachi that’s cut into
little tiny cubes, and when you take the shot
in one bite, it’s great. Martinez: You do shoot it,
and there’s a lot going on in those three shot glasses.
-Ju: There is. Martinez: There’s hamachi,
there’s diced avocado. Ju:
There’s some chili threads. Martinez:
Scallion, fried ginger, and a touch of
white truffle oil. It’s just a delicious umami mix. Sbrocco:
Right, you can’t deconstruct it. You have to just go all in. Martinez: You can’t really
deconstruct it too much. Sbrocco:
And what about entrees? You had mentioned
you had the halibut. Stafford: Yeah,
I had the seared halibut. It was on top of asparagus. They also had a tapenade — an olive tapenade
with grapes — that was along the perimeter
of the plate. The inside was nice and flaky. Everything was juicy. The potatoes were nice
and fluffy and creamy. I was actually
quite pleased with it. Ju:
I had the rattlesnake pasta, which was a penne
in a sriracha cream sauce. My wife and I split it, and they actually
took the initiative and split the plates for us, which was really nice.
-Stafford: That’s always nice. Ju: It was a very nice creamy
gradual build-up of heat, and the flavors
were just amazing. Martinez: One of our go-to
favorites, the Chilean sea bass, served over jasmine rice with a side of sautéed
spinach in a miso glaze. And it comes
with a side of soy vinaigrette. The fish was served
perfectly broiled, and the meat just flakes off, and it’s just delicious. -Ju: We also had dessert.
-Sbrocco: Yeah? Ju: Which we ordered
an apple pie a la mode. -Stafford: I had that, as well.
-Ju: It was perfect, actually. It was heated up,
so it was really nice and warm, contrasted well with the vanilla
ice cream that we had. Yeah. I have to second
what he says. The ice cream itself, it had
some kind of caramel undertone that really brought
out that apple pie. Ju:
It was the cinnamon powder. Stafford: Yeah, it was really,
really good. I enjoyed it.
And the crust was super-flaky. The apples were — they had
a nice crunch to them. It was perfect. Martinez: We had
The Chocolate Dream. Sbrocco: Mm-hmm. Martinez: Which was a delightful
crust of crushed walnuts and crushed lady fingers
that were made in-house, and then a light
chocolate mousse, and it was delicious. Sbrocco: And what about drinks
to go with those, because they have one little tip
that now everybody’s gonna know. On Tuesdays and Thursdays,
it’s half-priced wine. He’s got a nice wine list with mostly
California selections. Stafford: I actually just had a
simple glass of sparkling wine. They don’t skimp
on the amount that they pour, so I enjoyed that.
-Sbrocco: I know. When you go to
those restaurants, they pour you that much.
Drives you nuts. And Jason, a very youthful guy, has owned this restaurant
for nine years. Martinez: Yeah, we’ve been
following for a while. He was in kind
of a weird location before in a strip mall. And this is a big upgrade
for him, the location he’s at now. Sbrocco: Well, but, and it’s
still in — people should be aware — it still is in
an office park, right? Martinez:
It is in an office park. Ju: Oh, we actually arrived
a little early and we got to walk around
the office park a little bit. And so, we did get to see
a little bit of the view. Sbrocco:
What about service? Ju: So, service was
the major problem for us. When we first arrived,
we asked to be seated outside. It was a beautiful evening. We ended up in a small table between the patio
and the dining room. And so it felt like we were
kind of in No Man’s Land. Sbrocco:
Just the positioning of that. What about service for you? Stafford: Service was actually
the complete opposite for us. When we arrived,
the hostess was on the phone and a server noticed that, so she actually seated us. So that was something that I really don’t
experience very often. You typically have to wait.
And she was super-attentive, always checking on us, topping our glasses off. Everything was great.
-Sbrocco: Fantastic. Your spot — give us
a quick summary. Martinez: I would say Jason’s is
my family’s favorite restaurant. Delicious California cuisine in a nice setting
with good service. Sbrocco:
All right. And Richard? Ju: They had good flavors, but I would probably
not be back. There’s just too many options
in the Bay Area for us to make
the trek up there. -Sbrocco: And Lea.
-Stafford: I’d say, personally, I wouldn’t make that trek
all the way back there, but if I was in the area, I’d go back for a nice glass
of a little something. Sbrocco: If you would like
to try Jason’s Restaurant, it’s located on
Drake’s Landing Road at Barry Way and Greenbrae. The telephone number
is 415-925-0808. It’s open for lunch on weekdays,
dinner every night. Reservations are recommended, and the average
dinner tab per person without drinks
is around $30. It’s all about
locally sourced, responsibly raised meat
at Lea’s spot. You can dine there
and take some home to cook the next day. This hip location is in Oakland, and it’s called Clove & Hoof
Butchery and Restaurant. ♪♪ Blevins:
As a whole-animal butcher shop, we decided to bring
in whole animals. Part of that responsibility
is using that entire animal. Whether it ends up
in the butcher shop or the restaurant,
everything gets used because that’s just part
of our responsibility as humans eating meat. All right. Here we are.
Table 7. My name is John Blevins. This is Clove & Hoof
Butcher Shop & Restaurant. And I’m the Executive Chef
and owner. Here at Clove & Hoof,
we use one beef, 2 pigs, 1 lamb,
20 chickens, 6 ducks, and assorted other game
meats every week. We do a lot of preserving,
fermenting. Everything we do here at Clove
& Hoof is in fact house-made, from the pickles,
the condiments, the sauerkrauts. We wanted to educate our staff, as well as our customers, because animal husbandry is
a term that’s thrown around, but every animal that we get
from each one of our farms, we have visited
and we know the farmers and we know the practices. I am from Atlanta,
so I do use a lot of Southern-inspired
ingredients, but also, I feel that nostalgia plays a huge part in my menu. We want people to almost have
a longing for something when they eat here. That is like — Wow, that’s something
that my mom could have made. Sbrocco: All right, Lea. Another meat-loving woman
like myself, a carnivore. This place is carnivore
heaven, isn’t it? Stafford: It is.
My family loves to go there. We enjoy anything
with meat in it, so this is just
right up our alley, and it’s in our hometown, so that’s why
we enjoy going there, and it’s super-casual. You can stop by,
dine in, take out. It’s lovely.
-Sbrocco: What is your dish? What do you dig your teeth into? Stafford: I have a couple
of options, but honestly, I really love their
Philly cheesesteak there. It’s nicely seasoned,
the bun is like no other. It also has a nice
fondue cheese sauce on top of it with lovely onions, and it’s seared to perfection. Martinez:
I agree with the bakery roll. We had the cheesesteak, too. My mouth was watering
reading the description of it. I will say I was disappointed,
though. Ours came. It was supposed to come
with mushrooms and onions. There was half a mushroom on it and hardly any cheese sauce, which it sounded delicious,
but I wouldn’t know. And so it was really
just the steak, which was delicious, but I was looking
for the full fried turnip stick, match sticks, and the whole thing
and didn’t really get it. Sbrocco:
You were cheated! Martinez:
I was cheated a little bit. Ju: We ordered
the cheesesteak also, and it was a really filling
and delicious cheesesteak. I do agree that it was
a little bit overly beefy, but the cheese oozing out
of it was just amazing. Overall, it was
a delicious sandwich. Sbrocco:
Can you ever be overly beefy? I don’t know! What else did you have,
Michelle? Martinez:
My husband had a steak, the 16-ounce ribeye, and it was a beautiful
cut of meat. Beautiful.
I wish they’d cooked it a little bit longer for him. He asked for it medium rare,
and it came out probably rare, but delicious nonetheless. And you really got the sense
that this is farm-to-table, the highest quality cuts
you can imagine. Stafford: There’s a real ethic,
a real ethos to the place. Martinez: I like that they had
descriptions of every farm right up on the wall. I got the sense that they
are friends and colleagues with the owners of the farms. We also took some meat home. We took some sausages home, and their homemade sausages
were delicious. Sbrocco:
What else did you have, Richard? Ju: We also had
the charcuterie platter, which was great. We had a couple of terrines. We had a pork and ham terrine,
which was my favorite. We also had some foie gras
torchon with a strawberry jam. The foie gras
was smooth and buttery. Martinez: And I had the chicken
and waffles. And the chicken —
I have to say, maybe we just hit it
on a bad night. They had a really
big to-go order — really big —
going on, and I sent my chicken back
’cause it was burnt and my waffles
were cold and soggy. And so they took it off
the bill for us. They were really nice about it. Although, I turned my attention
to the beef tallow fries and I wasn’t sad for long. So, those were probably the
best French fries I’ve ever had. Stafford: Yeah, those beef
tallow fries are really, really good.
-Martinez: Delicious. Stafford: When you fry
something in its own fat, it’s just — it’s delicious.
-Sbrocco: The way to do it. Did she hit it
on a bad night? What about the chicken
and steak? Stafford: I honestly think you may have hit it
on a bad night. My husband actually
did order the same exact dish, and it was
the complete opposite. The chicken was nice and moist,
and it was crispy, and the ginger waffle
was perfect, as well.
Nice and fluffy and crispy. Martinez: I was bummed
’cause I was gonna splurge on fried chicken
and that waffle! Sbrocco:
What about you, Richard? Ju:
I had the smoked pork chop, which was just amazing. It’s funny that you
mentioned the fat because when it comes
to your table, it’s a double-thick
cut pork chop, and there’s a pretty fat ring
of the fat around the pork, and my wife wanted
to cut it away, and I was like, “No, no, no!
What are you doing?” -Sbrocco: “Eat the fat!”
-Ju: That’s the best part. And so, I proceeded
to cut the pork chop so that every bite would get just a little morsel
of fat in there, and it was just amazing. We couldn’t finish it. So we ended up
taking it home and having it the next morning
for breakfast, which was even better. Stafford: Yeah.
And we did the same thing. Honestly, I couldn’t
finish my food. I had the burger,
and it’s actually two 4-ounce patties on their burger
with a pimento cheese on there. You get pickles
and lettuce and onions, and it’s delicious. But it’s super filling.
It’s juicy. You get everything running down
the side of your hands. -Sbrocco: That’s a burger, man.
-Stafford: My husband — Sbrocco: That’s a burger. Stafford: You have to, like,
hunch over and eat it. My kids actually split a burger,
as well, and nothing was left
on their plate, which is kind of rare. Sbrocco: This is a kid-friendly
spot, isn’t it? Stafford: It is.
It’s super-casual. You have anyone in there — a family with small children,
you have an older crowd, you have kind of the more hip
and artsy crowd coming through. It’s honestly —
All are welcomed in there, and you feel comfortable. Ju: It felt authentic,
I want to say. The servers were so nice. Sbrocco: What did you feel
about pricing? Martinez: I thought
the pricing was good. I thought it was fair
for what you got because the cuts of meat
are so luxurious and amazing. But I would be remiss
if I didn’t mention dessert. Our dessert was delicious. We had butterscotch pudding
with bruléed bananas, salted peanuts,
and house-made whipped cream. And ever since, my son’s been
asking for butterscotch pudding, which I don’t think
I could do theirs justice. Sbrocco: All right.
This is your spot, Lea. Wrap it up for us. Stafford:
If you’re a meat person and you’re looking for meat
in the best city ever, you have to stop by
Clove & Hoof. Sbrocco: And Michelle. Martinez: I would say amazing
cuts of meat, poultry, and homemade sausages. We probably hit it
on a down night, but I’d go back.
-Sbrocco: And Richard. Ju:
This is a temple of meat here. This is what farm-to-table
should be, and I would definitely
go back, hoof down. Sbrocco: All right.
If you would like to try Clove & Hoof Butchery
& Restaurant, it’s located on Broadway Street
at 40th and Oakland. The telephone number
is 510-547-1446. It’s open for lunch every day, dinner Wednesday
through Monday. Reservations are accepted
for large groups only, and the average
dinner tab per person without drinks is around $30. Champagne from France
is the iconic sparkling wine, but bubbly is made
across the globe. We know Italian Prosecco
and Spanish Cava and, of course, world-class
California sparkling, but did you know you can
uncork high-quality examples made with traditional
champagne varieties including Pinot Noir
and Chardonnay from far-flung spots like the Island
of Tasmania in Australia or the mountainous Central
Otago area of New Zealand? What about this beauty from none
other than North Carolina? It’s time to get your bubbly
on and go explore. Cheers. European influenced
Asian decor sets Richard’s spacious eatery apart. It allows room for steaming
dim sum at lunch and sizzling
hot pot at dinner. You’ll find it all
in the Richmond District of San Francisco
at Dragon Beaux. Ng:
Dim Sum is my speciality. I’ve been running
a dim sum restaurant for more than 20 years. And the hot pot
is a fresh cooking idea. My name’s Willy Ng. Welcome to Dragon Beaux. Hi. Here at Dragon Beaux,
we try to do things a little bit more differently. In our lunch,
we try to bring some elements of surprise
and refinement, and then for dinner,
we focus on hot pots for that luxury. Our chefs put a lot of effort in preparing
the hot pot ingredients. They spend lots of time to
prepare each one of the broths. Our seafood comes daily, and then we select only the
freshest catches of the day. I love to go back
to visit in China and Hong Kong and Singapore. They give us
a lot of inspiration to find out what’s the best
cooking new idea. Leung: From this neighborhood,
we also have a mix-up of American, Russian,
Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, all sorts of people from all
different age ranges come here. A lot of them is new to
either dim sum and hot pot, but it’s really fun
when I start to explain to them how to cook the food
in the hot pot, explain to them
the different dim sum. And then seeing them enjoy it, it brings a lot of joy
to our staff. Sbrocco: So, how did you
discover this place? Ju: I live in the neighborhood,
actually. I was very excited
to see them come in. It’s the same family that opened
Koi Palace in Daly City, so we had to go try it. We love it.
-Sbrocco: Are you a dim sum? Because dim sum during the day,
hot pot at night. Have you done both?
-Ju: I’ve been to both, and I love both, actually. The dim sum is a really
elevated modern twist on traditional dim sum pieces. Some of my favorite
are the wild mushroom bell, a traditional steamed bun
with mushrooms inside. They powder it with some
mushroom truffle powder on top so it looks like
a real mushroom cap. And when you bite into it, you just get some
earthy goodness, like the mushrooms
were just picked off the forest floor.
-Sbrocco: Mm-hmm. Ju: The sea bass dumpling
is a colorful explosion with lively colors
from the fresh vegetables and tender sea bass morsels. Stafford: I actually had the
chicken and mushroom dumpling, and like you said,
it was really, really delicious. It was kind of like biting
into a little pillow of heaven. It was moist chicken
and mushroom in there — Sbrocco: Yeah, but that’s what
dim sum means — “from the heart.” From the heart,
a little pillow of love. Stafford:
It was really, really good. And the actual bun itself
was super moist, fluffy, and just light and airy. Sometimes, you get
that kind of heavy, dense bun, so it was perfect. And then we also
had the veggie chow mein. That kind of came around
with the roaming servers, which I really like that. It could have used
a little more sauce for me to give it a little more body, but the flavors
were really good. Martinez:
We went to dinner, but we made sure
to have the dim sum, which I’m so glad we did. We had the juicy pork dumplings, which are true to their name. Succulent, delicious, clear pork juice
squirts out of every one when you’re eating them. Ju: You have to be careful
not to get it on yourself. Martinez: It’s only a shame that
there’s only four to an order. They’re delicious. And we also tried
the minced beef sesame puff, and it was served with
an assortment of ground beef, I think, water chestnuts,
scallions, and a delicious
mix of spices. We also had
the pot stickers. The pot stickers were some
of the best I’ve ever had. I tasted some basil in there. Ju: Yeah, they use a lot
of non-traditional Chinese ingredients,
which I really appreciated. They’re willing to
put themselves out there and try something
that may not be accepted by the traditional
dim sum crowd. Sbrocco: And it’s quite a grand
spot, isn’t it? Ju:
Oh, it’s beautiful in there. Sbrocco: I mean, it really
is beautifully decorated. Ju: They have multiple color-changing
chandeliers inside. Martinez: I was mesmerized
by the chandeliers. They kind of looked
like planets. It was just lovely.
-Stafford: It was really nice. Very ornate, and you were in,
I would say, an escape. You didn’t really imagine being in a restaurant
while you were there. Ju: Much less being right
on Geary Boulevard. Sbrocco: So, let’s talk
about the hot pot because there’s a whole process
to ordering that hot pot, and it’s quite extensive. Ju: So, they do have two options
for a hot pot. You can do a set menu where they pre-select
all the items that you’re gonna be
eating that evening, or you can also select
the all-you-can-eat option, which I usually do
because I feel like it’s a good value there. You basically check off
which ingredients you want, and they bring it to your table. You cook it in your own
hot pot at your table, and some of the
ingredients are things that I’ve never had at
another hot pot restaurant — things like the fish paste
and the shrimp paste. Those were just amazing. They feel like they’re
heavenly balls of meat. The shrimp paste comes
in a bamboo tube, and you just scoop it out
into the little ball and cook them in the hot pot. Sbrocco:
There’s a hot pot tradition — I mean, it goes back
1,000 years, at least, in China. Ju: Yeah, it’s a traditional
Northern Chinese style of cooking that emigrated
all the way to San Francisco, and I’m very glad for that. Martinez:
We did the all-you-can-eat because the menu is vast, and we were hot pot newbies, and so we were
a little overwhelmed, and we just —
-Sbrocco: ♪ Hot pot newbies ♪ Sorry.
-Martinez: We just thought, let’s just do a little bit
of everything and make sure we hit
all the highlights that way. And so we had two broths. We had the 12-bone broth,
which was delicious — a very rich, nice broth. And then, at their suggestion, we countered that
with a Szechuan broth. It was hot and spicy,
peppers floating throughout it. And I think we tried
just about every meat and seafood they had. Fresh, delicious.
Very nice meal. -Sbrocco: And very interactive.
-Martinez: Very interactive. A nice place maybe
to take a family or friends that you haven’t
seen in a while. It allows for conversation.
-Ju: That is the process. You get to just sit down, relax, talk to whoever you’re with, and enjoy the food
in front of you and be appreciative for it. I just tried
the kombu sake miso broth, and it was the best broth
I’ve ever had with hot pot. The flavors
of the meat really pop. Martinez:
There was some sauce they made at the side of the table for us. -Ju: Yes.
-Martinez: That was like magic. It was delicious. Ju: So, there’s four table
sauces on there. There’s a ginger soy,
there is a peanut sauce, a sate sauce,
and a chili oil. Martinez: And she came around
and mixed all those to our liking. Ju: Oh, that’s great. Martinez:
And she asked each of us what our flavor profile
and tolerance for spice was.
-Sbrocco: Right. Ju:
I’m gonna do that next time. I’m gonna have them mix
the sauce for me next time. Sbrocco: What about service?
Obviously attentive and — Stafford:
Honestly, my experience was a little bit different. I actually had to flag
some servers down in order to get service. Once I got the server,
they were very, very helpful in
breaking the menu down and understanding what
was presented on the menu. But in order to get someone,
it was challenging. Sbrocco: All right, Richard.
This is your spot. Give us a quick summary. Ju: So, for a modern
and creative twist on traditional Chinese dishes, I would definitely recommend
going to Dragon Beaux. Sbrocco: And Lea. Stafford:
I’d definitely be back if I’m in the area
for all of the flavor and the affordability
of everything that they offer.
-Sbrocco: Okay. Michelle. Martinez: For a slower-paced
dining experience with an abundance
of yummy dim sum and a vast hot pot menu,
I would definitely return. Sbrocco: All right, if you would
like to try Dragon Beaux, it’s located on Geary Boulevard at 21st Avenue in San Francisco. The telephone number
is 415-333-8899. It’s open for lunch
and dinner every day, reservations are recommended, and the average dinner
tab per person without drinks is around $30. I want to thank my guests
on this week’s show. Michelle Martinez,
who returns to the Cal-Ital Asian flavors
of her favorite spot at Jason’s Restaurant
in Greenbrae. And Lea Stafford’s
meat-centric spot to eat in or take home at Clove & Hoof Butchery
& Restaurant in Oakland. And Richard Ju, whose destination offers
two options, serving both dim sum and hot pot at Dragon Beaux
in San Francisco. Now, we really want to hear
about your experiences at any of the restaurants
we’ve been talking about, so find us on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter. And don’t forget
that you can watch any of the shows
on our website at kqed.org/checkplease. It’s where you’ll find links
to the restaurants and where you’ll find my notes on the delicious wines
we’re drinking today. So, join us next time
when three new guests will recommend
their favorite spots right here on “Check, Please!
Bay Area.” I’m Leslie Sbrocco,
and I’ll see you then. Cheers, everyone.
-Ju: Cheers. -Martinez: Cheers.
-Sbrocco: Cheers. Cheers.

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