Monday, September 04, 2006
Plouf, Belden Alley, San Francisco
Quite fantastic, isn't it? Even if the food were horrible, dining in this discreet San Francisco alley would be more than tolerable. Home to a handful of Europe-centric restaurants (Italian, French, Spanish), Belden Alley brings a smile to my face as soon as I turn into it from Bush Street.
The only restaurant here I can vouch for is Plouf, a mussels mecca. On a recent solo visit, I abandoned my usual commitment to moules mariniere (garlic, white wine, parsley) for the moules pastis (shallots, garlic, cream, Ricard, chili flakes, fine herbs). My infidelity was richly rewarded--the subtle licorice flavor from the pastis (Ricard) married well with the smooth cream and punchy garlic and shallots. No moules are complete without the frites of course, and Plouf serves a heaping dish (though I was disappointed that my pile o'fries had more than the average number of stumpy specimens).
A Kronenbourg on tap rounded out my meal, though the restaurant offers a decent list of seafood-friendly wines by the glass. The menu expands well beyond mussels to other fish and seafood dishes, as well as some landed entrees--lamb, chicken and beef. A lovely mixed green salad is available as well, if you feel the need to start with something healthy.
Though Belden Alley lends itself to celebration and larger groups, I can recommend eating alone as well. It offers a perfect locale for people-watching, from the table of two distinguished French couples grilling the waiter for over 15 minutes to the first date awkwardly chatting, to the coworkers out together, getting progressively drunker and more friendly with one another. Relax, sip your drink, and enjoy!
40 Belden Place
Belden Place lies between Bush and Pine and between Kearny and Montgomery
San Francisco, CA
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