500 4th Street/Bryant,
hearing at our table
not often that you'll find the Füd Court judges in a bar, but when
you do, you can expect them to be hankering for some grub. Luckily, The
Hotel Utah is serving it up. I think The Hotel Utah is actually a hotel,
in some way, but mostly it's a fine old saloon and nightclub.
you can get some REAL GOOD bar food there. Not that you couldn't before,
but now it's better. Gourmet bar food, if you will. Pretty much worthy
of a trip there in and of itself.
a bunch of stuff to share, which fulfilled our fat gram requirements for
about a week. But it was tasty. We had the Bona Fide French Fries ($3),
which were good, perhaps not as crispy as I prefer. And then there were
the "Meeting House" biscuits and gravy ($3), which were real, real good.
Super buttery, greasy, little biscuits, and nice cream gravy with sausage
bits. Almost as good as my mom's. And the Beer-Battered Fried Green Beans
($5), which rocked, were Tempura-style crispy sweet treats. Get those,
got the Macaroni and Cheese ($5), which was good, but frankly a little
lacking in cheesy gooey goodness. Still, it was nice, with the pasta shells
and the bread crumbs and various cheeses, which seemed to settle toward
the bottom. Finally, we split up the Niman Ranch Burger with the cheese
and the bacon ($7.50). Real proper burger, there, on a tasty bun with
gourmet lettuces and so forth. Top-notch.
the best bar food I've had outside of the righteous fish and chips, so
I recommend it. The addition of serious gourmet bar food makes The Hotel
Utah twice as attractive as it was before.
In the culinarily
challenging South of Market, the Hotel Utah's revamped menu has given
a spark to the lunch scene. What I wasn't sure about was dinner. Whether
they serve it at all, I mean. I kept the other judges in suspense until
finally using the telephone to find out. "We serve dinner as late as people
want to eat it," I was told. "That's quite a pleasing answer," I replied.
And dinner pleased
the judges. The Ute is a fine watering hole to begin with, especially
in the saloon-starved SOMA area. Their addition of classy bar füd
kicks it up another notch. The new eats are overseen by Ask Andy's old
boss from the Meeting House, a respected high-end restaurant far from
South of Market. You can taste this in items like the Niman Ranch Beef
Burger, which checks in at six bucks, seven with bacon. Applewood smoked
bacon, to be precise, and I suggest you add it. I would gladly eat my
sock with that bacon on it. Or inside it. The burger was great.
French fries, three
bucks, were not as good as the batch I had at lunch, but they were quite
tasty anyway. If you get the famous Meeting House biscuits (Ask Andy how
they make them) with gravy, you can dip the fries in the gravy. Wet fries.
Hell yes. I suggest you go there after work. Soon. One warning: If there's
music that night, you may be asked to pay. We had to bring down the gavels
a bit early and leave the room in order to slip the cover charge. So,
maybe call ahead, or be sure you don't linger too long over drinks before
getting on with the füd.
At the Utah you'll
find pub grub at its finest. Nothing overly fancy but some nice surprises.
The atmosphere is casual. You order at the bar and either eat there or
they will hunt you down and serve you at a table. We decided to order
a mess of vittles and share the lot, something we don't often do. It definitely
made for a nice variety to sample. So here we go...
You want something
deep fried of course, so you must try the beer-battered fried green beans
with lemon mayonnaise for dippin'($5). Not something you find every day
and they almost seem healthy somehow. The bona fide french fries ($3)
are great, fresh-cut potatoes, fried to perfection. The macaroni and cheese
was nothing special, not cheesy enough for my liking and nothing remarkable
about the cheese flavor-wise. A real treat was "The Meetinghouse" biscuits
and sausage gravy ($3). What a bargain, four small biscuits with a really
delicious gravy, creamy-smooth with nice bits of sausage, perfect for
dipping the fried foods in.
Finally, the burger,
a nice-sized Niman Ranch beef burger ($6) with Utah special sauce (to
be honest, never did figure out what that was). Add some cheese ($.50)
and while you're at it slap on some Applewood smoked bacon ($1). Altogether
it comes out to one mighty fine tasting burger. All the items seemed to
be freshly prepared and made it to the table piping hot. The Utah is not
big on "restaurant" service. While the folks are friendly, once you get
your meal you probably won't see them again until you track 'em down at
the bar to pay your bill. Also, be sure you get there before the cover
charge hits for the band that may be playing, unless of course that's
why you're headed there in the first place. I recommend you pop into the
Hotel Utah for a snack or a meal, grab a beer and enjoy.