Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Nuts about Betelnut

Recently, a girlfriend of mine took the California bar exam. Remembering how that felt for me last summer (and because of a computer error, again in March!!) I decided I would take her out for a nice celebrator dinner. I thought long and hard about the kind of restaurant that would be perfect for a celebration....and came up with Betelnut.

Betelnut is in the Marina district of SF. This is an area I don't frequent as often as, say, the Mission. This is partly because it is so far away, and partly because the scene there isn't so much my style. But there are a couple of good restaurants there, and Betelnut is one of them.

The theme of the place is sort of polynesian/asian fusion. They have a long bar menu of very fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. I started withe a Sake Colada - which tasted like a pina colada, only lighter. It was surprisingly refreshing and REALLY tasty. My friend L. had a Mai Tai, which came in a little barrel. I tasted it and it was very fruity and fit the CELEBRATION theme of the evening.

Then we moved on to food - SO much food, and it was really good. We started off with the pork springrolls with wood ear mushrooms, glass noodles, and szechuan mustard. The dipping sauce was nice and spicy, and the springrolls were hot, crispy, with delicious hearty filling. They were a great way to start the meal.

Next we moved on to a green salad with oranges and nuts, and an asian dressing. Simple but good, a nice contrast to the spicy spring rolls.

For our main course, we had ribeye steak, which was served sizzling hot on an iron plate with spring onions and roasted garlic. The sauce on top of the steak was REALLY good - lots of flavor, and it caramelized into the hot place. With that we ordered a side of jasmine rice, which was a little undercooked, and the delicious szechuan green beans served with fried garlic and soy sauce and all sorts of delicious things. The steak was tender and REALLY delicious, though I wish they had brought us a spoon to help us with the sauce.

Other times at Betelenut I remember having the korean charbroiled pork with scallion pepper sauce. It was sort of a misnomer, because it was actually shredded/cubed and served in lettuce cups, which it doesn't say anything about on the menu. There is another chicken lettuce cup dish on the appetizer menu, but that is clearly marked.

In general the food at betelnut is REALLY good. I do find it a bit on the salty side, and I really like salt, so I always have to drink about a gallon of water when I get home. The one other complaint I have about the place is that both times I've made a reservation there I had to wait even though I got there right on time. Then this last time, though we had a reservation, we were seated at a tiny table near the bar and the door, and right next to a couple with a baby. The tables are REALLY close together and the baby was just crawling around on the benches so it was slightly unpleasant (I have nothing against babies, but we were trying to celebrate here!). When I asked about another table they said it would be at least a 15 minute wait - go figure. Also the bar area is poorly laid out and you end up constantly standing in someones way.

All in all its a great place for some asiany fusiony food. If you are relaxed and carefree about the semi-annoying service issues, then it is the perfect place for a mai tai in celebration of....whatever!!!

Food: (3.5)3.5 - Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Experience: (3)3 - Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Total: (3.25)3.25 - Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

For an explanation of our rating system, CLICK HERE!

For yelp reviews of Betelnut, CLICK HERE!

I'm nuts about it!


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