The Presidio is now, after decades serving as a military base, a National Park. A lovely hotel, Inn at the Presidio, is the former Officers club. And, a healthy little walk down the hill and around a couple of corners, sits a former mess hall, now the Presidio Social Club.
General manager Maureen Donegan, who also acts as unofficial sommelier, knows a thing or two about hospitality, and executive chef Jay Abrams knows a thing or two about fresh food, convivial portions, and fine dining with a comfort food balance. Founding chef and co-owner Ray Tang is also still directly involved, working with Abrams on new dishes, seasonal menus, and an overall fit with the founding vision of the place. The space fills up, the noise level rises, and it seems everyone is having a blast.
Wines by the glass are anything but perfunctory, with some unexpected treats available you just don’t really see much, including a delightful torrontés from Siete Fincas in Salta, Argentina, and a Côtes de Roussillon from Gérard Bertrand. And any wine list that has Ridge zinfandel on it is okay by us.
A fire-roasted “early girl” tomato fondue is a great way to start, perhaps alongside aged gruyere cheese toast. On a whim, you might want to have a deviled egg or two. There is always a fresh fish of the day, and usually a special “Chop” of the week. The beef liver and onions dish has won over a loyal legion, and the chef’s roast for two is always a good idea, even if, possibly, you are by yourself. Just bring home what you can’t eat. Although, if you are lucky enough to find the Turley Wine Cellars Bechtoldt Cinsault on premise, you may just want the whole thing to yourself.
Sides of smashed peas in mint oil, or the delectable kale sautéed in chili, lentils, and feta, round out a great evening of dining out. In addition, there are nightly dinner specials, a unique cocktail list, and dessert options that include an extremely well-conceived and executed plate of brioche beignets.
San Francisco is chock-a-block with great dining options. The Presidio Social Club is the place to save for your last night in town, so you are sure to leave happy.
Photos by Hardy Wilson.