add also potato masher
so we ate tonight (8/2) for an anniversary-type thing at zazoo's (where nicholas alioto used to work) and it was very atmospheric, right on the water, near jack london square. there were only 2 other groups max in the restaurant the whole time we were there. first we sat outside on the deck and looked at the lights rippling in the water and the huge buttressed horse-shapes of the cranes on the docks. canadian geese kept flying by honking in long straight lines. the occasional boat sailing past and the utter serenity and closeness of the water below us made me think nostalgically of venice and its wonderful peaceful lack of traffic noise. we were a bit cold, though, and went inside. the inside was somewhat less charming, though warmer--the view diluted by the tinted glass picture windows, the air polluted with the sounds of jeopardy! and 80's pop music. the place specializes in italian-style seafood and afghani food. i was torn between the two--i've never had afghani food! but finally i cracked and ordered the thoroughly unhealthy fried oyster, scallop, and prawn platter.
they brought warm rolls with butter.
rahul's clam chowder ($3.75) was rather lacking in clams. definitely not the best i've ever had, though by no means bad. my steamed clams (6.75) were much nicer. they were served in a sauce made of some combination of clam "liquor," lemon juice, and butter, as well as something red, memory betrays me as to whether it was tomato or red bell pepper, and lots of chopped clams that made up for the 10 clams in shells that came in the sauce.
my fried seafood platter ($16.75) came with a pile of basmati rice pilaf, white with a few saffron-yellow grains here and there, 7 fried scallops (breadcrumb), 8 fried prawns, and 4 fried oysters. (i only know the exact numbers because rahul and i were each eating exactly half our meals and then trading.) the oysters were the standout. i had forgotten how good and like the sea fresh oysters can taste, almost floral in their complexity. there was also a pile of steamed vegetables, thankfully not overcooked. the peculiar thing was the carrots the bright, unnatural yellow of highlighters. rahul thought them squash before tasting them because of their color and shape similar to yellow summer squash (i have to assume). and oddly enough, also a slice of raw tomato and a single ring of raw red onion. not a whole slice, mind you, but only one ring out of that slice.
rahul got the grilled salmon ($13-ish, I think) which i tried only a tiny bite of, but found strange. the strange thing: it was topped with a mixture of melted orange and white cheeses (cheddar and jack? mozzarella?) with flakes of parsley and something dark red which i have not yet identified. the salmon was also rather dry. dry or moist, however, i think serving it with melted cheese like a glorified tuna melt gives a nice salmon steak a somewhat bizarre and declasse quality. salmon parmigiana? cacciatore?
we were full then and went home. i forgot how i missed the water of venice, its closeness and quiet.