Bix [ San Francisco, FiDi ]

I had a really quite good meal at Bix this weekend.

It helps that my expectations were low. I had drink at the bar there ( it is exceedingly pleasant on a warm day at about 5:00 as your first stop ), but think of it as likely pedestrian. Parents were in town, and the atmosphere + live jazz was the draw.

No, the food was pretty spankin’ good. Not enough to rave about, not “saison++”, but really solid.

Seating was a little rough. We did show up late for our reservation ( 8:15 for a 8pm res ), but we did call in, and we did have to stand around for 15 minutes. There weren’t enough spots at the bar to sit for four, and I didn’t want to have a drink there and a drink at the table ( driving and all ), so it was just standing awkwardly around.

The oysters were solid, drinks were solid. Apps were small in a good way, lots of taste. I liked the crab, even though it’s the wrong season; the crab bits were perched on top of a slice of sourdough in a way that sounds simple but had a nice sour + crab, and I was reminded why sourdough bowls are a thing.

For a main, my mother’s asparagus salad with burrata was very good. The asparagus was steam-kissed and had the freshness broken, but was otherwise raw, just perfect. I had some kind of Lamb T-bone which was also excellent. It had all the texture perfection of a good fillet mignon, but with actual taste because it was lamb. My father did something fun: he asked for a “surf and turf” by getting the ceviche and the steak tartare as a main. I found both of them a little under-seasoned, but both of those dishes do well if under seasoned - you can taste the meat & fish better - and he was very happy with the dishes. The tartare was mixed table-side which was a treat, but there was no egg. I suggest if you’re going to order that, ask about the egg. There were lots of small seasonal touches on the dishes, such as flowers, without being a big production.

I had a bananas foster, which had excellent taste, but was disappointingly not Flambee. Apparently they will do Flambee if a special occasion, so you can talk them into it. The other deserts were pretty good too - each of us liked ours.

Finally, the room was pretty noisy, we were in a peculiar seat ( last table in the balcony, the only that couldn’t see the band ), but we came to enjoy the seats. If we were in the main downstairs, I’m sure we couldn’t have heard ourselves think. The jazz itself on a saturday night was quite good, reminded me of how good the jazz at Jardinere was on a typical good night. They weren’t just banging out classics, although there were some show-tapping standards ( like the “peanuts theme” ), and they didn’t really blow hard ( which would have been inappropriate ). Space between the tables was so much better than new places in that area - once the band stopped we could talk easily.

All in price was slightly under $100/pp ( $80, maybe? ), which included only one drink each, but also included desert and the typical sky-high SF tip. I considered this about fair for the overall experience.

It’s nice that this place is on the north edge of FiDi, on the south edge of north beach. The tourist quotient was low-ish ( some for sure ), but the trendy quotient was low too. It was a bit “date night” ish, with birthdays and such, but not in a bad way.

Don’t go in with super-high expectations, be pleasantly surprised when they are exceeded. We will be back.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold