Reviews of the finest restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area by Carol and Joe Davis - the Dining Detectives. From Sushi to Prime Rib, the Detectives dine their way across the spectum of fine food. ©2006 Carol and Joe Davis

Red Herring Restaurant + Bait Bar
"Fish Is Brain Food"

After a long day at work, it is such a treat to be able to just walk to a fine restaurant from our downtown office and not think about sitting in traffic. This evening we had the opportunity to once again visit Red Herring that has shown it’s strong suit as a Fresh Fish Restaurant.

We were greeted by the hostess and taken to a great table with a view of the Open Kitchen, the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Palm Tree lined Embarcadero. We could see the twinkle of the lights on the Bay Bridge and the sparkle from the lovely Oakland and Piedmont Hills. What a difference not having The Embarcadero Freeway blocking the view of the Bay. The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake was very devastating and those of us who lived here and experienced it will never forget it. However, it did serve as the demise of the Embarcadero Freeway, which lead to the creation of our beautiful Embarcadero waterfront!

Our waitress, Gennavave arrived at our table with an infectious smile and an air of experience and professionalism. We ordered and received a bottle of Santa Lucia Sparkling Mineral Water and were about to see if our previous experience dining at Red Herring would hold true to form.

Sean Mindrum, the Executive Chef surprised us with a Special Starter that was fantastic. Sushi Roll, Caviar, Basil and Roe fried in buttermilk with drizzle of Balsamic Vinaigrette. It was accompanied by Aqua-Vita Martini Shooters- Quite a nice combination indeed. Fried Sushi Roll- Only at Red Herring! It worked.

Cocktails and Drinks

Red Herring Boat Drinks-
We usually stick with wines by the glass but here we were intrigued by the tempting Specialty Drinks and were glad we yielded to temptation.

Mango Cosmopolitan- Mango Juice and Skyy Vodka- Absolutely out of this world- Perfect taste and went down so smoothly!

Soma Mai Tai-
White Rum Dark Rum Pineapple Juice Ameretto + Frangelico- Another tasty drink and we liked the whimsical plastic monkey that hung from the side of the glass.

Dark & Stormy-
Ginger Beer + Black Rum. Hmmm, I think I’ll have another!

Boathouse Margarita-
Herradura Anejo, LimeJuice + Cointreau on the Rocks. Yes, could have had another one too, but as Larry David says on HBO-- Hold your Enthusiasm – Save room for Wine with Dinner.


Andrew Wolfe,"Wine Guy/ Big Fish", has put together a list that will suit just about everyone. During a "Company Party" here the previous week, we enjoyed the Far Niente, Napa Valley, Chardonnay, 1999 and the Heitz Cellar, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 1996. Both outstanding choices for wines by the bottle and much appreciated.

This evening we chose to have something that we thought was a nice touch and a great idea! Flights of Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah that were called Global Samplers. 2.5 ounces each which is the equivalent of one generous glass.

Flight One (Sauvignon Blanc):

Ledson , Napa Valley 1999
Stoneleigh, Marlborough, New Zealand 1999—This was our favorite and paired perfectly with the Swordfish.
Pouilly Fume’, Domaine Gaudry, Loire Valley, France 1999

Flight Two (Syrah Family):

McDowell, Syrah, Mendocino, 1998- This was our favorite and paired perfectly with the New York Steak.
Deakin Estate, Shiraz, Victoria, Austrailia,1999
Delas Freres, Cotes-Du-Rhone, Rhone valley, France 1998


Baby Lobster + Mango Cones with Avocado + Tobiko Caviar- Unique presentation, like an ice cream – great taste and a must as an appetizer.

Calamari "Fritto Misto" with Chili- Lime Tartar + Cocktail Sauce- this was exceptionally light and the hot- spicy sauces were great- This is the BEST CALAMARI we have had to date! A must!

Cerviche "De La Casa" – Spicy, fresh and flavorful. This was perfect! One of the best cerviche’s we have ever tasted. The cucumber and red onion were crunchy and fresh.

Soups and Salads-

Clam Digger Chowder with Yukon Gold Potatoes + Hobbs Bacon- Whole Clams in the shell made this soup a Red Herring treat- We definitely recommend it. The Best Chowder we have had in many years….and so unique!

Seared Dayboat Scallop Salad with Arugula, Endive + Warm Bacon Vinaigrette. Worth having just for the scallops which were large moist and tender. To really enjoy……you must be a fan of the flavorful bacon dressing.


Baked Maine Lobster Thermidor with Garlic Fries- You rarely see this on a menu. It was a pleasure to be able to eat Lobster without a cracker. This is spicy- just how we like it and a worthy entrée.

Grilled Prime New York Steak with Blue Cheese + Garlic Fries- Perfectly prepared direct from the open Fireplace. A great option for meat eaters.

Seared Swordfish Special- We added a Lemon Creamed Spinach side dish which we loved- The Sauce on the Swordfish brought out the flavors and turned this tasty fish into a terrific dish- We highly recommend it.

Lures- aka-Desserts-

Wicked Chocolate Torte- Huckleberry Sauce + Crème Anglaise—Just divine chocolate decadence. Perfectly paired with the Taylor Fladgate " Quinta de Vargellas" Vintage Port 1995. A great finish.

I Scream For Ice Cream- Strawberry was the flavor of the day on a cookie – Fabulous.

" Key West" Lime Tartlet
Meringue + Crispy Coconut Crust-
We thought that this lovely presentation looked and tasted so authentic that Jimmy Buffet must have been singing Margarittaville in the kitchen while Vicki Garcia made this tasty, tart treat.

Red Herring pleased us once again on this Dining Detective adventure. The Fish was fresh as advertised the drinks and wine up to our standards and the Service excellent. We particularly liked the use of a Crumber between courses, which keeps the table clean, important for messy sourdough bread eaters like us. Stay in the City after work or come in for dinner or lunch and Red Herring will be as pleasing to you as it was to us. Fish may be Brain Food but the New York Steak was great too. We’ll be back!

Red Herring

In The Hotel Griffon

155 Steuart Street
San Francisco, Ca. 94105

Phone 415-495-6500

Fax 415-957-0369

E-mail Redfishsf@worldnet.att.net

Lunch Monday-Friday
11:30 A.M.- 3:00 P.M.

7 Nights
5:30 P.M.- 10:30 P.M.

Major Credit Cards Accepted

Reservations Recommended

Valet Parking- Evenings

Mon.-Sat only