Presidio Social Club

Open since 2006, the swanky Presidio Social Club is housed in a meticulously restored 1903 military barrack. Longtime restaurateur and owner Ray Tang worked with architect Olle Lundberg (Slanted Door, The Moss Room, Larry Ellison's San Francisco residence) to keep the art deco integrity of 563 Ruger, while adding interesting elements such as bare light bulbs and a 45-foot-long marble bar. I chose this Presidio location for a recent birthday gathering because I love their cocktails, it was easy to get to from Marin and parking was not an issue. Once we arrived, I wished I had reserved one of the patio tables in the private garden, however if we had, we wouldn't have enjoyed the company of the charmingly abusive waiter assigned to our table. How often does a male waiter tell a female patron that he could be her son? Then tell her to stop talking. Unfortunately he was right on both counts. On the upside, he did bring us an amazing taste of a fresh potato (and something) soup, and their famous deviled eggs – neither of which we had ordered and offered excellent menu selections. He was forgiven.

When chef Jay Abrams came by the table, I was so impressed with his tatoos, I asked him to sit for a few minutes. It turns out he is an avid oil painter; art is important to him … on his body and in his food preparations. Impressed with his cooking, we found out he is from Vancouver, BC graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland and then earned his kitchen cred in various Bay Area restaurants including Brix in Napa and Trace (W Hotel) in San Francisco. At these spots, he developed close relationships with local farmers and ranchers, which he showcases on his menu. Not only did he have some favorite Marin farmers, but also a few favorite bike trails in the county too. The seasonal items include Grilled Artichoke with lemon aioli, Smashed Peas with mint oil and Roasted Asparagus. Nightly specials change weekly, however the Braised Pork Shoulder is a popular mainstay, in fact according to our waiter, the pork is so good it's been a Sunday night special for a few years.  

Presidio Social Club is open for brunch, lunch and dinner, 415.885.1888, presidiosocialclub.com 

Top: Marble bar to enjoy a cocktail or watch the game; deviled eggs; potato (no cream) soup starter;
Bottom: island style tuna poke; avocado salad; macaroni and cheese.