Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sinbad's Restaurant

On Tuesday, the most unseasonably warm day of the year, John and I took a lovely stroll along the sunny Embarcadero. We wanted to have a nice drink or meal on the waterfront and actually sit outside! We perused the restaurants at the Embarcadero's Ferry building but were disappointed that most had an hour wait so we trudged on. We eventually found ourselves in front of Sinbad's. I was on the fence whether this was a good idea, but they had outdoor seating and plenty of it. The moment we walked in I felt I was either magically transported to Cooper's restaurant in Scranton, PA or an old school mob restaurant in San Fran circa 1980. The decor is old and dark, reminiscent of Alioto's on Fisherman's Wharf. Clearly this is a tourist trap restaurant with the dingy interior, great view and exorbitant prices but we didn't care, we were there for the view. The view! What a spectacular view of the bay bridge and the lights of Oakland dancing at sunset but I found the people watching to be even better. Sinbad's is located directly to the right of the ferry landing so we were able to watch the ferries arrive and depart for Oakland. I got to make up stories about the passengers waiting in line and those running for almost missed ferries, a very entertaining time. The crowd at the restaurant was might I say interesting. It seemed as if there was a mid-west end of conference party going on. At one point we watched a good portion of the dining room get up and come outside for a smoke, very non-SF of them. Clue # 1 we were dealing with outsiders. The second clue was the MC who got up and talked about how great the group was and how they were like his family, etc, etc. I still wonder what industry this group was from because it clearly breeds smokers by the dozen.

The food and service at Sinbad's wasn't that great compared to the view. The server acted a bit as if we were putting him out by being there. He forgot our drinks, then delivered John's appetizer about 20 minutes prior to mine. Timing is not something that Sinbad's has down. I had the crab cake appetizer which was delicious. Lump crab meat, not a lot of onion or other fillers but it did have a hollandaise sauce which took away from the flavor of the crab meat. John's clam chowder was delicious and packed full of fresh clams. The food and drinks were overpriced as the bill was $40 for crab cakes, soup, a glass of wine and a beer. But the view and the entertaining clientele made up for it. I don't think I'll come back to Sinbad's as it was a one time tourist trap experience (with a view). Next time I'll make a reservation at one of the nicer and more 'modern' restaurants in the Ferry Building.

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