Caprese Salad, Veal Stuffed Cannelloni, Veal Parmigiana with Polenta and Green Beans
Occupation: Accordian Player and Octogenarian
Location: South San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: West Coast Cafe
Reviewed West Coast Cafe: Saturday July 7, 2007
West Coast Café — Tuscan Style Cooking Italian Restaurant
Not a large restaurant, I would guess fifteen to twenty tables that seat 2, 4, 6 people per. Fresh white tablecloths, napkins, etc. Soft Italian taped music background. The typical family style restaurant you find throughout Italy.
Antipasto: 8 to choose from. My favorite is calamari sauté with mushrooms in a tomato sauce. A meal in itself when eaten with warm baked bread baked at the restaurant. Antipastos range in price from $4.00 to $7.50, each.
Primi Piatti: If you enjoy pasta dishes, this is for you. Tortelli, linguini, fettuccine, gnocchi, to name a few. Thirteen dishes to choose from, cooked to perfection. Prices $10.00 to $13.50 each.
Secondi Piatti: Veal, lamb, steaks, chicken, prawns, calamari, and steak piccata (one of my favorites) sautéed in a lemon, caper, and white wine sauce with a veggie and soft, smooth polenta (to die for). Prices $14.50 to $18.50 each.
I believe in a glass of wine with a good station meal. $5.00 a glass, or if we are more than two, I will order a bottle of Chenin Blanc for $20.00.
They make their own desserts — tiramisu, gelato, to mention a few.
My wife and I enjoy a meal at West Coast once or twice a month. We have an antipasto, which we share, one of the first or second plates, a glass of wine and a dessert, which we share. The quality, portions, service, décor, and atmosphere are excellent. My superb meal usually costs me $25.00 to $30.00 each.
Parking may be difficult on San Mateo Avenue in San Bruno. Go around to the back of the restaurant, there’s ample parking and back entrance.
Occupation: Primary Educator and Mother
Favorite Restaurant: Central Market
Reviewed West Coast Cafe: Tuesday July 10, 2007
When we first arrived, it was very nice to have an easily accessible parking lot in the back. Also, my husband is from the area, and it was a surprise that this was a recommended restaurant from Check, Please! Bay Area — my mother-in-law and father-in-law had actually visited the restaurant once before.
When we arrived, the decor felt very nice and homey; it was a bit simple, but the colors were relaxing. We were greeted very nicely by the staff and they were very attentive to our entrance to the restaurant and seated at a large table. We brought my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and both or our children (5 and 3 years of age).
To start, for appetizers, we ordered the calamari in a tomato sauce, which was incredible. It kept the great taste of sautéed calamari, while the broth was definitely spicy, but complementary only; it did not steal the dish. We also tried the bruschetta, which was good, nothing spectacular. The last appetizer we tried was a fresh mozzarella dish with tomatoes, also simple and tasty.
We had a second course of gnocchi in a spinach and Gorgonzola cream sauce. This was the most disappointing dish that we tasted. We do order this at every Italian restaurant that we go to, and this was actually one of the worst that we had.
The real star of the restaurant was the INCREDIBLE veal that all of the adults ate. We had:
1. Veal Parmigiana
2. Veal Saltimbocca
3. Veal Piccata
4. Veal Stuffed Cannelloni
We all agreed that the veal was the best that we had eaten anywhere. This is the signature dish of the restaurant. The portions were large, the taste was incredible, and the meat was fork-cut tender.
Lastly, the dessert menu left us disappointed in the limit of the choices. We tried one of each, and all were average.
Overall, the restaurant was good, and the veal was spectacular. We would revisit the restaurant, since my in-laws live ten minutes away. The service was impeccable and speedy, and the restaurant was kid-friendly. A good choice!
Occupation: Media Guru
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Marta’s Kitchen in Jay ‘N Bee Club
Reviewed West Coast Cafe: Tuesday July 10, 2007
So, we went in to this place in San Bruno. It was well lit, with ample parking, and easy to get to. We looked at the menu; it was classic Italian fare, simple but good, and wow, were the prices reasonable! The place was open, so we could sit wherever we wanted; so we sat near the window for the light, which overlooked a vacant lot. Let me preface this now, at that moment I wanted this place to be killer. Reasonably priced wine list, nice simple décor, ample parking — it had everything going for it. The menu looked like good, classic Italian with cheap Chiantis on the wine list. There was a soup of the day — clam chowder — so I went for that, and there in the pasta section was what they called the house specialty, a ragu lasagna. It stated it needed at least fifteen minute to prepare. It was here I noticed what Hollywood directors would call “foreshadowing”: a dirty wine glass. And well, this was the beginning of the end. The wine we ordered was not on the menu, but the waiter mentioned they had a better wine as the house wine, so we ordered that instead.
The soup then came out, rushed, bland, and it needed my peppering and Tabasco culinary skills to set it straight. My date went with the old tried and true Caesar salad, it was just simple. Eat it, forget it. Then BLAM! There were the entrees, I mean, it wasn’t maybe fifteen minutes (stated time for lasagna) when they came out. I figured, “Hey, it’s the house special, so it must be something of note, if they’re going to come out and call it special.” The food was coming out too fast, and we didn’t get a chance to really enjoy the experience. It was as if they were trying to turn the table like lunch service.
The service was attentive, too attentive and green, as though they did not understand the enjoyment of what a meal could bring. I mean, Italians defined the long leisurely meal. When conversation took over the bland food, the various staff members would attempt to clear the plates, although we kept stating that we were not finished. In addition to the food on our plates, we still had half a bottle of wine to finish. Regarding the food, my lasagna was so salty I couldn’t finish it, and it was overcooked. How do you overcook a fifteen-minute, required house special in twelve minutes? Bending Time Café maybe can. On the other hand, the lemon chicken was very good and my date enjoyed it. Although simple in preparation, it was very well executed. The potatoes were perfectly roasted, however the accompanying vegetables were draped in oil, so she stayed away from that. Realistically, if we had not spent time conversing over the wine, which was fine, and didn’t produce a hangover, we could have been there thirty to forty minutes, tops.
I would really have a tough time recommending this place to my friends or co-workers. Maybe a distant cousin, twice by marriage. There are so many great little hole-in-the-wall Italian places that this one just doesn’t measure up. Maybe if I lived in the area, I’d come back for lunch, but there’s a better Burmese place just up the street. Though a decent bang for the buck at start, overall, it did not feel like money well-spent. And that’s too bad, ’cause I really wanted it to be good. We need more restaurants — in theory — like this place.