San Francisco’s Historic Grills

Enough of the downer posts! We are primarily here to celebrate existing restaurants, not to mourn lost ones (or closing ones).

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post for my friends at Herb Lester and Associates, a small London company that makes wonderful, compact fold-out map guides of cities around the world. Every one is a work of art and the writing is superb. All of the maps are highly recommended, and they also sell some fine travel accessories. You can buy some of them locally (at Flight 001 stores) or them order direct (usually a less expensive option when buying multiple maps – they even sell bundled sets of maps on the web site). The post I wrote for them was about San Francisco’s three classic grills. What is a grill, anyway? I am pretty sure it is a restaurant where meat or fish is grilled over charcoal (sometimes also called char-broiling). But in this case, I picked these restaurants because they all are called grills, not necessarily because they all cook the food on a charcoal grill (many places, like all the Joe’s in the Bay Area, cook this way but are not called grills). Perhaps the grill became popular in San Francisco in the 1940s when the Lazzari Fuel Company of San Francisco started importing mesquite charcoal for cooking. Anyway, here’s the post (with some changes and more photos).

 

Tadich Grill

Tadich Grill promotes itself as San Francisco’s oldest continuously running restaurant, which is a stretch if you look at its convoluted history. Moving back in time, the present location dates back to 1967, when it relocated from 545 Clay Street because Wells Fargo Bank, owners of the building, decided to redevelop the site. John Tadich, an immigrant from Croatia, originally opened the Clay Street restaurant as Tadich Grill, the Original Cold Day Restaurant, in 1912. He sold it to the current owners, the Buich family, in 1929.

 

photo by The Jab, 2012

photo by The Jab, 2012

 

Before John Tadich (from Croatia) opened Tadich Grill (“the Original Cold Day Restaurant”) he owned a different restaurant that was named the Cold Day Restaurant, which he purchased in 1887. The previous owners of the Cold Day Restaurant Tadich bought (also from Croatia) opened a tent on a wharf in 1849 selling grilled fish, which they named Coffee Stand. The tent became a shack, moved to the New World produce market on Commercial and Leidesdorff Streets, was renamed New World Coffee Stand and later the New World Coffee Saloon, relocating twice, finally ending up at 221 Leidesdorff Street. In 1882 it was renamed Cold Day Restaurant, the one Tadich bought. It was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire, after which he briefly re-opened the Cold Day Restaurant in another location, then moved it to yet another location before selling it and opening the Clay Street location in 1912 (the first restaurant named Tadich Grill).

 

photo by The Jab, 2012

photo by The Jab, 2012

 

So, if Tadich Grill is indeed the same restaurant from 1849 after 3 ownership changes, 8 locations, and several name changes, it seems like an exaggeration to me, especially compared to the oldest continuously operated restaurant in the U.S., Boston’s Union Oyster House, which opened in 1826 as the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House, and is still in the same location. Or the second oldest, Antoine’s in New Orleans, which opened in 1840, moved one block in 1868 to its present location, and has been run by the same family since the beginning! However, Tadich Grill definitely dates back to 1912, the first year it opened by its present name, which is some real longevity for a restaurant.

 

Tadich Grill, 545 Clay St., 1957 - photo by San Francisco Public Library Historical Photograph Collection

Tadich Grill, 545 Clay St., 1957 – photo by San Francisco Public Library Historical Photograph Collection

 

For a restaurant built in the 1960s it looks much older. There is a long bar / counter at the front, classic 1920s style tile floors, tables with bent wood chairs in the middle and back of the restaurant, and semi-private wooden “compartments” (the best word to describe them) with tables along one side of the long space.

 

Tadich Grill interior - photo by sfcitizen.com

Tadich Grill interior – photo by sfcitizen.com

 

Tadich Grill’s specialty is fresh fish grilled over Mesquite charcoal, which the Buich family says was introduced at Tadich Grill in 1924. But they also serve excellent Louie salads, such as a Dungeness Crab Louie (when in season), a great seafood Cioppino (an Italian tomato-based seafood stew), a locally historic dish called Hangtown Fry (bacon and fried oyster frittata), Oysters Rockefeller, and many more specialties. The sourdough bread is always good, and the martinis and Manhattans are well made. They do not take reservations and it’s very popular so be prepared to wait if you arrive during lunch or dinner.

 

Tadich Grill
240 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 391-1849
Open Mon-Fri 11:00am-9:30pm, Sat 11:30am-9:30pm, closed Sunday

See inside Tadich Grill (pan and zoom like in Google Street View):


View Larger Map

 

Sam’s Grill

photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

 

Sam’s Grill opened in 1931 by Sam Zenovich (Zenovich also owned a successful oyster company, whose origins go back to 1867 under the previous owner) as Sam’s Seafood Grotto, on California Street. In 1936 Zenovich passed away and Frank Seput purchased the restaurant, renaming it Sam’s Grill and Seafood Restaurant, which moved to its present location in 1946.

 

Photo by Douglas Zimmerman on Zagat.com

Photo by Douglas Zimmerman on Zagat.com

 

The restaurant is a great time-travel experience back to the 1940s, from the curtained private dining compartments with buzzers to call the white-jacketed waiters to the menu of many classic seafood and meat dishes. You will see dishes on the menu you rarely see anymore, such as Celery Victor, Crab Newburg, Stewed Tomatoes, Salisbury Steak, sweetbreads prepared three ways, and Long Branch potatoes. If you eat veal, I recommend the veal Porterhouse with bacon, perhaps with shoestring potatoes. If you feel like seafood the sand dabs and sole are good choices when in season (just ask the waiter which fish are fresh that day). The sourdough bread is justly famous here.

 

Sam’s Grill
374 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 421-0594
Open Monday-Friday only, 11:00am-9:00pm

See inside Sam’s Grill:


View Larger Map

 

John’s Grill

photo by army.arch on Flickr

photo by army.arch on Flickr

 

John’s Grill’s sign states that it opened in 1908, and a restaurant called John’s Grill was mentioned in Dashiell Hammett’s 1927 mystery novel The Maltese Falcon, set in San Francisco. But facts are hard to find (online anyway). The restaurant certainly looks old, though it has been remodeled more than Sam’s. In any case, it is a treat to visit, as it does have a lot of history, and it’s crammed with old photos and mementos, including a reproduction of the Maltese Falcon used in the film. The steaks are what to order here, which are aged Prime (USDA certification) or Black Angus (depending on the cut, I guess).

 

photo by John's Grill on Google.com

photo by John’s Grill on Google.com

 

John’s Grill
63 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 986-3274
Open Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sunday noon-10pm

 

Rogano, Glasgow, Scotland

My apologies for the three-week (!) gap in posts. Le Continental was enjoying a vacation at the Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, which of course included several visits to the Mai-Kai, as well as dining at old favorites Joe’s Stone Crab and Puerto Sagua in Miami Beach (posts on those coming soon). But today I would like to profile a beautiful restaurant I visited in Glasgow in 2012 in anticipation of my upcoming return to Glasgow this fall.

 

photo by shige-wallpaper-images.com

photo by shige-wallpaper-images.com

 

Rogano opened way back in 1874 as the Bodega Spanish wine cellar, but it was renamed Rogano later, after the manager James Henry Roger took over ownership with an anonymous silent partner. The name came from ROG in Roger plus ANO from “another” = Rogano. It was a men-only bar until Don Grant took over in 1935 and remodeled it into the restaurant it remains today. He was inspired to model the interior after the lavish Art Deco interiors (designed by the Bromsgrove Guild) of the RMS Queen Mary, which was built in Clydebank, Scotland, in 1930-34 for the Cunard Line as its flagship transatlantic ocean liner (now dry-docked in Long Beach, CA, as a hotel that is highly recommended by Le Continental). When Don Grant passed away in 1957 his daughter Valerie and her brother Donald took over the restaurant until the 1980s, when it was sold to Ken McCulloch, who restored it. Since then it has gone through a few corporate owners, so it is a small miracle that it has survived practically intact for almost 80 years. Over the years the restaurant has hosted many celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.

 

oyster bar, photo by The Jab, 2012

oyster bar, photo by The Jab, 2012

 

The restaurant consists of three areas: the oyster bar, the main restaurant, and the downstairs café.

 

oyster bar, photo by The Jab, 2012

oyster bar, photo by The Jab, 2012

 

The Oyster Bar is a casual walk-in bar with some tables and counters that serves a fairly low-cost menu (under £10) of oysters, seafood plates, and sandwiches, from 11:00 am until 12:00 midnight daily. This is where I slurped down some superb oysters and chased them with Champagne on my visit in 2012. It is a beautiful space in mostly original restored woods with bas-relief murals, decorative vents, and etched mirrors on the walls.

 

Oyster Bar, photo by The Jab, 2012

Oyster Bar, photo by The Jab, 2012

 

The main restaurant has more of the same gorgeous Art Deco decor as in the Oyster Bar, with starched linen covered tables and upholstered banquettes for seating. The restaurant is more formal with lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner service (reservations highly suggested).

 

Dining Room - photo by The Jab, 2012

Dining Room – photo by The Jab, 2012

 

The restaurant menu is more extensive (and pricier), mainly local seafood with a few steaks and other meat dishes also offered. Specialties of the house include a fish soup, Scottish or Irish oysters, filet of sole, grilled langoustines (small lobster or scampi) with butter, lobster Thermidor, and a grand Scottish Fruits de Mer platter of mussels, langoustines, oysters, prawns, pickled herring, smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, and crab. There is a 3-course prix fixe menu special from 6:00pm-7:00pm daily except Saturday, a tasting menu with optional wine pairing, and a separate vegetarian menu.

 

langoustines - photo by Tripadvisor.com

langoustines – photo by Chris997 on Tripadvisor.com

 

Downstairs is a casual café with a smaller menu and lower prices. But the decor isn’t original 1930s Art Deco like on the main floor. Instead the room is new Art Deco with walls of dark wood covered with framed black and white photos of famous people from the past. Le Continental would prefer to dine in the main restaurant or oyster bar with such details as the following pictures show.

 

photo by The Jab, 2012

photo by The Jab, 2012

 

photo by The Jab, 2012

photo by The Jab, 2012

 

photo by The Jab, 2012

photo by The Jab, 2012

 

Which Champagne bottle size do your prefer?

 

photo by The Jab, 2014

photo by The Jab, 2014

 

 

Rogano
11 Exchange Pl, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G1 3AN, United Kingdom
phone +44 141 248 4055
Open daily – lunch 12:00pm-2:30pm; afternoon tea 3:00pm-5:00pm; dinner 6:00pm-10:30pm
Oyster Bar open daily 11:00am (noon on Sunday) until 12:00 midnight (bar menu until 11:00pm)
Cafe open daily 12:00pm-11:00pm

 

Grand Central Oyster Bar, New York City, New York

I recently heard some good news about the reopening of 101-year-old Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal after a long restoration. The renovation started after its centennial last year, one room at a time, and the restaurant was closed earlier this year to redo the kitchen. The signature tiled arched ceilings were restored by replacing damaged tiles with painstakingly reproduced ones that match perfectly with the original tiles from 1913 that remained.

 

Grand Central Terminal Restaurant, c. 1920 - image from  Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Grand Central Terminal Restaurant, c. 1920 – image from Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

 

The Grand Central Terminal Restaurant and Oyster Bar was opened by the Union News Company in 1913, only two weeks after the magnificent Beaux-Arts Grand Central Terminal opened (a terminal is a railroad station that is at the end of a railroad line; when Grand Central opened it was the terminus of the New York Central Railroad’s line into Manhattan). Beautifully designed by architect Raphael Gustavino, for many years it was not primarily a seafood restaurant, but instead served a varied menu of dishes popular at the time. However, from the start it always had a popular oyster bar which featured a selection of raw oysters and the popular oyster stews and pan roasts. The restaurant catered to all walks of life, from the rich and famous traveling in style, who may have eaten in the main dining room (see picture above), to the average train traveler or commuter, who may have eaten at the more casual lunch counters, the oyster bar, or in the saloon in the back of the restaurant. Remarkably, all the different rooms are still in use and are now restored to how they probably looked in 1974, when the restaurant reopened after closing due to lack of business caused by the decline of long distance train travel in the U.S.

 

Grand Central Oyster Bar 1970s - image from Eater.com

Grand Central Oyster Bar 1970s – image from Eater.com

 

Starting in the 1950s Grand Central was threatened with demolition for new high-rise buildings, a battle which lasted until it was designated a New York City Landmark in 1967 and a National Historic Landmark in 1975 (Jackie Kennedy Onassis was instrumental in saving it). When I was a teenager in the 1970s a fascination with trains since childhood and my wanderlust prompted me to take two cross-country train trips from San Diego on early Amtrak trains that were still running vintage, streamliner-era rail cars acquired from the railroads when Amtrak took over most passenger trains in 1971. Train travel was pretty cheap then so I could afford private roomettes on some trains, but I didn’t mind spending a night or two in coach at that young age (and the long distance coach cars then had tons of leg room and reclined nearly flat). I arrived in New York City by train in the mid-1970s at Penn Station and after my visit I departed out of Grand Central Terminal to Chicago on the Lake Shore Limited (the Hudson River route of the famous 20th Century Limited; Amtrak stopped using Grand Central in 1991). I remember exploring the worn out and nearly empty Grand Central that day and how depressing yet fascinating as a time-warp it was.

image from http://www.oysterbarny.com/

image from http://www.oysterbarny.com/

In 1974 the restaurant closed so the Metropolitan Transit Authority approached Jerome Brody, president of Restaurant Associates, Inc. (owners of many of the finest restaurants in NYC, including the Four Seasons, The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, The Rainbow Room, and La Fonda del Sol), to take over the space. The restaurant quickly reopened (in 1974) with a seafood-focused menu and a new logo (pic at right) but thankfully with the same appearance. It struggled for two decades until 1997, when there was a fire which nearly destroyed the restaurant. Many of the tiles and most of the equipment were damaged but it reopened just in time for the completion in 1998 of a four-year restoration of Grand Central Terminal. In 1999, I visited the Terminal and restaurant (my first visit) on a trip to NYC for a family reunion to celebrate my grandparents’ 90th birthdays (they were both born on the same date). I had heard about the Oyster Bar in Jane and Michael Stern’s 1997 book Eat Your Way Across The U.S.A. During my visit I also took the fascinating Grand Central neighborhood walking tour, which happens every Friday, is free, and is highly recommended by Le Continental.

 

Grand Central Oyster bar today - image by amny.com

Grand Central Oyster bar today – image by amny.com

 

Now that the recent restoration is complete I can’t wait to return, have a pan roast (a must for first time visitors), and some fresh, raw oysters!

 

Grand Central Oyster bar today - image by amny.com

Grand Central Oyster bar today – image by amny.com

 

For further reading about the Grand Central Oyster Bar’s history, I recommend the articles on the wonderful I Ride The Harlem Line blog and on Eater.com’s Living Legends feature.

 

Grand Central Oyster Bar
89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017 (lower level)
(212) 490-6650
Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-9:30pm, closed Sundays

 

Shadowbrook, Capitola, California

Along the Soquel River in the village of Capitola near Santa Cruz there is one of the most unique restaurants in the United States, that has survived (in fact, it thrives) since 1947. My copy of the 1959-60 AAA Tour Book describes Shadowbrook as “enchanting”, which is probably the most apt term to describe it in one word.

 

Postcard

 

The original building on the site of the restaurant was a simple cabin that was used as a summer home in the 1920s. This was later enlarged into a house that was used as a tea room in the 1930s, which included a large stone fireplace, now a major feature in Shadowbrook’s original dining room. The tea room had a boat that taxied guests along the river to and from a nearby beach. Sometime later the house was abandoned, but in the 1940s a fellow named Brad McDonald discovered it overgrown with brush and purchased it. In 1947 Brad and his partner Ed Phillippet opened Shadowbrook restaurant. Brad was the maitre’d and waiter, while Ed was the cook.

 

This appears to be the oldest photo of the restaurant, before the expansion in the 1950s. Image from Shadowbrook Restaurant's website.

This appears to be the oldest exterior photo of the restaurant, before the expansion in the 1950s. Image from Shadowbrook’s website.

 

diners in the main dining room - image from Shadowbrook's website

diners in the first floor main dining room – image from Shadowbrook’s website

 

another early photo of the original dining room - image from Shadowbrook's website

another early photo of the original dining room – image from Shadowbrook’s website

 

the original dining room today (also called the fireside room) - image by Shadowbrook's website

the original dining room today (also called the fireside room) – image by Shadowbrook’s website

 

On the second floor is the bar, which is where the main entrance to the restaurant is today. In the early days the cocktail lounge included an impressive mid-century freeform bar with tuck & roll upholstery, a large rock wall and fireplace to the left, a modern beam and lattice open ceiling, rustic furniture and western lamps, a parquet dance floor, and a large antique cash register. Gorgeous!

 

original cocktail lounge and bar - image by Shadowbrook's website

original cocktail lounge and bar – image by Shadowbrook’s website

 

HERE'S HOW! - image from Shadowbrook's website

HERE’S HOW! – image from Shadowbrook’s website

 

Sometime in the 1950s the original dining room was enlarged with an extension that had large angled windows which allowed guests to dine with better views of the gardens and river.

 

Shadowbrook by artist James Warren, originally in Ford Times, 1961 – image by http://1950sunlimited.tumblr.com

 

 

Cable CarYou may be wondering by now what the red phone booth is doing on the hillside next to the restaurant. In the 1950s a cable car was installed to carry guests from a parking lot above the restaurant! It is still in use and adds to the charm of a Shadowbrook visit. Note: it is not a funicular like Angel’s Flight, which has two cars that act as counterweights. This works like San Francisco’s cable cars, where the car grips a moving cable.

 

 

 

 

In the old days you could also arrive by boat!

image from Shadowbrook's website

image from Shadowbrook’s website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1972 Shadowbrook was sold to the owners of the Crows Nest in Santa Cruz. Then in 1978 a manager of the restaurant Ted Burke acquired Shadowbrook with a partner who has since retired. Ted is the current owner. In the 1970s through the 1990s the restaurant was modified and expanded a lot. Some of the additions, though more modern than the original design, look good in my opinion. In particular, the circular brick patios on the hillside next to the restaurant look very nice. Many new rooms were added in this period, including the Garden Room (where I dined on my recent visit), the Redwood Room, and others. Some are used mainly for private functions but are also used on busy nights.

 

patios at Shadowbrook - image from Shadowbrook's website

patios at Shadowbrook – image from Shadowbrook’s website

 

Also, some of the changes to the bar (now called the Rock Room) have a design reminiscent of some famous modern architects, such as William Cody’s angular styles in Palm Springs. I like the huge beams that continue through to the outside and the greenhouse effect of the angled windows. The bar or Rock Room was modified a lot in 1997. It now has a fireplace, a wood burning pizza oven, a large marble-topped bar, and plenty of rocks and plants.

 

Rock Room - image from Shadowbrook's website

Rock Room – image from Shadowbrook’s website

 

The menu at Shadowbrook is probably best described as Californian or New American cuisine. The menu changes daily, but usually there are several steak and meat dishes (prime rib is a specialty), plus many fish entrees. We started with the calamari in the bar and it was probably the best calamari I’ve ever had. Super fresh and very tender. Not at all chewy. Lightly seasoned & battered and served with two delicious sauces. As Le Continental has suggested in restaurant tips, always try the house specialties, so I was disappointed when the waiter announced they were out of prime rib. We asked the waiter what he recommended, which is usually a good ‘plan B’ if you aren’t sure what to order. He replied the lamb and the filet mignon. I was in the mood for lamb, so I ordered that. It was a sliced loin of lamb and was a little chewy and not very tender. I would recommend sticking with a steak or perhaps some seafood since the calamari was so good. Another plus: the restaurant makes all its baked goods from scratch.

 

Postcard2

 

Shadowbrook is very popular so it can be crowded, especially on weekend nights. Reservations are a must on weekends. They are also very popular for weddings. I called to reserve a table on a Saturday a couple of weeks in advance and tried to request the original dining room but was told “we don’t accept room preferences on reservations, but you will enjoy any of our tables”. I must admit I found that policy not very accommodating for the restaurant business. At the Mai-Kai you can reserve a table in any room you wish. I know that, like myself, most of my readers seek out restaurants that are historic so they can have the time travel experience of dining in a historic dining room, not in a newly remodeled room or a new addition. Well, when we arrived an hour early so we could enjoy the bar for a while I asked the hostess of we could dine in the “original dining room”. She replied that they were really busy but she would try. I told her that we are in no rush so we didn’t mind waiting for a table in the historic room. After a half-hour or so the hostess called us and told us she didn’t have a table in the original dining room because the tables in that room are for parties of six. So they sat us in the Garden Room, which was very nice (it was an add-on off the original dining room with mostly windows, like a greenhouse, with a large tree trunk that they built the room around) but not as desirable to me as the old dining room. Please pardon my gripe. I know this isn’t a big complaint (and I’m not like some people on Yelp that give only one star for such a minor issue) but it is important to me where I sit when visiting a historic restaurant. I think that Shadowbrook should try to be more accommodating in this regard.

 

image from Shadowbrook's website

image from Shadowbrook’s website

 

Don’t let my minor complaint dissuade you from visiting Shadowbrook. It is an amazing place…and so unique! Just try to go on a weeknight if possible, and bring plenty of cash because it is expensive. Save time for a stroll through the gardens, which are beautifully landscaped and lighted. Tree ferns abound and water flows throughout the grounds and even into the Rock Room bar!

 

Shadowbrook
1750 Wharf Rd, Capitola, CA 95010
(831) 475-1511
Open for dinner Mon-Fri 5:00pm-8:45pm, Sat 4:30pm-9:45pm, Sun 4:30pm-8:45pm (what’s up with the odd closing hour?)
The Rock Room lounge is open longer (check the website) and has entertainment weekend nights as some weeknights (the night I went there was a singer with a guitar who was turned up too loud, in my opinion).
Dress code: casual to dressy (no beach attire, thank goodness) – Le Continental recommends dressy as most guests here dress nice (it’s very popular for dates).

John’s Oyster Bar, Sparks, Nevada

Recently Le Continental reported the imminent closure of Trader Dick’s at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Hotel in Sparks. Personally, it will be hard for me to return to Reno once Trader Dick’s is gone since I have so many good memories there. But I’m sure someday I will go back because I’m quite fond of the area. And when I do you can bet I will eat at John’s Oyster Bar in the Nugget, which has been one of my favorite seafood restaurants in the country for several years. I know what you’re thinking: “seafood in Nevada?!”. I usually stick to my rule of ordering seafood in coastal areas, but this classic nautical seafood restaurant is an exception because of their fresh seafood served in classic preparations that you can only otherwise get on the east coast.

 

main dining room - image by The Jab

 

John’s Oyster Bar was opened in 1959 by Dick Graves, original owner of the Nugget, after visiting the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. In 1960 the Nugget’s manager John Ascuaga took over ownership of the casino and hotel. I don’t know when the restaurant was named John’s, perhaps early on but possibly in 1979, when it was relocated to its present location near the casino entrance on Victorian Ave (there is a small parking lot there which is very close so you won’t have to walk by what was once Trader Dick’s). In any case, the restaurant’s wonderful rustic nautical decor in dark woods appears to date back almost to the beginning (as do some of the staff!). As noted in my post on Trader Dick’s the hotel was recently purchased from John Ascuaga by a large corporation and will undergo some remodeling. Although they have been open about their plans for the Trader Dick’s space (it’s going to become a Gilly’s chain restaurant) they have not announced any plans to remove or remodel John’s Oyster Bar (or the steakhouse). When I was there earlier this month I asked some of the staff at the oyster bar (who still wear sailor outfits!) if the company was going to change or remove the restaurant and they replied emphatically “no”. Let’s hope they are right!

 

the oyster bar - image by The Jab

the oyster bar – image by The Jab

 

What makes John’s Oyster Bar so unique (and one of my favorite seafood places) is that you can get old-fashioned east coast favorites such as pan roasts and stews, made from scratch to order from the freshest seafood. My favorite dish at John’s is the pan roast, which is a delicious stew made from your choice of oysters, shrimp, crab, or lobster (or in combinations), with white wine, clam broth, cream, butter, cocktail sauce, and lemon juice, all made from scratch in a special steam-heated pan, which swivels so the cook can pour it in a bowl when it’s done without spilling a drop. I love to sit at the bar near the pans and watch them cook my roast. As far as I have found, this is the only place in the west where they cook in these pans and I have never seen a pan roast on any west coast seafood restaurant menu. On my recent visit a couple sat near me that drove all the way up from Sacramento just to get a pan roast!

 

pan roast preparation - image by The Jab

pan roast preparation – image by The Jab

 

The restaurant’s menu also offers seafood stews with butter and cream (made in the special pans), seafood cocktails and Louie salads, fresh oysters on the half shell, steamed clams, cioppino and bouillabaisse, as well as seafood sandwiches and some fried platters, and the Seafood Extravaganza of Maine lobster, jumbo prawns, scallops, calamari, crab, clams, and mussels sautéed with tomatoes, garlic, shallots, & herbs, finished with white wine and lemon juice ($23.50). But I’ll have a pan roast, if you please.

 

pan roast - image by The Jab

pan roast – image by The Jab

 

John’s Oyster Bar
1100 Nugget Ave, Sparks, NV
(775) 356-3300
Open daily 11:00am – 9:00pm