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San Francisco: Scala’s Bistro

On my last night in San Francisco I wanted to stay close to my hotel in Union Square and I really just wanted some small bite as I’d already spent a little time at The Slanted Door late that afternoon.  Before coming to the city, I had asked a local acquaintance where he would go in the area – somewhere that was comfortable but not necessarily upscale, in fact probably wouldn’t be found on the "best of" lists but still had good steady food and more importantly a friendly atmosphere.  I’d actually met this man here in Seattle, as his business brings him back and forth between the two cities.  He often frequents one of my favorite Seattle places so I knew he would know what I was looking for. 
Scala’s Bistro was one of the places on the list he sent me.  Just one block from my hotel it seemed like the perfect destination.  The place was packed when I arrived.  I managed to squeeze in at the very end of the rather short bar.  I started with a lovely glass of wine, hoping that a seat at the bar might open so that I could actually enjoy eating a little something.  I struck up a conversation with the woman next to me and that gave me someone to commiserate with when a group of young, intoxicated partiers decided to camp out next to us, sloshing drinks left and right.  They moved on and we both sighed in relief – no more vigilant watching of swaying cocktail glasses. 
On the other side of her was a family celebrating a brother’s college graduation.  Most of the family had traveled from Norway to see the baby of the family get his degree.  A place opened up on the other side of the family, I made a beeline for it and placed my food order, which arrived in short order.  I’d requested carpaccio as it’s one of my favorites when prepared well.  My order arrived and it was a generous serving of beef topped with a large mound of lightly dressed greens and shaved Parmesan. 
The salad was very good, the Parmesan fresh and the dressing the perfect amount.  The beef was just a tad disappointing.  Looking back I think it needed a little salt or maybe a bit of seasoned oil drizzled over it.  It was good just not great.  About this time the family between my new friend and I left their seats and so I moved back down to continue the conversation we had started earlier. 
I would say the Scala Bistro bar is a great place to go as a single diner – people, including the bartenders, were very friendly.  And the food is pretty good; comforting if not exciting and sometimes that’s really all you need. 
Scala’s Bistro
432 Powell Street
San Francisco

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