Contemporary American: Casual Elegant Cuisine in San Francisco

I like food. And I like to eat all kinds of food from all kinds of places. In fact, I’m discerning but not discriminating with food. Kind of like the way I am with people. I elevate my gastronomic choices to the same level of the people I choose to keep company with. Life is too short and valuable to make choices based on loose standards. Bad food and bad company are just terrible. Bad food with bad company is even more terrible. (Think bad date).

Anyway, I have discovered that I really like Contemporary American food. This experience is beyond fancy (and very expensive) grilled cheese sandwiches with massive marketing campaigns but more like sophisticated comfort food in a stylish setting. Think “casual elegant” style with the atmosphere, the crowd and the menu. Laid-back comfort with subtle but swanky zip.

Hello, San Francisco gastropub. Well hello, at least to Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen which was actually named after a historic figure of San Francisco, Jasper O’Farrell.

The restuarant/bar/gastropub is located in the Loin or more formally the Tenderloin neighborhood. Marketing people may call it the “Theater District” or the “Union Square District”. I call it “the Loin” but at the edge of the Loin closer to Union Square. It’s fun playing with the semantics of San Francisco neighborhoods. The Nobberloin, Tendernob or Lower Nob Hill is another location for good casual eateries and stylish nightlife near Jasper’s.

Anyway, back to my story. I grabbed some nibbles with a friend at Jasper’s on Saturday night prior to an event in Oakland. It’s in the Serrano Hotel, part of the Kimpton group of hotels. The design of the restaurant was stylish and modern, but not sleek and cold. Casual elegant. The big screen televisions had the sports on but not blasting. Staff was attentive but not overbearing. Crowd looked like an equal mix of hotel guests and locals.

We ended up ordering calamari, deviled eggs and a brussell sprouts with bacon veggie dish. (Kale and bacon works well, too. Hard to go wrong with bacon.)

All was enjoyable and then the dessert decision had to be made. We are both big fans of non-chocolate desserts so the winner was a huckleberry bread pudding with a Cointreau flavoring and complementary pear sorbet. It was perfectly not too sweet.

If you’ve enjoyed dining at Wayfare Tavern in the Financial District, then you will probably like Jasper’s Corner Tap. Jasper’s is less upscale but offers a similar style of cuisine and subtle sophistication.

So again. Life is short. Eat well. Be discerning, but not discriminatory. As you probably know, good food and good people create a lot of great memories and experiences in life. But enjoying the best food along with the best company is time not questionably wasted.



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