Our Gourmet: Something new at an old favorite

June 12. 2018 8:37PM

San Francisco Kitchen
133 Main St., Nashua; 886-8833; www.sfkitchen.com

Hours: Lunch, Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner Monday-Wednesday 5-10 p.m., Thursday 5-11, Friday & Saturday, 5-midnight, Sundauy 4-10.

Cuisine: Asian fusion.

Pricing: Lunch: $7-$10.95; Apps $4.50-$18.95; Sushi: rolls $3.50-$5.50; Special rolls/sushi combo dinners $13.95-$38.95; Entrees $15.95-$26.95

Scores for SF Kitchen
Atmosphere: 18/20
Menu: 18/20
Food: 19/20
Service: 18/20
Value: 17/20
TOTAL: 90/100

It’s very tempting to return to a restaurant where you have enjoyed great meals before. But it can be difficult to recreate the level of the dining experience you remember.

To take the pressure off, when we return to a locale we make it a point to order items that we’ve never had there before.

San Francisco Kitchen has been cooking to the theme of “East Meets West” for more than 20 years on Main Street, right there on the ground floor of the Patriot Building. We’ve enjoyed a few meals there over the years.

This time, we vowed not to order what we’ve had before — and we almost succeeded.

SFK is a low-key, large, comfortable, homey Asian place with an obvious expertise in the kitchen. With a dining room totally separated from the cocktail lounge, and comfortable booths, it’s quiet and classy and a treat to eat there.

We started with a bowl of delicious soup and a small sushi appetizer. Now, sushi we’ve enjoyed there before, but this was a small taste of an SFK specialty so we decided it was OK to repeat.

Fisherman’s Pier Wonton Soup ($4.95) was new to us and now, of course, it’s one of our favorites. Perhaps it is mis-named for the famous Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco — but also, perhaps, thusly named on purpose. No matter. Fresh and hot (not spicy) came this steaming bowl of chicken broth with large chunks of tomatoes and sliced greens, and four wontons thoroughly stuffed with scallops, salmon and shrimp. Lots of broth makes it a worthy soup, and the wontons are bursting with seafood flavor.

The Sushi Sampler appetizer ($7.95) was a treat we knew would be enjoyed. The sampler offers four large slices of seasoned raw seafood, served over rice, one each of red fin tuna, salmon, red snapper and shrimp. Fresh sushi with SFK’s delicious spicy mayonnaise is, by itself, worth the trip, and the sushi menu is filled with entrees, combinations, special rolls and a la carte orders that can be your reason to come back to this restaurant.

SFK’s menu is expansive, and includes Japanese cuisine, the huge sushi section, and dozens of Chinese items. Lunch is reasonably priced with most menu items under $10, along with a buffet.

Dinners make good on the promise of East meeting West. All entrees come with bread and a side salad that is very American, and your choice of white, brown or fried rice, adding value at a restaurant that, while not high priced, can lead one to run up a tab with entrees, drinks and side orders. Among the entrees, which are dominated by seafood choices, there are lamb chops, filet mignon, roast pork tenderloin, and lots of chicken dishes.

We ventured for entrees of Pan-Seared Chicken Breast with Coconut Curry Sauce, and a dish we were shocked we had not tried before — San Francisco Kitchen Special Noodles (both $19.95). Both came with the fresh, crisp SFK Salad and the bread, which of course is a version of San Francisco sourdough. A very Western start to a very East-themed dinner.

The chicken dish included three large, thin filets of chicken, lightly breaded and pan fried, atop a dish of noodles and sliced vegetables and small fried-potato chunks.

The chicken was on top, and the rest of the dish was mixed under a blanket of rich curry sauce laced with coconut flavor. Very nicely prepared, with the chicken almost separated from the sauce, it’s a hearty serving, so we enjoyed a solid meal with plenty left over.

The SFK Special Noodle entree was the standout dish of the evening. Lots of shrimp and scallops are sauteed with plum tomatoes and pea pods, then stirred into a very light, creamy sauce and served over Chinese noodles. It is a plate full of goodness, and we loved it. The East/West promise, again, comes through in the unusual (for an Asian eatery) creamy sauce. But it works, and works very well, and we look forward to having it again when we are not obliged to pass on dishes we’ve ordered before.

We would guess SFK is popular with the downtown lunch crowd. Along with the Chinese and sushi items on the lunch menu, there is a $1 add-on with which one can get an egg roll, chicken fingers, crab rangoons, a house salad or other items normally found under appetizers on a Chinese menu.

San Francisco Kitchen is certainly a fine place to have a nice dinner, and it’s easily worth the trip to Nashua from the Manchester area. And once you visit, it’s very easy to go back for more.

Our GourmetNashua

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