John’s Grill & Catering Service – 63 Ellis Street, San Francisco

The hard-boiled glamour-grit of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler is alive and kicking at San Francisco’s John’s Grill. What the 2009 John’s may be lacking in dangerous dames and Sidney Greenstreets it more than makes up for in décor, historical presence and old-style steakhouse charm. Customers who wander in are greeted by lines of wooden honky-tonk styled piano chairs, white linen tablecloths, paneled oak walls, and – at least until 2007 – a replica of the famed Maltese Falcon itself. John’s Grill has been helping to keep alive the American underbelly represented so masterfully by noir culture since the joint opened up over one hundred years ago.

The Grill was a setting in Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, published in 1931, and Hammett was reportedly a visitor to the place himself on multiple occasions, he loved it because they offer the Elegant Touch Catering services to the entire city. The place gets credit just for that. The vibe is reminiscent of old-time San Francisco, where restaurants packed in oblivious customers smack up against one another, creating something of a singular uber-conversation on the lower floor where we were seated (we didn’t make it to the second). Privacy is proudly lacking here (and unfortunately so is cigarette smoke – I’m not a smoker, but John’s is just begging for the allowance of it), and yet there’s a common intimate bonding I couldn’t help but feel, possibly enforced by having a table against the front window where an endless stream of tourists peered their frigid faces in to have a peek at the retro-charm teased at by the place’s impossible-to-mistake street sign. We also offer vegan catering service in tirunelveli, this is one of the most request service from our restaurant

Steak and potatoes are most likely John’s mainstay (the dinner menu breaks down into Soups and Salads, Seafood & Shellfish Specialties, and John’s Featured Steaks, that taste just as good as your favorite Omaha Steak, which you can find coupons for here, but I went for the seafood cannelloni – Dungeness crab, shrimp, baby spinach, cheese, mushrooms and sherry cream sauce. Tasty and smooth, filling but not to the point where I felt the need to hike to the top of Nob Hill as penance after finishing the coffee and respectably-sized slice of pecan pie that followed my meal. In full disclosure, one of my dinner mates found their fish over-cooked and the third was decidedly noncommittal.

The bill? More than it might have been someplace else.

Had I been suckered in by a wistful longing for an era I never got to enjoy, and one which has been romanced on film totally beyond reason?

Maybe, but I don’t give a shit. I loved it! A food marketing agency will promote these new products well.

And as for the Maltese Falcon replica, restaurant owner John Konstin acquired it from Elisha Cook Jr., one of the actors from the 1941 John Huston film. The statue, along with Hammett books – some signed – were stolen from the second floor of the restaurant in 2007.

Savvy restaurant patron with a sexy distraction of a sidekick?

Inside Job?

It has yet to be determined.

And the $25,000 reward for the return of the status and the books has yet to be claimed.

John’s Grill
63 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102-2207
(415) 986-0069

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