Three Bay Area Restaurants: Forty Years Later (Two Still Around)

March 18, 2016

I’ve been going through old papers, coming up with fascinating vintage artifacts. Yesterday I happened upon these three old menus from my days as restaurant critic at New West Magazine.


Apologies for cutting off the bottom. The Saturday dessert at Chez Panisse was crepes with fresh fig ice cream.


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This menu, from Bay Wolf in Oakland,  is from 1980; sadly the restaurant closed last year.

And from the beautiful St. Orr’s Inn in Gualala, up the coast,

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All three restaurants are still going strong.  Just for comparison’s sake, here are current menus:

This is Chez Panisse for this week, March 14-March 19, 2016

Monday, March, 14 $75
Grilled shrimp with sauce mousseline; asparagus, endive, and chervil salad
Boeuf carbonnade à la flamande: Stemple Creek Ranch beef short ribs braised
with onions and beer with carrots, turnips, and herbed noodles
Hazelnut, tangerine, and chocolate sherbets with citrus tuile

Tuesday, March 15 $100
Pennyroyal Farm goat cheese soufflé with pickled beets, asparagus,
and herb salad
Pan-roasted black cod with carrot purée and picholine olive, preserved lemon,
and coriander salsa
Grilled rack, loin, and leg of Full Belly Farm lamb with crispy new potatoes,
cardoon and chard gratin, and harissa
Orange-cardamom ice cream with Lindsey’s almond cake and Page mandarins

Wednesday, March 16 $100
Cannard Farm asparagus and leeks with mustard vinaigrette
and rocket blossom fritters
Seared sea scallops with nettle risotto and crispy pancetta
Grilled breast and braised leg of Sonoma County duck with roasted artichokes,
new potatoes, sautéed spinach, and escarole
Blood orange and grapefruit sorbetti with tangerine granita

Thursday, March 17 $100
Smoked black cod and asparagus salad with anise hyssop
and red and golden beet relish
Sheep’s-milk ricotta gnocchi with sweet peas, Pecorino, and sage
Wolfe Ranch quail grilled with myrtle; with artichoke gratin, Bob’s watercress,
and Marsala wine sauce
Toasted almond parfait and mandarin sorbetto meringata

Friday, March 18 $125
Local halibut and yellowtail jack tartare with ginger, silver lime,
and red celery salad
Sweet pea and sorrel agnolotti in wild mushroom brodo
Llano Seco Ranch pork loin grilled with sage; with parsnip puree,
purple peacock kale, and mustard seed sauce
Citrus millefoglie

Saturday, March 19 $125
Cape Cod sea scallop and fennel salad with Valencia oranges, cilantro flowers,
and garden cress
Asparagus and celery root soups with wild mushroom croûton
Grilled Watson Ranch lamb rack, loin, and leg with Béarnaise sauce,
sautéed new potatoes, and snap peas
Bittersweet chocolate fondant with walnut ice cream and nocino caramel

The final menu on the Bay Wolf website is from August. It must have been the last supper.


Celebrating Forty Years

August 25 – 30, 2015


Duck & rosemary focaccia


Double duck foot soup • savory duck meatballs

Scallops • black-eyed peas, pancetta

Gizzards & grapes • duck liver flan

BayWolf Caesar salad • quackers


Local king salmon • chile-corn cakes

Seared duck breast • red wine-shallot flan

Moroccan-style duck tagine • spiced couscous, preserved lemon

Grilled tournedos Rossini • glazed carrots, pain de mie (with or without foie gras)


Chocolate soufflé cake • candied almonds

Summer berry pudding

Seasonal fruit sorbets • coconut macaroon


….seventy-five dollars….

St. Orr’s current prices are $45 to $50 for a three-course dinner.

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  • We lived in the area during that time. What has happened to the abalone? One of my husband’s fav meals.

    Brings back old memories. Some of Geary Blvd, in the city.

    – Brenda

  • Anonymous says:

    Today everyone tries so hard to SOUND fancy but menus from 40 years ago were every bit as good and often even more appealing.
    The audience should demand a turnaround to some of the “old” gourmet and give up some of today’s outlandish and, frankly, forced combinations. The “old” are straightforward and far less contrived.
    BUT there are always those who will swallow almost anything, any combination, and smile with forced admiration and affirmation because they think it (they) is (are) cool.