It's my last night in San Francisco. I told my friends at the tourism board that I wanted a relaxed, though casual, dinner as a send-off. They suggested John's Grill... and a meal with John. Um, OK. THE John from John's Grill? Let's do it!
The restaurant is a few blocks away from my hotel so I was able to walk over. And thankfully it was a few straight blocks without any twists and turns to get me lost. After a quick five-minute walk, the front door of the restaurant was opened for me and the hostess knew exactly who I was and who I was there to see.
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I'm seated at a booth waiting for John to join me. I glance over the menu but anticipate asking John for his recommendations. He comes over in a suit and I instantly feel underdressed. But, he's so welcoming and friendly that I soon forget that I'm exhausted from a full day of running around.
We're brought a bottle of their house wine that has been made custom for John's. I ask for a bottle to go but don't expect a doggy bag on my way out. John tells me the story of the restaurant and we look at the family photos on the wall. There are pictures everywhere. Sometimes they are sentimental family pics and others are of dignitaries who've become friends of the restaurant. And when I say famous faces, I mean the who's who. The likes of Hillary Clinton, Howard Stern, Bill Gates, Joe Montana, Marlon Brando and more know John's.
Dining with the stars
Top of The Charts and The Open Road with Jeremy Bradley broadcast from San Francisco for summer vacation
The main course comes and I have the broiled seabass. Being a garlic lover, the seasoned fish jumped out at me (from the menu, not literally). While I'm not one of those diners who makes a habit out of taking pictures of his food, I felt the need to do it while I was with the guy who helped create the menu.
Before I know it, the restaurant has cleared out and it's approaching midnight. John, who was supposed to leave an hour or two earlier, gave me a tour of the various dining rooms. When you first get there, it's easy to think there's only one eating area. Wrong. There are three floors of seating where parties of various sizes can enjoy private dining.