Breeders' Banquet: Dining Out with Kids in SF

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Pacific Catch

on June 29, 2013

There’s this saying about raising kids. If you have kids I am sure some well-meaning but super-annoying person has said this to you. Head cocked, patronizing/indulgent smile on her face (it’s always a her), and then the slow eye blink before intoning stentorianly: “You know, the days are long but the years are short.”

Yes. The days ARE long. Sometimes my days last 20 hours straight, with no break. They are filled with whining and screaming, poop and pee, vomit and snot. They are also filled with laughing and dancing, and drawing and fart jokes, and museums and Beatles songs. As much as I want to punch those people in the throat for mouthing stupid platitudes, I don’t—  honestly, mostly because I wouldn’t have anyone to watch the kids while I went to jail for simple assault.

One thing that makes this whole stay-at-home-mom gig survivable are the other awesome moms and kids I’ve met along the way. Some of you (you know who you are) have saved me from that trip to jail and/or the mental institution, simply by offering to take my kid to the playground for a couple of hours or pouring a shot of Bailey’s into my decaf. These are my co-workers, and unlike some co-workers I’ve had, I enjoy their company— and the company of their great kids— a lot.

Sometimes it’s my turn to return the favor. A couple of weeks ago, the mom of one of the Jaybird’s BFFs needed a little break to take care of some home renovation-related business, so I offered to take BFF off her hands for a few hours. The Doctor was working late and BFFMom’s husband was as well, so we decided to meet at Pacific Catch in the Inner Sunset for dinner after Jaybird and the BFF finished their playdate.

Here’s a secret: playdates are awesome. The kids play together, obviating the need for the adult to play the 203rd game of “Fairy Veterinarian” or whatever nonsense the kids are torturing their parents with nowadays. The Jaybird and BFF spent a happy three hours destroying the house and leaving me to entertain only the Bitz. Convincing them to leave was a more complicated process. Seriously, how can it take 30 minutes to put on four shoes?

Anyway, I finally got all the minors loaded into the minivan and we headed over to the Inner Sunset. Pacific Catch has a small parking lot (VERY VERY SMALL) but all the spaces were taken. We found an unmetered street spot less than a block away on Lincoln, continuing our amazing parking streak here on Breeders’ Banquet.

Pacific Catch is located on a busy corner, but the front has some nice tables for the rare occasion when sitting outside is a good idea in the Golden Gate Park area.

Pacific Catch front dining area.

Pacific Catch front dining area.

I figured trying to wrangle three kids in an unfenced area near fast moving traffic was a poor idea, so we headed inside. The restaurant is basically two parts,  of which one is a sleek bar in front which was packed with UCSF employees in scrubs and other unencumbered young people. The hostess led us to the OTHER side of the restaurant, a dining area replete with booths and a few free-standing tables, as well as a lot of plants. I think they were bamboo.

Main dining room

Main dining room

A helpful busser brought us a high chair for the Bitz and the girls settled into their seats after a minor tiff over who would sit next to the baby. (I would gladly have let them sit on either side of him, but that would almost certainly result in a falling head injury for the Bitz). The hostess stopped by to drop off two chalkboards and two cups filled with bits of chalk! We did not ask for these, but they were a VERY welcome distraction.

Chalkboards!

Chalkboards!

I took my time looking over the menu, which is large and comprehensive. Pacific CAtch bills itself as a “fresh fish grill,” and indeed seafood in its many manifestations dominates (think Asian-American-Latin fusion), but there are plenty of choices for a dedicated carnivore. While I had my head buried in the sushi and salad sections, someone— perhaps our server, but s/he appeared and disappeared so quickly I cannot be certain— dropped off a dish of edamame and pretzel goldfish for BFF and Jaybird! Good thinking, Pacific Catch. Those goldfish headed off a simmering tsunami of hunger in the preschoolers.

Edamame and pretzelfish

Edamame and pretzelfish

It was just around this time that BFFMom arrived. We quickly decided to order some coconut shrimp for an appetizer and some cocktails for mommy’s little helpers. The girls ordered off the simple-but-adequate kids’ menu— fish & chips for the Jaybird and more coconut shrimp for BFF. I ordered the Korean BBQ rice bowl; BFFMom ordered the ahi salad. The kids were just starting to fight over the single piece of blue chalk when the appetizer arrived. The shrimp were tasty, if slightly greasy, and served very hot. Even the Bitz enjoyed them!

IMG_5795

There were more shrimp on this plate when it arrived, but you get the idea.

The drinks came next. Pacific Catch has a full bar as well as a fairly good wine and beer menu, so I had a martini, which was perfectly serviceable. BFFMom had the Berry Pisco Sour, which “tastes like floor cleaner, but in a good way” (Direct quote). The girls had water.

We were still hungry after demolishing all the shrimp so we ordered another round of them. They arrived about the same time as our entrees. The BBQ bowl tasted fresh and quite a bit spicier than I expected and suffered mostly from a surplus of rice. The salad was beautifully presented, but you know— it’s a salad.

Ahi Tuna Salad

Ahi Tuna Salad

Korean BBQ rice bowl

The kids’ meals came with a piece of steamed broccoli and an orange wedge, which I really appreciated. The fish and chips portion was more than generous, and the Jaybird ended up eating only about half of it. BFF ate most of her shrimp. All leftovers were deposited into the gaping maw of the Bitz. Seriously, this kid has to be on a growth spurt or something. He eats more than I do.

Fish & chips

Fish & chips

Coconut shrimp kid’s meal

I must give some well-deserved props to our waiter, who had clearly had a lot of experience serving families and kids. He was patient and efficient and tried to stop me from getting down on my hands and knees at the end of the meal to clean up the food debris left behind by the Bitz.

Once our meals were finished, we took a look at the dessert menu. The girls had earned it. We chose a single Mochi ball for each, which were devoured in under a minute each.

Everyone left Pacific Catch happy and sated. It’s nice to find a place that knows how to cater to kids without dumbing it down too much for the parents. While I wouldn’t call the cuisine particularly original or inspired, everything tasted fresh and good, and the relatively healthy options were a nice switch-up from the usual burgers-and-fries type stuff.

It’s wonderful to have good friends who don’t mind sharing their mayonnaise with you, isn’t it?

Good food and good friends!

Good food and good friends!

I’d definitely recommend Pacific Catch to families with kids of all ages. It’s conveniently located less than two blocks from the DeYoung Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, and I can see how it would be a relaxing place to chill out for parents and kids after a long day museum-ing.

THE STATS:

Rating: 7 out of 10

  • Changing Table: YES
  • Kids’ menu: YES
  • High Chairs: YES, standard restaurant high chairs

Pacific Catch 

(NOTE: Pacific Catch also has locations in the Marina, Corte Madera, and Campbell. Check the website for details).

1200 9th Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94122

415-504-6905 

pacificcatch.com

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