Eating Late in a Sleepy City

It’s been a long time since we were late-night people, if we ever really were. At least when we lived in the city, we had a chance, but suburbia doesn’t really lend itself to a roaring social schedule after 10. On Tuesday night though, a friend arriving at SFO near midnight inspired us to venture out for a late dinner in the city. It turns out it may be just as well that we aren’t late night people because, unlike New York, there aren’t many obvious options for the uninitiated to eat after 10 in San Francisco.At quarter to 10 on a Tuesday night, we figured there wouldn’t be much of a wait at Cha Cha Cha. We hadn’t been in ages and the plantains, spicy shrimp, and sangria are guilty pleasures. We were so wrong about the timing: there was a 45-minute wait for a table and no sign of a space at the bar opening any time soon. So, back in the car with the Zagat restaurant map and two cell-phones, we racked up a long list of restaurants where the kitchen closes at 10. Our options came down to Mexican food in the Mission, Indian in the Tenderloin, and Bacar.Bacar is around the corner from our former apartment in SF and has always had good food, an extensive list of wines by the glass, and live jazz. Even they had been planning on closing the kitchen early until we called, but quick ordering brought us tastes of pinot from Willamette Valley, Russian River, and France that went nicely with the mixed wild mushroom pizza, beet and boucheron salad, and seared tuna. While I don’t have plans for another late-night meal anytime soon, I am hoping to be better prepared when the occasion arises. Any recommendations?