606 Folsom St San Francisco, CA 94107 (415) 243-0580
Nearly every review I have ever read of Fly Trap included the words classic, old-fashioned, celery victoire, businessmen or traditional. Hardly the types of words to attract me. However, seeing as Flytrap is the closest restaurant to my home (aside from the Indian next door to it), it so happens that from time to time, when it is late, we are feeling lazy and the fridge shows no sign of inspiring us to cook, we amble over there for a snack.
The decor is indeed classic but refreshing too. Pale yellows warm and brighten the place, as do the long mirrors behind the banquet seating separating the bar slightly from the main eating area. Crisp white table cloths, and candles, their flames dancing inside little crackled glass bowls keep the atmosphere fresh. The dozens of framed illustrations covering the walls may well be described as old fashioned, but it's certainly not a staid has-been space.
I like the FlyTrap menu, which, I think, is reprinted every day because they always have a set of a least half a dozen specials available. Many of their dishes appear to be large or rich so I usually just stick to the appetizers. This keeps the cost down too, as many of their main courses are well over the $20 mark.
The busboy brought water and very good warm bread to the table (a mix of white and walnut). Our wait for service on this occasion was a little longer than is acceptable. I think this was because several tables had arrived within a few minutes and the waiter was overstretched. Eventually we got the attention of someone so we could order drinks. As usual, F and I both decided on a glass of Bordeaux. When the wine arrived it tasted strange. I am not a wine connoisseur, but from instinct I could tell that although it wasn't corked, this wine was either not a Bordeaux, or it had been open to long and had oxidized, or something. Nervously I called over the waiter and explained that the wine didn't taste right to me. He kindly went off and opened a new bottle of the Bordeaux for us to try. I was relieved to find it tasted worlds apart from the first glass and so my confidence as a wine taster had not been dented. He replaced our glasses and we happily ordered our dinner.
F and I decided we needed some vegetables, so we opted to share the special heirloom tomato salad as a starter. This was presented as a large mound of frissee surrounded by slices of the different coloured and varieties of heirlooms, drizzled with oil and balsalmic. Although the red tomatoes were good, the green and yellow ones weren't ripe enough. Some were so bitter and hard that they were inedible. It was disappointing to spend $12.50 on a salad and the chef wasn't even able to select ripe tomatoes. It's not as if they are hard to come by at this time of year.
I followed up with a steaming mound of mussels and clams which were presented in a cast iron skillet, swimming in the garliciest of broths with a few slices of garlic toast. I like this dish, but I am not sure it's a good idea to choose it if you are on a date and hoping for a kiss later.
F, a creature of habit, ordered the cheese tortelloni which he raves about. On every visit to Flytrap, he has never tried anything else. I tried a forkful once and it was good, but truly wicked and cheesy and creamy and rich as any dish could be. I am sure if I had his kind of metabolism I would be able to enjoy such a calorific dinner, but as I don't I am happy to stick to smaller, safer, appetizers instead. Fly Trap