Time Warp

It's clear from the sign out front that the Old San Francisco Steak House (8611 Westheimer, 713-783-5990) is in a time warp. But I still can't decide what time warp. Is it supposed to take us back to the late '60s, when theme restaurants like Victoria Station were all the rage (when was the last time you were given a cubed brick of Swiss cheese to munch on, anyway)? Or should we focus on the 1890s Barbary Coast theme that practically knocks you over the head? Every inch of wall space is crammed with advertisements from the day: five-cent cigars, long-forgotten San Francisco beers...There's even a Rubenesque nude hanging above the lady playing piano. The high-ceilinged dining room reminds me of an Old West bordello; I keep waiting for a dead man to fall from a floor above. Images of an 1890s girl named Gussie Lee grace the menu, life-size murals and a paperback book available for purchase. Even the hostess bears a striking resemblance to her. All of a sudden the young Gussie Lee climbs aboard a turn-of-the-century swing, straps herself in and ascends all the way to the rafters until she can kick the cowbells hanging there. After that, I needed what the menu promised was "a drink sure to tickle your tonsils."

The Old San Francisco Steak House's Trolley Tickler:

5 ounces Smirnoff Ice
Half-ounce Chambord

In a tall hurricane glass filled with ice, mix ingredients with a straw.

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