Having dined at Liverpool Lil's off-and-on for the last tens years but never reviewing it -- we decided revisit the restaurant after a break of several years stemming from a rude experience with a manager after dropping a couple of hundred dollars dining there with some out-of-town friends we had taken there for dinner. Prior to that unfortunate incident it was the food that was always a draw not the management staff -- and we were pleased to see that although the menu has had a few alterations-- that the food remains consistently good and portions plentiful making this one of the best values in the Cow Hollow/Marina district area.
The restaurant sits outside the historic Lyon Street gate entrance into the Presidio and offers both indoor and outdoor seating -- which means it is dog-friendly and a plus for those of us with canine dining companions. The interior of the eatery is defined in dark wood and has both booth and table seating as most English pubs would that it seeks to resemble. You may also eat at the bar, although anticipate that when the locals arrive to drink -- it does get crowded and offer less elbow room. If you elect to eat outside, you will probably want to do that when the weather is prime or sunny and there is no fog or wind blowing up off Lyon Street from the Bay about 3-4 blocks away. They do have overhead heaters, but those few table fill quickly and if you are not directly under one of the heaters you don't reap their benefit.
The restaurant does offer all meals with extensive selections, including a brunch menu. Some of the items you will find on the lunch and dinner menus are repetitive of themselves -- but the dinner entrees usually come in larger portions -- which can be relatively generous in size. There are several appetizers available to choose from and on this visit we chose the Sausage-stuffed Mushrooms ($10) and were not particulary fond of them -- the sausage filling may have been too finely blended with bread crumbs prior to stuffing the mushrooms which rendered them watery and not pleasing to the bite. The better choices were the Salt-and Pepper Calamari, which is served on a bed of crisp arugula that has been dressed with a light asian-citrus dressing or the Dungeness Crab Raviolis which are served dressed with a truffle-infused cream sauce and topped with pine nuts and grated sharp cheese (both $11).
Lunch offerings run the gamut from sandwiches to meal-sized salads and burgers all in the $11-$14 range and full entree plates which are in the $17-24 range. The Prime Rib French Dip and Reuben sandwiches are both good choices with nice portions of well-trimmed meat to bread and side accompaniments. The burger is standard fare but can be enhanced with add-ons like a variety of cheeses or applewood smoked bacon, avocado, etc; the Club Sandwich is well-constructed and towers with its contents of fresh baked turkey breast and bacon and garden condiments. There is also a vegetarian sandwich selection in the form of a Grilled Portabella Mushroom offering. The lunch salads (all $14) are again very generous portions teeming with various contents with the option of having a Classic Cobb; Classic Spinach; or a Caesar that can be kicked up with grilled chicken or a few grilled white prawns for a supplemental $4. Some of the lunch entree selections range from Sole with a brown butter sauce and lemon; Shepherd's Pie made with lamb; crisp and fresh-tasting Fish and Chips; a grilled skirt steak and a pork chop both served with either garlic mashed potatoes or crisp pomme frite-style fries and a seasonal veggie. The lunch plate entrees range from $17 and topping out at $24 for the Seafood Stew.
As mentioned, the Dinner menu replicates the lunch menu with several additonal items in both the appetizer and entree offerings. The French Onion soup ($8) here is a repeat request when we go and can easily be shared by two for a starter -- it is composed of a base of veal broth with which the onion taste melds well and topped with both Gruyere and Mozzarella cheeses oozing over the sides of the ramekin. Dinner entrees will range again from about $18-$24 -- and you shouldn't have to but ask if there are any specials. On this most recent visit we ordered the Pork Chop ($21) and the Beef Tenderloin Filet ($23) as our dinner choices. The pork chop at Lil's is almost always my go-to and the thick cut Bledsoe Farms chops is always grilled to perfection and is moist and full of flavor. It is served on a well-seasoned puree of purple Peruvian potato with sauteed kale -- although they are more than willing to change out the kale for the garlic-sauteed spinach instead upon request -- which I recommend. The Beef Tenderloin was also very well handled and came to the table with its pink perfection in the center and was tender throughout, as it should be. The steak was above-average in size for what you usually get for even more money at some other eateries on SF and had garlic mashed potatoes and lightly sauteed green beans that were not overcooked and retained their bite.
If you arrive for dinner during the week between 5P-7P, LIverpool Lil's offers a prix fixe menu offering for a great value of $23, which allows you a choice of a soup or salad; an entree selections from 4-5 menu choices; and a dessert choice. A definitive deal.
Liverpool LIl's is also known for having a great selection of beers and ales both on tap and bottled -- imported and craft-brewed locally. Their cocktails are generously poured and they have a good selection of both standard and top-shelf spirits. Wine is also available by the bottle or glass to accompany your meal, if you should so choose.
I notice that the attached online menu link has not been recently updated, but ithe menu does contain everything listed as well as some other items which don't appear on the online menu webpage. http://www.liverpoollils.com/Menus.htm
Lil's stays open late and serves food until midnight most evenings. It does get busy around 7P or later on weekend nights, but service moves quickly and tables open up relatively fast. If you should arrive and be told that you have a wait of say half an hour -- put your name in and then walk across the street into the Presidio and stroll through the Lucas Gardens that sit directly behind the large dual glass-fronted building with the red tile roofs which you can see from the front of the restaurant. You can call ahead for reservations at (415) 921-6664 and stroll the gardens afterwards and walk off some of your meal.
LIverpool LIl's homepage can be found here and there is a link on it for directions also -- it is also easy to find street parking easily along the Presidio wall within sight of the restaurant. http://www.liverpoollils.com/
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