Ditchin’ the Dining Hall: Clement Street Edition

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Clement Restaurant
Clement Street’s Q offers a sophisticated and moderately priced version of comfort food perfect for USF students looking to leave campus to eat, but not venture too far. (Hunter Patterson|Foghorn)

A few weeks ago on a crisp Friday evening around 7:30, my girlfriend and I were walking down Clement Street looking for a place to eat. We stumbled across the restaurant Q, a place she had eaten at before and suggested we try. It almost looked like a nightclub from the outside: there was music playing, people waiting outside sipping drinks and a curtain blocking the entrance. The wait was about an hour and we decided to head elsewhere, but we were intrigued. Last Sunday, around 8:30 p.m., we decided to try again. This time, Q was much less chaotic, proving that the weekend really does end after Saturday night. We passed through the curtain, to discover that Q was not like a nightclub at all, but rather a very eclectic diner with a lively atmosphere, upbeat workers and fascinating wall decorations.

The walls of Q are unlike anything I have ever seen before in a restaurant. For starters, there is an electric giant half moon on the ceiling, adding some mood lighting to the restaurant. Below the moon and on all the walls hangs new age art. There are some very abstract pieces and sculptures with vibrant colors as well as drawn art. In the back of the restaurant is a table for a bigger party that has a tree growing through the middle of it. Christmas lights and bicycle chains hang from the tree. Somehow the tree table fits right in and does not seem at all out of place because after your mind has taken in the unique artwork, you’re ready for anything (A ninja could come to your table and prepare sushi for you with his ninja blades of death and you would accept it as the norm.). My favorite oddity was the magnetic letters next to each table that you could make words with while waiting for the food.

The wait staff is very friendly, and our server Alex was upbeat. I even caught him flirting with the female bartender and waitress and singing along to some of the indie songs playing over the speakers. When we sat down, he started us with almost shot glass-sized cups of water. Knowing I wouldn’t be ordering a soft drink or alcoholic beverage (still no fake ID), I asked if I could upgrade my shot of water. Alex returned with pint sized beer glasses.

The menu of has a little of everything. Alex described their diverse menu as “American funky comfort food” with a touch of the Southwest. They also had a very extensive wine list although, sadly, all I could do was admire it.

I decided to be adventurous and try something I had never eaten before- the “Slammin’ Loch Duart Salmon Burger on Potato Focaccia with chili-lime aioli and garlic Kennebec fries,” priced at $9.75. The chili-lime sauce put a spin on the salmon that was new and different; however I felt that it left something to be desired. It was missing that one sauce or ingredient that would really put everything together perfectly. On the other hand, the garlic fries were out of this world and rivaled the famous garlic fries sold at the San Francisco Giants baseball games.

My girlfriend ordered the “Macaroni & Cheezy with tater tots,” priced at $9.50. She said that she had had this dish here before when she was down and it had helped lift her mood. This made me worry a bit when she ordered it again, but our lively activity of making dirty words on the walls pushed my worries aside. The macaroni dish wasn’t the usual bland macaroni and cheese that you would expect. It includes herbs and spices that add an extra kick you are not ready for on the first bite. The dish works perfectly, with the tater tots making it perfect comfort food.

Consistent with the comfort food theme, the dessert menu offers ice cream, apple pie and milk and cookies. Unfortunately, we were too full to try to dessert, but it sounded delicious from the descriptions on the menu. For example, “Pipers pipn hot chocolate cookies, ($5.00), comes with a glass of milk or two scoops of Double Rainbow vanilla bean ice cream. (Add $2.00).”

Because the kitchen is in the same room as all the diners, it both adds and detracts from Q’s overall appeal. The sizzling sounds from what’s cooking while you wait for your food make you anxious and excited for what is to come. However, the clanking of the dirty dishes and the dishwasher can get a bit loud.

Overall, it was an exciting experience, which provided artwork to make you wonder and comfort food for the soul. 4 Stars out of 5.

3 COMMENTS

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