The San Franciscan
2520 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA, USA

The San Franciscan, even by old-school Los Angeles standards, is a super old-school place, and certainly has its many attendant charms. With the dank atmosphere, plush red vinyl booths, and carpet that hasn't been changed (nor cleaned) since about 1953, you instantly feel like you're dining in Goodfellas.

The food, unfortunately, isn't good.

My coworker and I had passed by numerous times and were fascinated by the sign, which is as classic as it gets … arguably so classic it's just old as opposed to "kitschy" or whatever, in the Route 66-type sense. The sign is probably what draws most people in who aren't day-drinkers and/or lifetime regulars.

I got The Sanfranciscan, a plain filet mignon sandwich on a plain French roll, with slaw on the side and a Coke. A completely perfunctory sandwich in every way, bland and overcooked, rendered slightly decent with some A-1. It was, at best, a good example of what people like Don Draper used to think of as fine dining food.

The joke of actually eating here being over rather instantaneously, the remainder of the visit can be summed up by the interaction between my serious douchebag coworker and the 70-something-year-old lifer waitress. He asked her to go over the beer list, which she could barely remember, and which entirely consisted of super-super-mainstream beers. He then asked whether they had an IPA.

"Is that the name of the beer?" she asked.

"It's a style of beer," he replied.

Her: "I don't know." (pause)

Him: "Oh." (double pause)

Excellent. I was on her side, of course. Rarely have I felt so scuzzily douchey by sheer association. I dealt with it mainly by melting into my surroundings; the average age was about 80; the most recent thing on the walls had E.T. on it.

Review by Ray-Ray Sugarleonard, March 2011