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  • Sbrocco: As we all shelter in place,

  • the support I've seen you give each other

  • and our local eateries and businesses

  • shows how strong our community can be.

  • That's the spirit that made "Check, Please" possible

  • for the last 15 years.

  • We hope you enjoy our season premiere

  • recorded earlier this year.

  • Cheers!

  • Chorus: ♪ One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine

  • ♪ "Check, Please! Bay Area" ♪

  • Webber Jr.: My tomahawk steak was this big.

  • Covington: So good.

  • ♪♪

  • Thomas III: That's another "every time" dish.

  • Webber Jr.: I feel good about that.

  • Sbrocco: Boom.

  • Webber Jr.: I feel really good about that.

  • ♪♪

  • Sbrocco: Hi. I'm Leslie Sbrocco.

  • Welcome to "Check, Please! Bay Area,"

  • the show where regular Bay Area residents review

  • and talk about their favorite restaurants.

  • Now, we have three guests, and each one recommends

  • one of their favorite spots, and the other two

  • go check 'em out, to see what they think.

  • Chorus: ♪ And I am not throwing away my shot

  • Sbrocco: This week, "Check, Please! Bay Area"

  • journeys back to 1776 with three very special guests.

  • These revolutionaries are not throwing away

  • their shot to tell the stories

  • of their favorite San Francisco eateries.

  • Raise a glass to the four of us

  • with the stars of San Francisco's "Hamilton."

  • When it comes to classic burgers,

  • actor Donald Webber Jr. wants to be in the room

  • where it happens. Like Aaron Burr,

  • he's willing to wait for it...

  • Covington: ♪ Wait for it, wait for it, wait

  • Sbrocco: ...at his spot in the Marina.

  • And after a long day of putting in the work

  • playing one of the Schuyler sisters,

  • actor Rebecca Covington indulges in Japanese-American cuisine

  • with crave-worthy steaks in the Design District.

  • But first, there's a million things

  • actor Julius Thomas III hasn't done,

  • since he's busy playing Alexander Hamilton every night.

  • Yes, the man is nonstop. When he wants to relax,

  • it's at an elegant South-of-Market-spot

  • for modern North African cuisine,

  • named after its visionary Moroccan-born chef

  • and decorated with one Michelin star.

  • This is Mourad.

  • Man: One runner, please!

  • ♪♪

  • Lahlou: The vibe at Mourad is really fun.

  • It's a place where you want to be seen,

  • and you want to see other people.

  • The ground floor is very festive.

  • The ceilings are high. The chandeliers are big.

  • But upstairs is quieter. It's more intimate.

  • Hello. My name is Mourad. And welcome to Mourad.

  • So when I started cooking,

  • my goal was to preserve Moroccan food,

  • bring it back, cook the stuff that I grew up eating back home.

  • And then I started to question those things.

  • Why are we eating this way?

  • Why are we making couscous this way?

  • I realized that a lot of these things could change.

  • And I had to think outside of the box to take Moroccan foods

  • from traditional foods, traditional cooking,

  • to experimental.

  • And then we took it to the next level, and then it evolved.

  • And now it's the food that I like to eat.

  • You know, I've been here for a long time

  • in San Francisco.

  • And I lived through a lot of phases of this city's life.

  • So, yeah, I try to be genuine.

  • I try to follow my my instinct

  • and hopefully end up in a place that is good.

  • Sbrocco: Alright. First, I just have to say

  • I'm not a fan girl of anything.

  • But "Hamilton," I absolutely am in love with it.

  • I've gone twice, and it's been

  • the best theatrical experience of my life.

  • So kudos to all of you for your participation

  • in this amazing, amazing piece of work.

  • So, how long have you lived in San Francisco, Julius?

  • Thomas III: I've been here for about a year,

  • and it's been fantastic.

  • Sbrocco: Right. And, Julius, how did you find Mourad?

  • Thomas III: Actually, funny story.

  • My agents sent me a gift card

  • to just say "Here -- Congratulations

  • for booking 'Hamilton.' Here's a lovely restaurant

  • that we've heard a lot about. Go."

  • Sbrocco: And so your first experience was --

  • Thomas III: It was wonderful,

  • and it made me want to go back again and again and again.

  • And I have. [ Laughter ]

  • Sbrocco: And what do you usually start with?

  • Thomas III: Oh, every time -- This is an "every time" dish.

  • I have to have the Basteeya. It is delicious.

  • Just phyllo dough that wraps around duck and almond.

  • The phyllo sort of melts in your mouth.

  • The duck is sweet and savory. And then the almond gives it

  • that nice crunch for different texture.

  • They top it off with crème fraîche and some quince paste.

  • And I'm just in heaven.

  • Sbrocco: And that's really one of their signature dishes.

  • Thomas III: It's delicious. You have to have it.

  • Sbrocco: Did you have that when you went?

  • Webber Jr.: No, I went, and I got the oysters.

  • I wish I knew. I wish I'd known about that.

  • The oysters were fantastic.

  • And, you know, I went alone, and I was sitting at the bar,

  • and, you know, you kind of just take in this whole space

  • and the way that they have it lit, it's so wonderful.

  • So you feel like you're not just having oysters.

  • You're having, like, oysters.

  • You know what I mean?

  • Sbrocco: They were very "slurppable."

  • Webber Jr.: Yes, very --

  • Sbrocco: What did you have with them?

  • This place is known for drinks.

  • Webber Jr.: So, I splurged a little bit.

  • I had a WhistlePig.

  • It's a 15-year WhistlePig.

  • You know, and I had it neat, you know,

  • because I felt like this place deserved it, you know?

  • Thomas III: Like a sipping whiskey?

  • Webber Jr.: Yes. I mean, it's so good.

  • Sbrocco: Rebecca, what was your experience?

  • Covington: I loved it. I didn't have an appetizer, though.

  • I just had an entree and a side. Sbrocco: Okay.

  • Covington: Are we on entrees yet?

  • Sbrocco: Sure! Go ahead. You start.

  • Covington: Shocker -- I had the beef.

  • [ Laughter ]

  • Sbrocco: Now, I have to say, we're going to do

  • some restaurants that are beef-driven, right?

  • No vegetarian. Sorry, guys out there.

  • There's not a vegetarian. Thomas III: Not at this table.

  • Sbrocco: You started out --

  • Covington: It was their braised short rib.

  • Thomas III: Oh, my God.

  • Covington: And I got a side of cannellini beans.

  • Thomas III: Mm-mmm.

  • Covington: Heavens!

  • I have -- They were, like, cannellini beans

  • with bread crumbs and a feta cheese foam.

  • -Webber Jr.: Wow. -Thomas III: Yeah.

  • Covington: I want to know how to make foam these days.

  • Like, that -- It was delicious.

  • And I had a strawberry cocktail.

  • It was like Fruity Pebbles punch.

  • It was pretty dangerous for a lunch,

  • but it was really good.

  • Thomas III: Those beans are another one of my --

  • I will get them every time you go.

  • Covington: Those. Beans.

  • Thomas III: The feta cheese --

  • I think they called it, like, a feta mousse.

  • And then there's, like, a tomato ragu on it.

  • It crunches. The beans are tender and cooked perfectly.

  • It's so, so tasty.

  • Webber Jr.: The beans were also part of the dish that I had,

  • which was the braised beef.

  • But I'll tell you what, this black garlic

  • that they kind of put around the outside --

  • It's almost like a bowl-plate combination.

  • You know, you take a little bit of the braised beef,

  • and it just falls off of itself

  • and it actually melted in my mouth.

  • And I just thought to myself, I was like,

  • "Well, I'll be back." [ Laughter ]

  • Sbrocco: Just for that dish. What about you, Julius?

  • Thomas III: Yeah, this was my first time

  • with Moroccan cuisine.

  • I did have the braised beef one of the times that I've been.

  • But this time, I decided on the lamb.

  • And it comes two ways.

  • There's sort of a traditional cut

  • where it is medium-rare

  • and really delicious and tender and seasoned very well.

  • And then there's also a portion

  • that eats like the braised short ribs.

  • What I loved about that dish, though,

  • is that it was a piece of art,

  • because there were so many different things on the plate,

  • like pomegranate seeds and puree of root vegetables

  • that sort of felt like comfort and fall. It was so good.

  • Sbrocco: And they have an absolutely stupendous wine list.

  • Covington: Yeah, I saw this glass case

  • filled with wine. It was gorgeous.

  • Webber Jr.: I do wish I had looked at that wine menu

  • now that I know more about it.

  • But I did go into dessert land.

  • Sbrocco: Well, if you don't know, now you know.

  • Thomas III: Now you know.

  • Covington: Oh, I went into dessert land, too.

  • Webber Jr.: I went into dessert land.

  • So, I had what they call donut puffs.

  • And, so, it comes with a caramel sauce

  • and also, like, a chocolate sauce.

  • Thomas III: And an orange. Webber Jr.: And an orange sauce.

  • Covington: It's like a honey orange.

  • Webber Jr.: Yes! That's what it was that was in there.

  • Covington: I had them, as well.

  • Sbrocco: You had the donuts, too?

  • Covington: Yes, 100%. Yes.

  • Thomas III: I've had the donuts before, and they are fantastic.

  • But this time, this most recent time,

  • I tried the honey and almond dessert.

  • and it shows up in front of you

  • as sort of this, like, mound of white fluff.

  • And it's very vaguely described on the menu.

  • So my first bite into it,

  • I discovered that it was like an ice cream,

  • and it immediately melted in my mouth.

  • Each bite, you're going, "What is this?

  • Oh, my goodness. What is that?"

  • Because there's orange blossom and sort of a vanilla granita.

  • And it just keeps you guessing all the way to the end

  • when you're like, "Oh, what was that? It's gone."

  • [ Laughter ]

  • Sbrocco: Well, and this is not

  • an inexpensive place to dine, is it?

  • Thomas III: And I am the miser of the group

  • who thought it is pricy, but absolutely worth it.

  • It's a splurge.

  • Sbrocco: Well, this is your spot, Julius.

  • Wrap it up for us. Thomas III: Delicious food.

  • Well worth the price. Go, go, go.

  • Sbrocco: Okay. And Rebecca.

  • Covington: Delicious food, great cocktails. I'll be back.

  • Sbrocco: And Donald.

  • Webber Jr.: Don't be afraid to sit at the bar.

  • It's wonderful. Get the braised beef.

  • Sbrocco: Alright. If you would like to try Mourad,

  • it's located on New Montgomery at Minna Street

  • in San Francisco.

  • It's open for dinner every night with lunch on weekdays.

  • And the average dinner tab per person

  • without drinks is around $70.

  • ♪♪

  • ♪♪

  • Burr: ♪ Whoo! There's nothing like summer in the city

  • Someone in a rush next to someone lookin' pretty

  • ♪♪

  • Sbrocco: On any given night, you might find Rebecca

  • playing Angelica or Eliza, the Schuyler sisters. And Peggy.

  • Her upscale retreat in the Design District

  • offers expertly butchered steaks

  • with a sophisticated Japanese twist.

  • This is Niku Steakhouse.

  • ♪♪