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Food & Drink

Coolest Joint With the Best Fried Chicken 

Eastside West

What do all those people lined up in front of the new bar MatrixFillmore think they're going to see when they get in? Yes, the bar is the newest über-cool offering by San Francisco supervisor and businessman/entrepreneur Gavin Newsom, and it does have a futuristic-looking fireplace, overpriced drinks, and a fancy little snack menu. But is it worth the hourlong wait in the cold and rain? Hardly. Why not go next door to the equally hip and cool (but much less pretentious) Eastside West? It's bigger, so you'll get right in. You'll find a great bar/lounge atmosphere (their gimmick is a wall-length aquarium stocked with exotic fish), and there is a separate dining room with a full menu of Southern Americana fare. Alternating live bands and DJs provide a melody of deep soul, R&B, and smooth jazz. Get your groove on while slurping shellfish from the raw bar. And did we mention the fried chicken, served with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob? It's flash-fried in peanut oil -- skinless -- so it's supposedly healthier. But you'd never know by the taste. The secret breading is crispy and finger-licking good. Forget MatrixFillmore. Great food and better music can be found at Eastside West.

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