Number 15: Leatherneck Steakhouse's Truffled Tater Tots

Categories: SFoodie's 50
Lara Hata
Leatherneck's own tater tots with a grilled New York strip.
SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

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Along with properly seared New York strips and a beautiful sea bass with chorizo and saffron-tomato butter sauce, Paul Lozito serves what must be the best steakhouse snack in San Francisco: truffled tater tots.

The name suggests dude food. (What? They're not stuffed with bacon and beer?) But where the real thing are granular, dense, oil-slicked nuggets, Lozito's are more classically known as pommes dauphine -- pâte à choux dough blended with mashed potato and piped into long, ridged cylinders. They come out of the fryer with a crisp golden shell, and inside, a smooth potato purée. There's a suggestion of truffle oil's rutting-season musk to the tots, but not so much that you have to keep your distance from the bowl. (Quite the opposite.) They're designed for dipping into the steak sauce and soaking up beef juices, but you may find yourself neglecting your $30 steak in favor of the so-called side dish.

Leatherneck Steakhouse: 12th floor of the Marines Memorial Club, 609 Sutter (at Mason), 673-6672,

Other favorites in this series:
16: Baia Pasta's durum-wheat pastas
17: Z&Y's flaming fish with chile oil
18: Auntie April's fried catfish
19: None but the Brave from Heaven's Dog
20: Saha's vegan kibbeh
21: Starter Bakery's hazelnut kouign amann
22: Pupusas at Cafe and Restaurant Montecristo
23: 2 a.m. apple fritter at Bob's
24: Le Sanctuaire's vadouvan
25: Crab louis salad at Nettie's Crab Shack
26: Soy sauce chicken from Happy Bakery & Deli
27: Locanda's Jewish-style artichoke
28: Local: Mission Eatery's asparagus-egg sandwich
29: Memphis Minnie's 18-hour brisket
30: Custard buns from City View
31: Mission Chinese Food's kung pao pastrami
32: Panisse frites from Frances
33: Izakaya Yuzuki's chawanmushi
34: Fatted Calf's chorizo
35: Silvanas from House of Silvanas
36: Linden Street Brewery's black lager
37: Aged oolongs from Red Blossom Tea Company
38: Broken Record's crawfish grits
39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 
40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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A grey NY strip, tater tots, and truffle oil?  That's on your top 50?  

Way to aim low, SF Weekly. 

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