After living in the Marina in SF for a mere 3 months, I can finally answer "yes, YES, I have eaten at A 16" to the myriad of people who beg me the question. I ate there tonight.
A 16 opened a while ago but it has only been in the last month or two that one could walk in on a Thursday without reservations and be seated. Yes, it's that kind of neighborhood, and some people are still surprised that chose I to live here. Since I was being treated to dinner (yay! I love that!), my dinner companion and I sat down at the bar and ordered a bottle of wine for our long haul of a wait for a non-bar table. The wine list was bigger than a college syllabus. I loved it, even though I made a boo boo and almost ordered a WHITE abruzzo instead of a RED abruzzo from the Multopulciano region (because I hadn't reached the RED section of the list yet). We ordered a 2000 abruzzo but it wasn't available, so they suggested another of the same year that was a few bucks more. Well worth it and fabulous.
We were seated about 1/2 way through the bottle and the menu was regional Italian and true to form (meaning, I didn't like any of the sides because they were all Italian bean-related, and everyone knows I hate beans), but I settled on a starter of house-aged ahi with artichokes and grilled bread sitting on a pool of virgin olive oil and sweet aged vinegar, and the small sized tagliani pasta with porcinis, proscuitto and pecorino. Dinner Companion went true Italian with the goat cheese, arugula and pine nut app with a lamb meatball main and a side of cannelini beans. The lamb meatballs were a tad greasy but otherwise heavenly. Even with my small portion of homemade pasta (you could tell), I was filled to the gills by the end. No dessert. I got up and went to the open kitchen for a moment to banter with the kitchen staff and applaud the meal, a few minutes after my return to the table we were gifted some sweet peachy wine champagne thingy. Don't know if it was leftovers from the outside party or a gesture from the kitchen, and it wasn't either of our style of drink, but it was super-nice all the same.
As usual, once I turned off Chestnut Street to head home, all the world's sound muted and I was back in The Quietest Urban Neighborhood Ever. It was so quiet that the click clack of my heels was the loudest thing going. So loud that, for the first time, I didn't oddly question my neighbor's use of a "sound machine;" a small round object that plugs in and offers up the quiet hush of white noise.
I've heard my neighbor's sound machine and thought "good God, how could anyone ignore that big white whirl of noise and find sleep?" But now, as I hear my heels echoing down a good 2 blocks both ahead and behind me, the sole sound around (ha ha), I think, maybe white noise isn't such a bad option, in this historically single-paned, double hung window place we live in. After all, didn't I just last night cuss out the random helicoptor that woke me up at 3 am as it flew overhead? And this morning also cuss out the garbage truck revving up to chuck trash into its belly?
And speaking of bellies, mine is pleasantly digesting tonight's scrupmtious meal (much to its chagrin, since it lost all sense of hunger during the break-up with LDG).