Tucked away where SOMA meets Potrero Hill is this weird little enclave of design stores, and amidst them lies Grand Pu Bah. It would be easy to write this place off, with it's super hip ambiance (techno during dinner anyone?) and post-work clientelle, but honestly the food is really good, and that's all I need to bring me back. GPB seems to do a swift business with the yuppies in the surrounding offices, which makes sense considering they're one of the few restaurants in the area catering to such a crowd. They've got a nice big bar, as well as a pretty large number of tables, and the atmosphere is always laid back and fun.
Let's get onto the menu though, shall we? Fresh spring rolls are one of my most favorite things in the whole world, and they do right by theirs. However, as one looks beyond appetizers, things get a little daunting. The entrees are all pretty expensive (high teens, low twenties) and in today's economy, I, for one, ain't havin' it. The secret? Look to the "street food" section of the offerings. These puppies are secretly the size of entrees and half the price. Each item is a vegetable dish, most for $10, and then you add your meat (or not!) for varying prices. I got my sweet basil tofu for $10, but if you had wanted sweet basil chicken, let's say, it would have been $11. Sweet basil shrimp? $12. You get the idea. An economical way to eat really, really well. Extra point for being to make most anything sans fish sauce.
Only downside for me is that it can get pretty noisy when the place is packed. On the bright side, it tends to clear out around 8 on weeknights once the happy hour folks have headed home. The food makes up for the noise, though, and even if I have to talk a bit louder to be heard, I'll be back... and bringing plenty of "others" with me.