The Stinking Rose opened decades ago. It's on La Cienega Blvd, the "Restaurant Row of Beverly Hills/Los Angeles, occupying Lawry's The Prime Rib old address -- Lawry's having moved a few hundred feet up the street.
Oddly (ironically?), the best thing is the prime rib.
I've eaten at The Stinking Rose in San Francisco a few times. It was very good - even the garlic ice cream. If you get a chance go to the Gilroy 9CA) Garlic Festival - you can smell the garlic for miles. :lips:
I've been to the one in San Francisco a couple of times. I believe the one in SF was the first to open, and from what I know of the two places, they have somewhat different menus. I enjoyed the restaurant, but it would not be one I'd frequent often, although the food was good and the prices reasonable. There are so many excellent restaurants to choose from in the San Francisco Bay Area ... The Stinking Rose is but one good one out of many excellent ones. It's definitely worth a visit - maybe even more than one.
I should mention that I rarely go to San Francisco to eat - there are so many fine restaurants in the East Bay that the hassle of getting to the city and parking generally isn't worth it, so, in part, that's why I'd not be tempted to visit The Stinking Rose. It's not much more difficult to head up to St. Helema and Napa for some world class dining.
The Stinking Rose was the first (and remains the best known) garlic restaurant. For awhile there was a trend, and they were opening everywhere. I remember eating at one in Tulsa, for instance.
The idea that all they serve is garlic is fallacious. What they do is use garlic in every dish they serve. But that doesn't mean the garlic taste necessarily predominates.
For a feel for what garlic restarant dishes are like, check out Linda & Fred Griffith's book Garlic Garlic Garlic. Their recipes take the same approach. Garlic is used in some unexpected ways, to be sure. And it dominates in some dishes. But in most it's just a flavoring ingredient.
For example, I just opened it at random, and the recipe that came up is for Anchovy, Garlic & Olive Bread. In a recipe making a large, round loaf, there are only 3 garlic cloves. But this works against other strong flavors, such as 2/3 cup olives and two ounces of anchovy fillets.
Or, a more direct example. Tony Lia used to be a chef at The Stinking Rose (maybe still is?) and kindly shared his grilled veggie marinade recipe with me. Here it is:
Tony Lia's Grilled Veggie Marinade
1 cup balsomic vinegar
2 tbls sugar
2 tbls chopped garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh herbs to taste, chopped (I use 2-3 tablespoons assorted basil, parsley, tarragon, etc.)
Combine vinegar, sugar, garlic, pepper and paprika over low heat. Cook until reduce by half. Add an equal amount of EVOO and the fresh herbs.
Soak veggies 15-20 minutes and cook on a charcoal grill.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They keep it interesting. I would say that garlic is an ingredient in just about every dish sold there but there are cooking demonstrations, bands, etc. They sell all kinds of garlic-related junk, too, like sauces, cooking tools, and the ever-popular hat that is shaped like a garlic bulb.
If one ever travels to Gilroy California(the garlic capital of the world) you will find evrything in the town made from garlic. Be it wine, candy, sherbet. ice cream, cake and pastry you will find it. I believe it was the original home of the Gentry Garlic co. at one time the largest processor of garlic in the world. s you drive towards the town, you can smell the garlic.
Most of the garlic action in Gilroy is outside of town in three or four tourist traps off the 101. There's next to nothing garlic related in town except during the festival. For a few days every year it's something like Ed described. There are still plenty of garlic fields outside of town, and you can certainly smell them when you drive by. The lily is a fragrant plant.
Gilroy is a small (by California standards) town, inland from Monterey and Santa Cruz in the Monterey Valley and still looks like "Steinbeck country." If you're ever staying in Monterey or Santa Cruz it's worth the drive if you like "gritty."
Gilroy is still mainly agricultural. The major crops are truck, although you see more and more vines which is typical of the state and the region.
The major ethnic groups are Anglo-American and Hispanic. Like most of California the Hispanic population runs from mojado to Californio. Gilroy is one of the few towns in the area that hasn't been altered beyond recognition by San Jose suburbia. Downtown Gilroy (such as it is) doesn't see much tourist action, so there aren't a lot of garlic outlets. The local hotspots are the Post Office, the Social Security Office and an institution we call "bars."
If you want a town that identifies more with its signature crop you don't have to go far from Gilroy to Castroville. Artichoke heart of the ****ing world.