Location: 348 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
Reviewed: May 14, 2006
Espresso: My single was served in the proper volume (~1oz.). It had some thin wisps of what might have been crema on a better day; these wisps did not even so much as cover the top of the beverage (which was in a proper espresso cup). Although quite hot, it was not bitter. It was full-bodied and tasted mostly of caramel notes. At least the barista tamped, although the shot was not ground to order.
Atmosphere: Even though it seems to suffer from a schizophrenic disorder in that it can't tell if it's a restaurant or a coffee bar, Steps of Rome is arguably the coolest cafe in which I have ever been. It's just, well, fun. Loud Italian music (on this particular day, hip-hop) plays over the background, and the employees dance about whilst engaged in their various duties. The space is large-ish and contains an elevated rear of the store. There is also ample outdoor seating.
Vedict: The place is so incredibly cool it makes up for the shortcomings of the coffee.