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Citizen Cake: Tasty, a bit overpriced, PUMPKIN-ish

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Restaurants & Bars

Citizen Cake: Tasty, a bit overpriced, PUMPKIN-ish

Nina | Oct 17, 2005 02:25 PM

I went to see Dr. Atomic at SF Opera on Friday (well worth it by the way) and decided to stop by Citizen Cake beforehand. It was busy but not off-puttingly so on a Friday night at 6:30. I was received politely and offered a choice of waiting ten minutes or so for a table or sitting at the bar (I took the bar). The bar server immediately asked me whether I was going to a performance and when I wanted to leave, and noted this on the check. I had plenty of time so it wasn't an issue, but I noticed with people arriving after me that the staff did a good job of advising them which dishes to choose for a fast turnaround, and everyone seemed to make it out in time for their curtain.

My server told me about the soup special, which he described as a thin polenta with fried sage. He forgot to tell me about other specials though, which I found out when the people next to me ended up with some rather tasty-looking abalone that wasn't on the menu. Anyhow, I got the polenta and another starter, chicken liver mousse with crostini and apple salad, since I wasn't very hungry and wanted to save room for dessert. The polenta was as described, quite thin and brothy, with two whole leaves of sage on top. It was nice and a welcome dish on a chilly damp evening, but could have used one more ingredient to make it a bit more interesting and to justify the $7; also, breaking up the sage in the kitchen would have been easier to eat (the leaves were surprisingly tough) and might have spread the flavor out a bit more. The chicken liver was absolutely delicious, but I thought $10 for a thin layer of it on three small crostini was not the greatest value in the world. The "apple salad" was really more of a garnish, four very small, paper-thin slices of Fuji (I think) apple on a few tiny bits of greens and about a dozen pomegranate seeds.

For dessert I had the "Indian summer parfait"; gingerbread, chocolate wafer, squash sorbet, pumpkin-seed meringue, chocolate pot de creme, and a few more pomegranate seeds. Also $10. Delicious. The server who brought me the dish advised me to dig down to the bottom and start mixing the flavors up right away. This was good advice, but maybe she should have first advised the kitchen not to serve the parfait in the same very narrow, tall glasses that they use for water. This same server later had to offer me some soda water and a rag for the squash sorbet which inevitably ended up on my sweater.

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