Last Saturday four of us tried out the newish Antidote in Sausalito. I was curious about it since the chef is supposedly El Bulli influenced.
First off, we were very impressed at how much importance they placed on service. After we walked in the door they seated us in the lounge area and brought champagne and hor d'oeurves. Water was always filled, napkins re-folded promptly, and all the waitpeople were friendly and helpful. We were even escorted to the restroom the first time around, something I'd only experienced in NYC. As the room filled up the service faltered a bit, but what they lacked in polish they made up for in enthusiasm.
We ordered the $80 tasting menu, which was comprised of something like 8 or 9 courses, which included two desserts and a cheese plate. The food was fairly good, though not as experimental as I'd expected. (Perhaps that's a good thing!) For instance, most plates had a dust of some sort, but it was such a small amount that it didn't really add much to the dish.
The plating was pretty, if it didn't quite create the "wow" impression that they were hoping. Nearly everyone agreed that the best course was a venison with dried blueberries, though my husband claimed that the foie gras was better than the Fifth Floor's. I was impressed with a salad that included asparagus, chanterelles, beets, and microgreens, that created a taste far beyond what I expected from the individual ingredients. There was no dish that was a flop, and though some didn't reach the great heights I think the chef was expecting (such a corn soup that came with beakers of cooler corn soup, to mix according to temperature preferences), all were reasonably good and some exceptionally so. There was a long lull between courses, which suited us fine, so the entire meal ended up taking a bit over 3 hours.
As we left, the women were given irises. Would we go back? Definitely. There were wonderful dishes off the a la carte menu that all of us agreed we wanted to try. Plus, the view is pretty impressive. ;-)
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