Had a 6PM reservation with a friend at RNM in the Haight. We were the first diners for some time, though when we left the place was packed upstairs and downstairs, and there was a group of 5 waiting for our table.
After getting menus and reviewing our choices for the prix fixe (only the items with bullet points are eligible), we chose to start off with the grilled hearts of romaine salad and the yellow corn soup. The exact menu descriptions are as follows:
1) grilled hearts of romaine with bosc pears, saint agur, toasted hazelnuts and a champagne vinaigrette
2) brentwood yellow corn soup with shaved fresh porcini mushrooms and sage oil
The salad came out slightly warm from the grill, and was a good base for the contrasting flavors from the pear, nuts, cheese and dressing. I and my friend would both order it again. But the real star was the yellow corn soup. Nice sized bowl of intensely flavored soup (more like a bisque in consistency) with a smattering of porcini and a few drops of sage oil for added richness. I absolutely recommend it if you like quality corn.
In addition to the above, I also ordered the charcuterie plate, which contained a nice size slice of chicken pate (acceptable), some decent-sized slices of smoked prosciutto (bland and dry), coppa salami (good), fennel-pepperoni sausage (very tasty, but only two smallish chunks), duck rilletes (small portion, and not very intense in flavor), cornichons (not mentioned on the menu), olives (fine) and dijon mustard. The plate is served with its own toasted bread that was like thickly cut white bread (I chose to use the better french bread that came in the bread basket before the meal started). Overall, the charcuterie plate was of a good size as a starter, and easily fed 2 people.
After the starters were finished, my friend was served her plate of the 1/2 cornish game hen, while I received the prosciutto/fig/frisee pizza. We shared each, and both agreed that the pizza was the much better choice of the two. Thin, crisp crust made a nice base for a good amount of prosciutto, cheese, light spreading of tomato sauce and good spread of frisee. If RNM had a wood-fired oven, this pizza would have been out of this world.
The cornish game hen was decent and moist. The sides that came with it were better. A caveat here is that I'm not that big a fan of game hens, as they're too labor-intensive IMO.
After polishing off the entrees, we both had just a bit of room for dessert. My friend chose the berry tartlet, while I had the brownie sundae. Both were good. Sorry I can't remember the ingredients in each, but the tartlet contained blackberries and blueberries topping a custard filling, while the sundae had cream, dulce de leche ice cream, small cubes of brownie and a swirl of chocolate sauce.
The wine list is overpriced from a quick review (we passed), and the drink pour (I had the Sazerac) was average in size and pricey (my friend just had water). Total with tip for 3 starters, 2 entrees, 2 desserts and the Sazerac came to $88. I can attest that the $25 prix fixe is a solid value. I'll be back in the near future.
FYI - parking in the neighborhood can be difficult later in the evening, and the Lower Haight is still very urban in look and cleanliness. Quite a contrast to the stylish look and feel of RNM's interior.
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