Service was excellent
Cocktails were delicious, particularly the ginger limeade
The view was spectacular
Prices were more reasonable than we expected
Food was OK to very good, but nothing was outstanding
We went to SD last night to celebrate a birthday. BART took far less time than we imagined, but although we were significantly early we were seated immediately. The server took our cocktail orders and allowed us time to peruse the menu at our leisure. She returned with the cocktails, at which time we placed our appetizer order, and then when she returned with the apps she took our entree order. For two people, we ordered:
-shrimp and jicama rolls
-daikon rice cakes
-cellophane noodles with fresh dungeness crab
-mesquite grilled ahi tuna with ginger-soy dipping sauce
-vanilla creme brulee
-one too many ginger limeades
Thai basil, roasted peanuts, and a peanut sauce were incorporated into the shrimp and jicama rolls. I very much enjoyed the roasted peanut flavor that permeated each bite as well as the subtly cool crunch of the jicama. This was the perfect appetizer to snack on while drinking cocktails and perusing the menu.
The daikon rice cakes were less appealing. These were cut into rectangles about twice the size of a deck of cards, fried, and then laid atop a soy/shallot/mushroom sauce. While we both enjoyed the crispness of the exterior pieces, the interior was less enchanting--the sauce had not soaked in and the texture was spongy. I think it would have been more enjoyable had there been more surface area to fry.
Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed when my boyfriend wanted to order the cellophane noodles with crab. It seemed a bit bland to me, and my opinion didn't change when we were eating it. This dish contained a lot of noodles, a little crab, and quite a bit of oil. It may have been a nice side dish alongside a main with more robust flavor, but on its own it was underwhelming.
The ahi tuna was very good. It was cooked to my specifications and the serving size was perfect for one person--about 8 oz. The tuna was sushi-grade and so fresh and tasty that I only dipped a few pieces in the side sauce. Lightly dressed greens were included alongside the fish.
We shared the vanilla creme brulee, which was delightful. The crackly crust was still warm and the cool custard was rich, thick, and redolent of vanilla, with flecks of vanilla interspersed throughout.
Total bill, with a generous tip, was $113, which we thought was quite fair. As mentioned above, service was outstanding. Pacing was perfect, unlike our somewhat disasterous Valentine's dinner at Maverick. Our server moved with ninja-like swiftness and efficiency; she refolded my boyfriend's napkin when he had left the table; all I saw was a blur, then a perfecly folded napkin.
As far as the chow, there are other places with Vietnamese dishes I like as much or better (e.g., Bodega Bistro shaking beef), but not a restaurant with similar or better Vietnamese food in such a lovely location with top-notch service. In sum, we'll stick with our usual places with outstanding chow for everyday dining, but when the occasion calls for a special touch, I would certainly consider returning here.
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