Had a farewell dinner at Winterland tonight. I really think that Winterland is an amazing restaurant for SF - truly innovative tasty food at great prices. It's sad that SF cannot make this restaurant a success. I prefer it to many more expensive, crowded restaurants - I hope the chef stays in the area. Here's the food.
Canteloupe soup: cold melon soup with a lemon foam. They added togarashi spice for a little heat. Cooling, refreshing, and spicy at the same time.
Shrimp ceviche: almost a gazpacho with a tomato sauce base - on top of the sauce was watermelon and avocado pieces, topped by the shrimp ceviche. The shrimp was firm and not "over-cooked" - a perfet summer starter.
Octopus carpacccio: Excellent as always - better than the one we had at Ame - smoked paprika is the key
Grilled sardines and pears: perfectly grilled sardines with thinly grilled pear slices. Mache was served with some salt and some kind of sesame paste dressing lightly splattered on. Wow, simple and complex. The sardines were moist and tasted of the sea
Tuna tartare: The bottom of the place was a thin slice of raw tuna, almost like a mousse on the bottom. Encircling it was anchovy paste, a deep umami taste. tuna tartare was on top of the tuna carpaccio with a sorbet of red peppers. perfectly tasting of pepper and very clean-tasting. Also, there was some kind of fig, pepper marmalade as well. Classic Winterland.
Squid ink risotto: firm rice with soft, tasty squid in it. covered with a sea urchin foam. the taste was a bit strong and dense, but the seafood was perfectly cooked.
Scallops: Scallops were a bit overcooked, but the sauce was amazing. Some mix of butter, ginger, lemon grass, and citrus. matched perfectly with the scallops. Also, there was a mix of snow peas etc cut up. Solid entree - strong tastes without being overpowering
Chocolate cake with olive oil ice cream: maldon salt was on the chocolate to accentuate the taste, and the ice cream oozed olive oil. The desserts at Winterland have always shines - this one was excellent
Fig, goat cheese mousse, honeycomb ice cream: not as good as the chocolate cake but still excellent
Parting gift: some coffee mousse with a raspberry jelly.
Wow, I've been interested every time I went to winterland. It feels like the restaurant needs to go much more high-end to get the people to go there somehow. Wherever that chef goes, you should eat his food - imaginative and excellent. Sad to see it go.