Set inside a dimly lit old church, Acquerello is a San Francisco institution that is in no way institutionalized. The very best is created and served here, with meticulous attention to ingredients, flavor and texture.
If you can, ask for Franco to be your server. He is charming and informative, a Sardinian native with great knowledge about the food and wine he serves.
The Italian cuisine served here looks and tastes like Europe. Intense flavor packed into modest and elegant servings.
The pasta course was a fennel fettucine with a wild boar ragu. Each strand of pasta looked and tasted like it received its own warm water bath. The texture was flawless with no hint of bitterness that fennel can impart. The ragu had a deep, rich flavor that triggered strong memories of what meat used to taste like before agri-business mechanized the raising of cattle that has turned beef into tasteless red hunks.
Pumpkin gnocchi is a good idea for a winter meal, but this was silky, soft and soulful stuff that is hard to match on this side of the pond. The butter reduction did not hurt things and I am still thinking about it.
The lobster ravioli was flawless in presentation and texture and left us wanting more.
The breast of duck was so meticuloulsy fanned over my plate that I am convinced that some type of laser leveling tool was utilized to accomplish this. The skin was perfectly browned and the flesh had hints of pink and was succulent. A small serving of chou rouge, seared baby pear and apple butter rounded out the plate.
The wine list is extensive and the by the glass options are wide ranging but expensive.
Parking is tough but there are a couple of garages nearby.