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aziza 4/08- still amazing

artemis | Apr 6, 200804:55 PM

my SO and i took some visiting friends to aziza last night for their final sf meal. as always, it was outstanding. this was probably my 6th visit, and every time i remind myself to go back more often.

we were seated promptly upon arriving for our 8:30 reservation.

from http://www.aziza-sf.com/dinner_&_..., we had (family style):
beet salad $9
spreads $9
lamb sausage $9
basteeya $18
scallops $23
couscous $20
side couscous $5
side flatbread $3
-->96 without tax or tip for 4 adults who were stuffed to the gills by the end of the meal.

standouts were the spreads (as always), with my favorite being the chickpea. the yogurt dill was the same as last time i was there (and still great). the 'red' one was great too, though i remember it being something-walnut, not almond. i always need more flatbread for the spreads, so i asked the waitress to bring out extra flatbread halfway through the first course so it would be fresh and hot when we were ready to eat it.

the beet salad was lovely, despite me normally thinking that beets taste like dirt. these did not. also of note were the blood orange supremes, which had nary a hint of pith on them and were sweet-tart and juicy. the fromage blanc and green garlic are spread onto a thin toasted baguette slice, fyi.

i thought the lamb sausage was also good, though i didn't much care for the small radish wedges. then again, i'm not much of a radish fan and everyone else at the table were vying for the rest of them.

there was a bit of a long wait between the first and second courses.

the basteeya was again impressive, and seemed less sweet (and thus more to my taste) than the last time i had it. maybe there was less powdered sugar on top? the visitors (who live in dc and had never been to san francisco) were blown away.

scallops were perfectly fresh and skillfully seared. the risotto was very rich (hidden cheese?) and begged to be mopped up with the table bread. veggies in the risotto tasted bright and weren't overcooked.

the couscous is as always a standout. i could eat that every week and never tire of the rich, deep flavors, perfect proteins (esp that shrimp!) and gorgeous vegetables.

a side of couscous rounded out the meal. we were too full to even consider dessert.

service was pretty good, though i found the waitress a bit pushy at times. she really wanted us to get the bok choy (14) dish and kept reminding us that the kitchen could throw it together with little notice if we changed our minds and wanted it after all. i think her upselling efforts were partially since we're tap water people, particularly at a place like aziza that thoughtfully infuses the water with cucumber. yum.

one of my dining companions asked about the hot teas and the waitress obviously didn't know the tea list at all. upon inquiry into the monkey picked and what it means, the waitress made up a vague story about it possibly being an emperor's tea that may or may not have originally involved monkey harvesting i.e. providing no useful information. she'd obviously never had it, though she was eager to sell the pot ($9) to us.

all in all, a wonderful meal that had our guests swearing to return to san francisco as soon as possible. thanks again to aziza for another consistently wonderful meal. i can't wait to go back!

5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

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