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Commonwealth, SF: Report

Dave MP | May 3, 201505:07 PM

My partner and I were able to snag a last-minute reservation at Commonwealth the other night. It was our first visit, and we both loved it. Service was professional and efficient, but not overly formal. We chose to do the tasting menu, even though we weren't particularly drawn to all of the dishes when we read through it. However, once each plate arrived, the flavor combinations worked amazingly, and we ended up really enjoying everything.

The menu was as follows:

0a) seaweed potato chips with malt vinegar foam for dipping
0b) amuse-bouche of scallop crudo with pickled cherry and daikon in miso broth
1) oatmeal crusted foie gras, rhubarb, garden sorrels, brioche, ginger gelée
2) asparagus, oyster cream, potato, coastal succulents, cured egg yolk, trout roe
3) young beets, yuba, tangerine, black olive mousse, puffed quinoa, mizuna
4) seaweed rubbed beef, turnips, maitake mushrooms, smoked marrow pistou
5) celery sorbet, verjus soda
6) beer meringue, chocolate ganache, pretzel crumble, crème fraîche ice cream

The chips and foam came out before we had even ordered, and it was a big serving. I really like places that give you an interesting, complimentary snack, and this was a great one. We didn't do the wine pairings, but instead each ordered a glass of wine. Nice wine menu with some interesting single glass choices. After we had ordered, they brought out the amuse-bouche, which was basically two-bites per person, but was delicious. I loved the flavor combos! We didn't end up taking a picture of this.

I'll talk about subsequent courses with each photo.

Oatmeal crusted foie gras, rhubarb, garden sorrels, brioche, ginger gelée

Brioche and goie gras were both quite sweet, but the bits of sour rhubarb and ginger jelly balanced this out nicely. Really rich, and quite a big serving for each person, but this was really good.

Asparagus, oyster cream, potato, coastal succulents, cured egg yolk, trout roe

This was fantastic. Asparagus were cooked to such a perfect texture that I can only dream of replicating at home. I loved the umami from the cured egg yolk and trout roe, although I honestly could have done without the potatoes. The potatoes were in small pieces, and had a very good, strong potato flavor...normally I'd like this, but I felt the dish tasted better without them. But still, this was an A+ dish.

Young beets, yuba, tangerine, black olive mousse, puffed quinoa, mizuna

Another sensational salad, and a big portion. Yuba was pink and arranged in beautiful ribbons. Beats were tender and flavorful. Black olive mousse was salty and tangerine gel added a great tangy/sweet taste.

Seaweed rubbed beef, turnips, maitake mushrooms, smoked marrow pistou

This was the only dish in the meal that wasn't an A or A+ for me. I thought the overall flavors were good, and it was a creative combination, but overall it was too salty. In particular, the mushrooms (which were cooked with onion and green onion) were overly salted, and the seaweed rub on the beef was also quite salty, so it was a bit too much. I liked the turnip and the smoked marrow pistou though. Beef was maybe a bit tough, and served quite rare.

At this point, we stopped taking pictures because it was getting dark.

I wasn't sure I would like the celery sorbet and verjus soda, but it was really fantastic. Celery flavor was potent, but the sorbet was sweet, which was a nice counter to the tart verjus. A really refreshing post-meal dessert. At this point, I was quite full already, and I already felt like I had had my money's worth. But there was still one more (very large) dessert.

The beer meringue, chocolate ganache, pretzel crumble, crème fraîche ice cream was pretty awesome—especially the generous portion of ganache, which was not overly sweet. I might have preferred this dessert with sweet cream or vanilla ice cream (or banana ice cream, which would be basically my dream come true), but it was still spectacular. Salty pretzel plus chocolate plus ice cream was great, and the beer meringue added a nice malty flavor.

I don't frequently eat at places in this price point in San Francisco, so I don't have too many places to compare this to, but I certainly enjoyed the meal as much (if not more) than places like Rich Table, Range and State Bird Provisions (all places I also really liked). With the check, they served a few small sweets to finish off the meal. I really liked all of these touches, and I would definitely return, especially in a different season to experience a different menu.

Dave MP

Commonwealth,
Rich Table,
State Bird Provisions
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