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DAT at Fish and Farm -- report

Ruth Lafler | Jun 10, 200810:12 AM

Three of us got together last night to check out DAT at Fish and Farm and had a delicious meal. The DAT menu features two choices from each category that are drawn from their regular menu. Last night the choices were Country Pate or Mussel Soup, Loch Duart Salmon or Milk Braised Pork Shoulder, and Chocolate pot de creme or vanilla panna cotta.

We ended up ordering one DAT meal and two more apps., entrees and desserts from the regular menu.

First course:

Country Pate (DAT), served with toast, pickled ramps and radish and housemade mustard. Completely delicious, and a generous serving. We asked what was in it, and were told it was a mixture of pork and duck confit, which explains why it was so rich. It was remarked that the pate seemed like it was made from the leftovers of the braised pork shoulder and duck confit entrees (in a good way!).

Chowder, also very good -- creamy but not thickened, with nice cubes of potatoes, carrots, ham and what looked like whole clams. I'm not a clam person, but I ate the rest and enjoyed it; one member of our party wasn't thrilled with the pronounced tarragon flavor.

Grilled squid salad. I thought this was very good as well. The squid had a nice char, and the dressing really brought the squid and the greens together. One person thought the serving was a little stingy for the price.

I wouldn't hesitate to order any of those again, although the pate was the star.

Second course:

Duck leg confit, with cherries and green peas -- one of the better renditions of duck confit I've had, although perhaps it benefitted from being shared, since I usually find duck confit gets cloyingly rich after a few bites.

Halibut, grilled on a bed of fava beans and some green garlic puree. Very simple, clean bright flavors. We asked for it cooked no more than medium, and I thought it was perfect: just barely cooked through.

Milk braised pork (DAT). The weakest of the three, just a hunk of pork on a bed of green peas and morels (I think -- we cut everything in thirds and swapped plates around, so I'm not absolutely certain where the morels came from). Was described as "carnitas, but not juicy" which I thought was apt. It definitely could have benefitted from a sauce of some kind.


Chocolate pot de creme with homemade marshmallow, caramel and shortbread (DAT). The swirl of semi-firm marshmallow was sprinkled with fleur de sel, which was an unexpected surprise at first bite. The burnt caramel was incorporated into the chocolate but still registered as a distinct flavor, the chocolate itself was great, and the cookies were buttery, sugary and crisp. Really, really, really delicious!

San Francisco Gelato -- a trio of balsamic, pistachio and strawberry rhubarb. I'm not sure I could say which was my favorite, as they were all excellent. And they went well with:

Housemade cookie plate. We had fun pairing the three gelatos with the three kinds of cookies: more shortbread (went great with the balsamic), peanutbutter thumprint cookies with pluot jam (amazing with the pistachio) and still-warm chocolate chip (I don't think we gilded this lily, but it would have been great with the strawberry).

Overall, a very good rendering of California cuisine: simple preparations of high quality, seasonal, mostly local ingredients with minimal use of sauces, cutting edge techniques or experimental flavor combinations. In particular, the seaonality shone in the vegetables: peas, favas, ramps, green garlic, morels, etc. that spoke eloquently of spring (I imagine the menu will be turning over soon, though). Everything tasted good, and the plates came together well.

DAT was a good value: the dishes we ordered would have been over $40 ordered separately. Overall, it came to $195 including tax and tip, two cocktails, a glass of Riesling and corkage on a lovely bottle of Joseph Swan Zinfandel (corkage is only $5 on California wines).

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