It took a bit of time for all of us to arrive at the appointed time. Parking, as one can imagine, is a tad difficult in this area.
Warm bread was brought out as soon as most of us were reasonably settled in. Simple olive oil alongside.
We started the evening off with an ‘artisanal’ 4 cheese plate, served with toasted almonds and thin apple slices:
Idiazabal (Spanish) – they described it as nutty and boy, did they mean it ! Loved this one.
Crater Blue (from Oregon)- not exactly my favourite, I personally prefer the French blue(s).
Channel’s Chevre – Goat’s milk cheese – absolutely creamy and delectable.
Seldom have I enjoyed a charcuterie plate as much as last night.
I could not find fault with any of the items: smoked duck breast, prosciutto, mixed olives – all simply exquisite, replete with taste and top notch quality.
Most of my mates at dinner had salads, I did not. Judging by the clean plates though, I would say they were excellent as well :-)
On to the entrees now. Goody Gumdrops !!
I ordered the rack of lamb. I did specify that I wanted it medium rare and really juicy. My request was more than fulfilled.
The lamb was the best I have had in this beautiful country. The Salsify (tragopogon porrifolius) puree and mint oil - gave the lamb a twist, that I had not experienced thus far.
I did taste the flat iron steak with foie gras butter and it was outstanding too. It was ordered Medium Rare and evidently cooked to perfection.
The duck breast was full of flavour – the blackberry sauce really shone here - as well.
I did not try the pork chop, but I was informed that it was a bit overcooked. I cannot vouch for this opinion, though.
For dessert, I had (or should I say devoured) the chocolate bread pudding.
I was a little leery about this version, but it did not disappoint in the least. The accompanying ice cream was just a stellar combination.
The service was quite outstanding.
Whether it was the attentive and courteous nature of the waitress, or her familiarity with wine. And she made sure that my glass of water was refilled with room temperature water all the time. I just loved that personal touch. On occasion, I have spent lots more on a meal, and not been treated as well.
Our experience overall was fabulous and I would highly recommend this place.
Wines: 1999 Bordeaux from Cote D’Or, 2002 Red from Navarra, and one more bottle of red, clearly beyond the confines of my memory. I just recall one Italian and two French wines.
Our boss was also suitably impressed with the wine list, as it were. Not that I know much about the details. Give me single malt scotch any day
No “proper” drinks here. No scotch, bourbon, vodka, et al. They do serve dessert wines and port wine.
As someone mentioned earlier, it is not just the ingredients, prices or décor that serve to label a place as upscale. You know it when you experience it.
And this place is definitely worth the trek from Noe, Incanto and La Ciccia notwithstanding.
1901 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA 94109