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Restaurants & Bars 3

iluna basque - report

felice | Apr 12, 200403:55 PM

i had been wanting to try it out ever since it opened and i finally made it over there on friday night.

they don't take reservations, but we were able to get a table for two when we walked in at 8pm. we were brought bread (acme?) and some olives. the service was very good.

to drink, we ordered sangria. i liked this one a lot - it was a sweet version with an unusual twist of cinnamon and perhaps clove/nutmeg/etc.

we started with some cold gazpacho with saffron mussels. the gazpacho was pureed and served in a glass with some mussels. this was my favorite dish. the gazpacho was very flavorful and complex - i couldn't even guess what the ingredients are. the mussels went very well with it, but the saffron was not detectable - or maybe i wasn't looking hard enough. excellent

seared tuna - a large, thin piece of well-seasoned tuna, seared and served with a sauce. the tuna had a distinct band of pink, which i was happy to see. the sauce was not memorable in a good way - the dish was about the tuna. very good.
an aside: i find that thin pieces of fish or meat can be overcooked even at good restaurants. two weeks ago i had the ribeye steak at chez papa in potrero hill. the waiter said the meat would be medium rare, but instead it was medium-well. also, i had a seared tuna dish at chez nous on fillmore a little over a year ago. the tuna was cooked all the way through.

crab croquette - crispy shreds of crabmeat/bread crumbs, with a very hot smooth creamy filling. sauce served with it was good too. very good.

piperade with serrano ham and poached egg - this was served piping hot in a miniature cast iron skillet. the ham on top was crispy and the egg yolk was runny, yum. the piperade part, to me, seemed rather ordinary. the tomatoes were so-so but i was happy that the red pepper did not overpower the rest of the dish.

the only disappointing dish was the tortilla with chorizo and piquillo pepper. this was bland, composed of mostly egg and potato, and would have benefitted from more chorizo and piquillo pepper.

we ended the meal with a deeeeelicious pineapple dessert that the waiter recommended. the bottom layer was very thinly sliced pineapple. the middle layer was vanilla pudding. the top layer was caramelized sugar - exactly like the top of creme brulee. on top of all that was a tart raspberry swirl. this dessert was new, interesting, and tasted great.
another aside: i had the cantaloupe carpaccio dessert at rose pistola last fall and thought it was pitiful. i completely dismissed this pineapple carpaccio dessert, but the waiter liked it so much we ordered it anyway.


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