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Restaurants & Bars

Overwrought and overpriced

SuzyOmnivore | Jan 18, 201211:07 PM

Yikes. New-ish to SFO. Had lived here before a few years ago and came back last summer. A friend recommended 25 Lusk's bar and I ended up having dinner instead. Perhaps that was my first mistake . . .

For $180 between two people with no alcohol, it was simply not worth it. The food was utterly overwrought. Every dish had more than 3 additions to the main ingredient and when it arrived, the flavours were muddy, nothing melded particularly well and somethings downright clashed. The best part of the meal were the side dishes - well prepared with some very interesting depth. Sadly, the presentation of everything was very pretty so someone is plating with a good eye but the food doesn't support the aesthetics.

The amuse bouche was beets with a tatsoi salad and some sort of yellow sauce. Nice flavours and a good balance of roasted sweetness, the bitterness of the tatsoi and the tanginess of the sauce. Served in two chinese china spoons - a bit cliched - but cute to see and not bad in terms of taste or texture. Not great but not bad.

The marrowbone with the parsley salad and poached duck egg was all wrong. The bone was enormous - hanging off the edge of the plate. That's a lot of fat for one person to consume. The parsley salad was horrible with very sharp flavoured citrus pieces and the balsamic sauce was a giant pool on the bottom of the plate, smothering everything in its vinegary sweetness. The marrowbone was also not warm enough so the fat was slightly congealed by the time it reached me. St. John's in London do a delicious version with virtually the same ingredients so this one was a terrible disappointment. Too sweet, not warm enough and the parsley salad was just a terrible combination of flavours.

Main course was well executed but unremarkable. The Japanese grits were a delicious revelation and really the high point of the meal. Delicious texture (and I normally don't like polenta/grits), very nice layered flavours of something umami flavoured (perhaps cheese?) and a nice spice which produced a nice but not overpowering heat to accompany the protein of both our main courses. Again, beautiful to see - a golden pool with specks of black pepper.

For dessert, we tried the sampler. Again, so overwrought that our waiter couldn't remember what each dessert was and which were the ingredients. Sigh. Decent creme brulee but hardly award winning to add a bit of passion fruit. Nice apple cider sorbet to accompany but the small cubes of kiwi fruit with the passion fruit brulee and the apple cider sorbet were yet again too many flavours for something that can be so delicious without all the extras. The salted brownie was OK but not particularly special. The sweet -savoury thing is a bit old hat. The mint chocolate chip ice cream was really quite good but jarred with the rest of the flavours on the plate. Might take that one off the sampler plate. Finally, there was a bit of white gloopy dairy something in a chinese spoon that was unidentifiable. It had some sliced fresh green something on top that again was unidentifiable.

All in all, would not repeat the experience for dinner but might go again to try the bar. It did look well occupied with an attractive crowd and the bar snacks that were going by looked appealing.

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