Restaurants & Bars

Range Night #3 ::long::

bandit | Jul 22, 200511:10 AM     3

WOW, that's what I have to say...great food- so i will get the other stuff out of the way...

Great location, great staff, great design...There is a sexy bar in the front with about 6 tables for eating if you like the bar/scene loudness (to stay in touch with the hip crowd), a middle room with 6 tables with a window to sort of watch the kitchen and vice versa (a bit of a fish bowl effect for both sides IMO but nice way to break up what would otherwise be just a hallway) and then a large room in the back with at least 15 tables for your nice dinner atmosphere (booths and tables in the back)..We sat in the middle and enjoyed seeing both rooms as well as traffic going by and the occasional glance from the kitchen staff...Probably will head to the back room next and stay far away from the front room :)

In summary the food was really great, I have been wanting to like so many new places and old places that I forgot whats it like to have every dish well executed, flavored, and just tasty...Well worth the calories and money...

We had a fava bean puree crostata with an olive oil/pistachio topping- very tasty and subtle flavors, then the hearts of romaine (little gems) with a vinegrette and fried capers which was perfectly balanced and the capers were divine (must have been fried in bacon or duck fat) with just the right amount of flavor but nothing overshadowed the leafy lettuce which happens to be one of my favorites, so I really appreciated being able to taste everything since most places kill the flavor of the greens with whatever dressing they concoct...I loved that the dressing AUGMENTED and didn't detract from the salad, IMO how it should be...

For an entree I had several appetizers which the server recommended (I narrowed my selection down between one entrée or several appetizers and she steered me right) and they were great...The stuffed goat cheese and morrel pasta with a lime butter sauce and chives...Again the chef really balanced the tangy goat cheese (very young and not melted) with another tangy lime and butter/chives/pasta to balance without any one thing overpowering such that every bite was de-lish. Then the scallop diablo...such an interesting dish- think tuna casserole but substitute scallops with a sort of cassolout flavor and a perfect amount of kick- not spicy and you could still taste all the flavors but again just a perfect texture with crumbly/crunchy bread topping that was well seasoned, a tomato based sauce and baked scallops (at least 5 scallops had to have been in there cut up into pieces) – served with the same bread from the fava-bean crostata, but I ate it alone…the wife had steak and potatoes (I was so lost in my dishes that I really didn’t catch much of hers but she really liked it- she did add salt and pepper to the last couple of bites of meat but that was the only exchange we had while eating  always a good sign when the conversation lulls…

Dessert- wow, and I don’t say that lightly. The only dessert I have had in over 2 years (including a meal at Le Bernadine, Babbo, Danko, Tru in Chicago, several high end places in St Barth and Paris) that I thought WOW was micheal mina’s peanut butter molten chocolate cake and peanut butter shake- which was truly divinely delicious. So this was a triple-cream cheese souffle- not just any triple-cream but a brillat savarin, with a strawberry salad (balsamic reduction and green things) which was amazingly melt in your mouth. The salad needed more reduction- my only critique of the night out of 5 dishes and it really is such a small comment overall. With that said, I love the crostata at delfina and obsess about it but its really just a pie- this was so much more than just a souffle. This souffle belongs at gary danko, who I still think should be ashamed of his desserts.

Overall, the total bill was $65 if you can believe it…For food of this caliber I would have expected a higher cost, which isn’t a go every night or week price but I can think of about 20 places (while we were sitting there including Home, Luna Park, Luna, Red Grill, Foreign Cinema, Andalu, Mi Tante Sumi, etc..etc…) that I won’t go back to in liu of this new little slice of heaven…That’s for 2 appetizers (which ran about $10 a piece), 1 entrée (steak was about $20, as were most of the entrees), dessert ($7, all the same price) and a bottle of Pelligrino ($5)…all the other courses (fava bean crostata and little gem salad) were sent out from the chef, including an amazing Almond Brittle at the end…I was so happy leaving and will be back many times…I don’t consider this upscale comfort food, but I guess if you have to classify it, that might be a way to, I just think its g-damned great food…

FINALLY, something to be excited about that wasn’t a disappointment…hope we can still walk in in the upcoming weeks, I overheard a couple of things: I guess she was the owner talking to another table mentioned they almost got a place in the financial district that fell through at the last minute and so they got this location which they love because they live in the neighborhood, she used to work at delfina for 2-3 years, they haven’t had any press or promotional things and are going on word of mouth right now. We walked by maverick on our way home to help digest all the food we just ate and after looking at their menu we couldn’t find anything that looked interesting. We spent a good 15 minutes debating over all the options on the menu at Range, which we likened to our comparison of the Ritz where we found about 2 items that looked good vs Micheal Mina where everything on the menu looked good, I truly believe you can tell if YOU like a place soley by reviewing their menu, I know most everyone on this board is impressed with Siegal but for me and my tastes I loved Mina…Not to put Range on their caliber- not what they are going for, but the food certainly is fantastic.

Link: http://www.rangesf.com/

Image: http://www.rangesf.com/assets/range.gif

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