Restaurants & Bars

Range Restaurant (longish post, so in a nutshell : excellent) [San Francisco]

Jupiter | Sep 20, 200505:43 PM     25

So i know that there have been some negative posts about Range on the board, but i wanted to let you all know that Rob and I went last night and it was definitely one of the most impressive meals we have had in SF in a while. We were even a little nervous after the apps, becuase they were so good, and our previous experiences have been that when the apps are good, the entrees are not.
I had read somewhere that if you go, you should request a booth. so we did. I didn't realize that there are only 2! They were kind enough to still let us have it with only a 2 top. That they were accomodating enough to give us the booth at 7:30 was a plus in their favor. (and judging by how busy they were, i was grateful that they were willing to let us have it. even though we reserved it, they said ahead of time that they couldn't be certain, but they would do their best.)

On to the meal:
the specialty cocktail list is interesting and the best part was that they named a few of the drinks after previous incarnations of that space. (the timo, the crystal pistol) So i had the "Crystal Pistol" (which made Rob laugh and laugh and reminisce about shows he went to there). It was basically a mojito made with Cachaca, and it was a little to sweet, but still, i drank the whole thing. He had a Fickle Fox, basically a cosmo, but with huckleberries and gin. He said it was too tart, but he drank the whole thing, so it must have still been good. clearly "too" anything is relative for us...
The apps:
- a summer tomato salad with goat feta and basil oil. sliced yellow, zebra, fourth of july's (or something remarkably like it), and another heirloom fanned out on over a layer of basil oil, with crumbled goat feta sprinkled around. For as simple as it was, the basil oil was superb and tied it all together.
- an artichoke pasta with toasted almonds and parmesan. The pasta was a cross between tagliatelle and paparedelle and was tossed with the sliced toasted almonds, parmesan, and a thick julienne of fresh artichoke hearts. This was also very simple, but really well done. not to greasy, none of the flavors overpowered any others and the pasta was cooked perfectly with just the right bite. it was impressive and it dawned on me after eating it, how many places can really mess up a simple pasta.
the entrees:
-coffee rubbed pork shoulder with hominy. Yumm. Yumm. the hominy had such an intense masa flavor that at first i was a little worried that it might make the meal taste to much like a deconstructed tamale, but the sauce quickly diminished the corn flavor and managed to bring everything together. Rob described the pork best: "it's like pork shortribs." it was. very succulent, very tasty.
-three bean stew with mushroom and chevre dumplings. This dish was awesome. it came in it's own little handled covered sauce pan (kind of like the le crueset ones) and the aroma that came out when the lid was removed was amazing. It was more of a minestrone soup than an actual stew. A pesto based broth filled with escarole, heirloom beans, blackeyed peas, green beans, chunks of artichoke heart, and mushroom and goat cheese raviolis. it was heavenly. it was awesome. it was, hands down, the best minestrone soup i have ever had.
the desert:
we each had one more cocktail with desert, i had moscato and rob had the espresso martini. It was on the desert menu, so he went for it. It was pretty....well....gross. But i feel bad for saying that, cause it was defnitely not lacking in imagination or ingenuity, and i am sure that someone, somewhere, really likes it.
Thankfully the drink was finished before the desert arrived, so we shared my musacto with the brillat savarin souffle with balsamic glazed starwberries on the side. the souffle was good, however, it was a little to egg flavored and not really enough cheese flavor to be to my liking. But it was cooked perfectly and all in all was a good desert, i just don't like eggs, so the flavor was a little tainted for my tastes.

anyway, i know that some people have had a bad time there, found the food to salty, bland, etc...the space to loud, trendy, pretentios, etc...
but our evening was very lovely and the service was excellent and the whole evening, drinks, food, tip, everything, came to $125.00, which is a little steep, but we tipped 25% since it was clear that our tip was going to get split between the waiter and the server.

I hope that the rest of you that go have as favorable an experience as we did.

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