Last weekend, my friend and I happened upon a lovely little gem in the castro district, Sumi. Its a romantic little eclectic restaurant that we probably passed by numerous times without noticing.
The place was packed when we went in at 9pm. Despite the crowd, the ambiance was nice- dimly lit room with about 12 tables and the noise level was just right. Loud enough to maintain a nice busy atmosphere without hindering on our conversation.
We started with the popular ahi tartar ($8), where the tuna was fresh and complimented the avocado. It came with some fried chips, but I preferred the warm bread that came to the table. We also shared a nice citrus salad, which was good though not memorable.
For entrees, I was tempted to order the famous miso roasted chicken, but the duck ($19) was too tempting to pass. My friend wasnt feeling well and opted for a lighter choice, cioppino. I had no regrets! The duck was pan roasted to medium rare and served alongside wild rice w/ walnuts & raisins and broccollini. It was so tender without leaving a trace of richness/ fattiness. Neither one of us having ever had cioppino, I have nothing to compare it to, but didn't like it much. The seafood was fresh, but the tomato broth was thick and reminded us of generic tomato sauce. Still, it did not stop my friend from dipping all the bread and finishing it off.
We were running late by then and didnt have a chance to try the desserts. Overall, we really enjoyed the evening- we were more than satisfied with the food and ambiance for the price we paid. And apparently, they have a $20 prix fixe menu from 5-7pm every night.