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Ti Couz report

nja | May 14, 200407:22 PM

I've had a few snacks, small meals, or desserts from Ti Couz (SF, 16th @ Valencia) before, but Wednesday night marked the first full, multi-course meal I've had there.

Arrived at about 9pm and waited about 1/2 hour for a table. Waited in the waiting area behind the kitchen and wondered why the didn't just serve food in there too. Was kept up to date on the status of our wait by a very nice and apologetic host.

Drink list is short but very interesting. Greatly enjoyed three beers on tap--Greene King Abbot Ale, a Scottish Ale (forgot the producer), and a Welch Ale (ditto)--which were perfectly poured with thick, lasting heads and just barely cool temperature. Didn't care too much for the wheat beer on tap, nor the margarita. Also had a bottle Hoegaarden, though the bartender didn't pour it right so the head disappeared almost instantly. But most interesting was the bowl (i.e., you gotta drink it like miso soup) of dry sparkling French cider that tasted like effervescent, unsweetened apple juice and... smoked bacon. I found it very interesting, though my three companions most certainly disliked it.

Our three courses started good and steadily improved.

We started with two salads: the crudite and special (avocado, bay shrimp, roasted corn, and cilantro vinaigrette). Paid the extra $1 for organic. The salads were fine, ingredients were fresh. But I've heard that Ti Couz has some of the best salads in the city, yet I would only say these were perhaps a little above average.

Next course were two crepes: smoked salmon with creme fraiche and scallions, and mushroom. Both came on very savory, crispy buckwheat crepes. The salmon crepe was fairly light, with plenty of moist smoked salmon with a bare drizzle of creme. The mushroom crepe was much more rich and earthy. Both very good. Though I wish I had ordered a ham crepe to go with that cider.

The meal hit a crescendo with dessert. A strawberry crepe was filled with plenty of fresh strawberries (a tiny bit underripe and tart but still very good) and a small dollop of fresh whipped cream. But what blew us away and nearly caused violence as we fought for the last bites was the crepe with vanilla bean gelato and chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce was intensely flavored, dark, both slight bitter and sweet, French chocolate. The ice cream I'm almost positive was Ciao Bella vanilla bean gelato. Folded into the crepe was a healthy coat of rich butter which added a salty, savory note that propelled the dish into the stratosphere.

Our smiles continued when the bill arrived: $50 before tip for 4 people. That excluded the first round of drinks, so with those plus tip we probably spent a grand total of $80. Money well spent.


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