Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be unable to post until December 7th. I’m traveling in India and won’t have access to the internet or technology in general. Thank you for understanding!
Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be unable to post until December 7th. I’m traveling in India and won’t have access to the internet or technology in general. Thank you for understanding!
Super Duper is one of the best burger options in the city. It’s trendier and more decadent than In-N-Out, but quicker and cheaper than Umami. They have four locations in SF, and one in Mill Valley, which makes a delicious, cheap, and quick dinner really accessible.
I’m convinced the milkshakes are made with some sort of magic because all of the flavors are incredibly rich, even strawberry and vanilla. According to their menu the magic is Straus Organic Soft Serve, but I don’t understand how soft serve can make such a thick and full flavored shake. I always order a kids size fresh strawberry for the perfect addition to their amazing burger.
Don’t let the words “Mini Burger” scare you, it’s the 1/4lb pictured above and not mini by most people’s standards. Yes, the Super Burger has an extra patty, but other than that the two choices have everything in common. The high fat content in the meat makes for a crispy, moist, and juicy patty which I consider to be the most important factor of a burger along with the choice of bread. They use a toasted sesame bun which is pretty plain but doesn’t take away from the burger.
I can’t really speak for the garlic fries since I’ve only had about two of them in my lifetime, but to my understanding they’re freshly fried and have a whopping amount of garlic. Unfortunately they have a less-than whopping amount of cheese, but you should be able to order extra.
Overall, Super Duper is a dependable and delicious option for an indulgent meal. It’s not an every-day place, but definitely a top contender to satisfy your burger craving.
If God made a bakery it would be called b. Patisserie and it would be located at 2821 California St. at Divisadero in Pac Heights. Forget calories, forget carbs, forget the diet you’ve convinced yourself you’re on, because once you step foot inside B. Patisserie all will power is lost.
The sign of an outstanding restaurant is when almost every menu item pleases almost every customer. This is achieved by the chef having mastered each ingredient and therefore presenting a flawless dish that everyone can appreciate, despite previously not liking the ingredients. b. Patisserie does exactly that. I’ve tried around 6 items during my three visits so far, and have yet to find one that I don’t love.
As if this isn’t reason enough to come here, the service and decor only enhance an already amazing experience. Knowledgeable and friendly staff are quick to help you pick out treats, while the expert bakers led by Head Pastry Chef Belinda Leong are working hard behind the counter in the open kitchen-style bakery. The marble countertops and light yellow accents are reminiscent of Patisseries in Paris.
Rather than explaining each item I’ve tried, I’ll just list them because they’re all worth ordering. Kouign Amann Nature ($4), Kouign Amann Seasonal (Jelly, $4.50) Quiche (unknown amount), 10 Hour Apple Tart ($6.50), Sugar Brioche Tart ($3.45), Gluten Free Almond Cake ($4).
Do yourself a favor and try this place, it’s beyond amazing.
Tartine Bakery is one of the best things to happen to the Mission. There’s no sign outside, so the only way to identify the bakery and cafe is by the extensive line out the door that seemingly never dies down. But trust me, a 15-25 minute wait is the only bad thing about this place. Everything from the diner-inspired exterior to the brilliantly executed baked goods and pastries makes Tartine a truly unique destination.
This trip I ordered my four favorites: The Lemon Cream Tart, Morning Bun, Chocolate Hazelnut Tart, and Quiche.
The Lemon Cream Tart (sweet pastry shell filled with rich lemon cream, topped with unsweetened cream - 4” $6.50) is the complete package, and you need to try it. Usually if there’s lemon in a dessert, I’m not ordering it. This is my exception. There are endless words to describe the lemon cream, but I’m going to go with sensational. Not only is the cream one of the best I’ve ever had, the pasty shell is a star on its own. It tastes like buttery shortbread and practically melts in your mouth. The pastry is completed by expertly dolloped unsweetened cream on top brings a light and subtle savory element.
The first thing I tried at Tartine a couple years back was the famous Morning Bun (croissant dough baked with sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest - $3.95). The Morning Bun is a distant cousin of the Cinnamon Bun due to three main differences: croissant dough instead of dense bread like dough, the addition of orange zest, and lack of frosting. This Bun is the bomb not only because of its ultra flaky and buttery dough, but because of the molten sugar and orange zest that’s caramelized throughout each layer. Bite after bite you’re captured by the floral aroma and warm soft texture, so be prepared to finish the entire thing.
No one can deny the wrath that is the Chocolate Hazelnut Tart (dark chocolate tart topped with toasted hazelnuts and powdered sugar - 4” $6.50). The same buttery and dense crust that is used for the lemon tart is used here, but the difference is that instead of contrasting the light cream filling, it only enhances the extremely rich cake-like chocolate. Indulgent is an understatement when talking about this tart because the chocolate is intense and then some. Another difference between the two tarts is that since the lemon tart is light and smooth you have no trouble eating it all, but the chocolate tart is far too rich to finish one sitting. This being said, I definitely recommend ordering it if you have someone to share it with.
The Quiche (vegetarian, also made non-vegetarian - $5.25) is a classic breakfast item done well. It’s moist, creamy, flavorful, and added with unique ingredients like chard and summer squash. The crust is super flaky which creates a great textural contrast to the fluffy eggs. This quiche is neck-and-neck with b. Patisserie's in my book.
Tartine is a must-try whether you’re a foodie, tourist, or just a coffee lover (they serve Four Barrel).
P.S. If you have an Instagram, follow @eatingthroughsf for a daily picture of delicious food.
Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous is just another expensive ice cream shop with cool flavors. Yes, the texture was spot on and everything tasted great, but other than the length of the line (pretty short) there are few differences between this place and more conveniently located shops. It’s location in Dogpatch is an extra 5-10 minutes past Market going South, so unless you’re headed to 280 via 3rd to Caesar Chavez like I often am, it’s not worth going the extra mile.
The “Just Chocolate” (front) was good, but compared to Smitten's TCHO ice cream it lacked richness. The Buttermilk Lime (upper right) is eggless which basically means less creamy, but despite that I was pleasantly surprised that the acid and dairy combo wasn't too weird. My favorite is the Mascarpone because I love tangy desserts. It's similar to cream cheese in flavor and is perfectly smooth.
Unfortunately this place is probably a lot better than most ice cream shops anywhere outside of San Francisco, but since the ice cream scene around here is at such a higher level than most cities, it’s nothing special. This being said, I definitely recommend stopping by if you live in the Dogpatch/Potrero Hill area.
My second visit* to the Embarcadero’s hot new Spanish restaurant Coqueta somehow out did the first. When I accepted the hostess’s offer for seats at the chef’s counter, often less desired than a table, I didn’t yet understand how astronomically (or gastronomically, in this case) better my night would become.
After getting input on our menu choices by the Manager, he requested the Executive Chef Ryan McIlwraith help us decide on which Pintxos ,bite-sizes skewers, to choose. Not only did this come with a wooden plank of about 100 of them organized standing up in rows (not pictured), it came with an in depth explanation of each creation and the inspiration behind it. I’m always searching for the perfect bite, and each skewer delivered exactly that.
As each of our dishes arrived, Chef Ryan would describe how to make it, how to eat it, the dish’s background, and why it’s on the menu. These explanations led into surprisingly long conversations about the culinary industry; Everything from schools, restaurants, TV shows, to chefs. One or two times I asked if he needed to get back to work, to which he casually replied “No”.
I recognized him as the Sous Chef to Chef Chiarello (the owner of Coqueta) on Iron Chef America: Battle Scotch, which I had watched a few days before. The fact I was eating the best Paella of my life while getting the inside scoop on my favorite TV show by someone who had been on it sent me straight to Heaven.
After spending the better part of our meal talking with Chef Ryan, he brought us complementary Manchego Cheese Pops (not pictured), and a reference to one of his favorite Spanish restaurants in SF.
Sufficed to say, this two and a half hour experience blew my mind. From the interactive and creative dishes to the perfect balance between a cozy and sophisticated atmosphere, tonight’s dinner was one for the books.
Tips: Reservations are hard to come by; For the best chance of getting in, call at 11:30am exactly one month ahead of time. They don’t take reservations any earlier than that, and spots fill up quickly. Also check Open Table for last minute cancellations if you’re okay with making your plans the day of.
*Here’s the original review.
Awesome. The food is awesome, the staff is awesome, and the people watching is, you guessed it, awesome. The original Pizzeria Delfina, located between Tartine Bakery and Bi-Rite Market on 18th street in the Mission, has branched out into territory no Mission Hipster has pretended to skateboard: Upper Fillmore. Since Pac Heights is my old stomping ground, I happen to like the location better than 18th street, yet the service, product, and decor is completely the same.
The Insalata Tricolore (lemon vinaigrette and grana padano $8.75) looks super boring, yet it’s actually really good. The very light lemon vinaigrette strikes the perfect balance between acidity and oil. Champagne Vinegar and Bariani (I’m pretty sure…) Extra Virgin Olive Oil are the secret ingredients to this super simple dressing. The shaved parmesan brings a great nutty flavor to the salad while substituting salt.
The Calabrian Sausage (pork sausage, pickled onions, crostini) was good but not extraordinary. It was cooked perfectly: slight crust on the casing and medium rare in the center. It was very fatty (which I love), although I could’ve done without the oil bath the sausage was sitting in. I’m usually not into spice, but in this case it wasn’t so bad.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Pizzeria Delfina in my lifetime, but it’s a lot, and every single time I order the Napoletana Pizza (tomato, anchovies (pictured without), capers, hot peppers, olives, oregao $11.75). The reason? The texture is so complex and the flavors are so bold yet the ingredients are so simple. The dough is almost like a thin cracker with a super soft pillowy layer before the sauce and toppings. The crust is slightly charred while the inside is light and fluffy. Even though I order the pizza sans anchovies, the capers and vinegar add enough salt and tang to balance the sweet tomato sauce. Finely sliced garlic and oregano add yet another layer of bold flavor. Cheese would only complicate this dish because it already achieved a well-developed flavor profile. The Napoletana has redefined pizza by combining expert technique with only a small number of essential ingredients with vivid flavor.
Pizzeria Delfina has a permanent spot on my “go back to” list. It is incredibly consistent, fresh, and just plain worth it. I haven’t tried anything bad on their menu, and I doubt anyone has. It also doesn’t hurt that the order of Belfiore Burrata antipasti dish (only $10.25) puts every other in the city to shame.
A well developed menu featuring not-so-well developed flavors sums up the Japanese-inspired seafood restaurant Skool in the design district. Everything from the college-ruled binder paper used for the menu to the description of “Detention Hall” happy-hour on the website alludes to a fresh and unique experience. Neither of my two lunch visits have lived up to this; the ambiance is less than exciting and although the service has been great, the food simply lacks the yum factor.
The Aburi Butter Fish (rich seared and sliced butter fish served with quail egg, yuzu miso vinaigrette and pickled Eryngii mushrooms $12.50) is executed well, but is exceptionally boring. None of the flavors are exciting, and the only reason I kept eating was because of the buttery soft texture of the fish. All of the elements of the plate were there for good reason: cucumber for crunch, mushroom for earthiness, sauce for tang and citrus, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of seasoning and flavor of the fish. I will not order this again.
Exciting and bountiful, this Nicoise Salad (seared spice pole-n-line caught ahi tuna, seasonal vegetables, wheat berries, french coco beans, kalamata olives, capers, poached free range egg, cucumber anchovy-vinaigrette $16.75) is everything it should be. If you couldn’t tell by the extensive description or picture, this entree salad is definitely a heaping portion. The cucumber anchovy-vinaigrette is light and really enhances the otherwise boring grains, as well as providing the tuna with a great sauce. Unfortunately the egg lacked any salt so it was super bland, but luckily poached perfectly. Despite the underwhelming egg, the tuna was seasoned and seared really well which makes this dish one of the better nicoise salads I’ve had in the city.
The Chimichurri Salmon (pan grilled Loch Duart salmon with zesty chimichurri sauce served with soy dashi tossed arugala and a house macaroni salad $14.75) is presented with the three main components of the dish in order of worst to best: unimaginative macaroni salad, good salmon, and a great arugala salad. My first bite of the macaroni instantly brought me back to picnics at Alta Plaza Park as a child when my mom would buy premade deli pasta salad. This is not a good thing: they were always super tangy with not much else flavor. This salad was just that, and even tasted like it was straight from the container. The salmon had a good sear on the top, but after removing the skin there was no texture or seasoning left. The chimichurri sauce is definitely one-dimensional, yet complements the salmon well. My favorite part of the dish is the arugala because the soy dressing is light, tangy, and overall delicious. I usually dont go for the side salads because I fear an over-dressed pile of soggy leaves, yet this is nothing of the sort. Due to the overall lack of flavor and an uninspired plate in general, I will not be ordering this again.
Skool get’s a C in my grade-book. Is yumminess too much to ask from a restaurant? No. None of these dishes made my mouth water even though some elements were executed pretty close to perfectly. If you want seafood skip this place and go straight to the Embarcadero.
I’ve lost a piece of my childhood. Before the remodel, new menu, and a brief name change there was a restaurant called Betelnut. The link that is embedded in that word is an unfortunate illusion of the place I have fondly spent many hours during my early years. While the service has improved, the restaurant as a whole has gone from neighborhood favorite to unexceptional. What was once a comfortably tattered dining room has become dull and contrived. Although my first visit back after the changes (during the 4 week period when it was called Hutong) made me super depressed, I’ve accepted that I’ve lost the real Betelnut, and can appreciate it for what it’s worth.
The Firecracker Shrimp (five-spice with sambal dip $12.25) was better than I was expecting. The light corn starch breading provided a great crispy texture while not overpowering the shrimp. The sliced jalapenos added heat to the dish which balanced the tangy and also spicy sambal sauce. I’d order this again.
I remembered the Cecelia’s Minced Chicken (black mushrooms, lup cheoung and lettuce cups $12.50) to be a lot better than they were. I basically only tasted soy sauce, which is really unpleasant. The mixture was basically one texture other than the occasional peanut. Although the lettuce was fresh and durable, overall the dish was disappointing.
The Szchuan Green Beans ($6.88) are some of the best in the city. The beans are crisp and tangy, not overdressed and wilted like some others. Don’t go to Betelnut without ordering them, they use the same recipe they always have which means this is one of the only dishes off the old menu.
The Prawn and Pork Belly Fried Rice was the daily special, so unfortunately I don’t have the exact description. The prawns were wrapped in bacon, which was super delish. The pork belly was 75% fat, which was not super delish. And the coconut fried rice was really good but also really hot. Since the stone pot seemed to be upward of 300 degrees, the rice was blazing hot even after 15 minutes of being on the table. Despite this, the dish was pretty good.
Although I’m disappointed that the old menu is gone for good, the food at Betelnut is somewhere between mediocre and satisfactory. I’m not excited to come back, but I’m not completely opposed to it.
Smitten is the coolest ice cream shop in SF not because of insanely innovative flavor combos or hilariously disconnected hipster staff, but because of the process in which they make their product. The wonder machine, Brrr, uses liquid nitrogen to create extra creamy ice cream in less than 60 seconds.
Although the staff seemed a little tired, they were pretty nice. If I worked at this place I would be pretty stoked on life but I understand why they’re tired: It’s an outdoor shop, and on a hot day with no air conditioning it probably sucks.
What the menu lacks in length, it makes up for in quality. I originally ordered the Honey Nectarine and loved it, but when I went back a little bit later I got the TCHO 60.5% Chocolate. The Nectarine was sweet and had a subtle flavor, and the Chocolate was super rich and a slightly bitter.
Although it costs $4.75 for practically only a spoon full, I recommend trying it once. Unfortunately for us, the price doesn’t include hot staff who flirt with you or give you a good laugh because you never thought someone could be so hipster like the ice cream shops in the Mission.
The Slanted Door is the perfect name for this Ferry Building staple: it opened the door to Vietnamese inspired asian fusion cuisine in an innovative (or slanted) orientation. The restaurant is upscale, yet the flavors are warm. Although the interiors don’t scream comfort, everything else about the restaurant makes you feel at home. I’ve been coming here for a while yet every time I return I’m blown away by the consistent quality of each dish. If you’re not in the mood to travel to the Embarcadero, or you want a table without making a reservation weeks in advance, try their equally awesome, more casual breakout restaurant Out The Door in Pac Heights.
My usual dinner order consists of the Pork & Shrimp Wonton Soup, Imperial Rolls, Claypot Chicken, and Shaking Beef, yet today I decided to live life on the edge and swap out the Chicken for a new item: The Vietnamese Crepe. When I say “usual” I mean this is what I ordered the first time coming to Slanted Door, and I haven’t found a reason to stray from it since then. Today was that day for two reasons. 1 - I usually go for dinner, and this was for lunch, so why not shake things up? 2 - I’m getting tired of the unfortunately consistent fat segments in the Chicken. Frankly I’m confused as to how this makes itself into the dish, because chicken has a low fat content, but it’s whatever.
The real reason I order the Gulf Shrimp & Pork Wonton Soup (five-spiced pork, egg noodle $7) is because it makes me feel like an adult. The reason? I don’t just use the fact it’s soup to disguise the fact I’m gobbling up the noodles and dumplings. This bowl is the whole package: It’s not just random ingredients floating in water, they mean something. This soup has integrity, and more importantly, it has spunk. In fact, it should be best friends with the sassy Lobster Bisque from the Rotunda because together they would rule the world. I don’t consider myself crazy, so when I start to personify soup you know it’s the real deal. Anyway, the reason it’s godly is because it embodies one of my favorite inspirational quotes: “Don’t settle for the status quo, bland, one-textured soups! Stand up for Bowl Equality and demand a well developed flavor and texture profile!” The crunch from the salty fried pork skins (not mentioned on the menu) complements the soft shrimp dumplings texturally, as well as complementing the flavor of the meat. The noodles are perfectly chewy and have a surprisingly rich flavor from the eggs. Although all of the elements of the dish are great on their own as well as together, the real star of the soup is the broth. I don’t know what flavor it is exactly, but whatever I’m tasting makes my taste buds go crazy. Unfortunately the portion size at Out The Door is about three times bigger and only $3 more. But no matter what size or shape, this soup is not to be overlooked.
There are two words that start with the letter “A” that sum up the Crispy Imperial Rolls (gulf shrimp, pork shoulder, glass noodle, roasted peanut $12): awkward, and awesome. When the servers bring the dish, they ask if it’s your first time having it. If it is, they instruct you on the “correct” way to compose your Imperial Roll: wrap one roll, some noodles, and a mint leaf in a piece of lettuce and add sauce. This method not only results in a greasy mouth and hands, but unless you can somehow fit it all in your mouth at once (wow, good for you) it’s hard to get every component into each bite. The only real benefit to wrapping everything in a leaf of lettuce is to somehow take away the guilt from eating a fried roll, but that’s ridiculous. Since the noodles add no texture or flavor to the rolls I disregard them completely and go straight to making my “slanted” version of the dish: dip a roll in the sauce, add a sprig of mint, and enjoy. The shrimp and pork marry and create an incredibly flavorful bite that is delivered in a warm crunchy roll. With the sweet and somewhat tangy sauce added and a the small addition of mint, the bite is dynamite.
I admit, the Vietnamese Crepe (gulf shrimp, pork shoulder, bean sprout, yellow onion $13) was innovative in design and concept, but in the end it didn’t stand out. It might be because this is literally the third dish out of three that features shrimp and pork, but it was just kind of boring. The crunchy top and the creamy bottom of the folded crepe kept me interested for a couple of bites, but my taste buds were quickly bored. I’m glad I tried something new for a change, but I won’t order this again.
Although it’s quite expensive considering the size, the Grass-fed Estancia Shaking Beef (cubed filet mignon, watercress, red onion, lime sauce $36) is worth ordering. The beef is perfectly cooked and has a slight crust. The onions add a crunch, and the salt and pepper lime sauce cuts the rich flavor of the filet mignon. If you’re like me and never order steak on a menu because it’s boring and predictable, this dish is for you.
When the two boys sitting next to me got the Doughnuts (butterscotch dipping sauce $9) delivered, they were too beautiful for me not to snap a pic. The guys tried to convince me to take one but I couldn’t accept that they would remember me as the girl who tried to eat their fried dough. I was not down with that, and to my surprise they finished every single one so I didn’t have a chance to ask again.
My dessert, the Roasted Apricot Tart (blueberry-creme fraiche ice cream $10) was everything it should be: tangy from the apricots, crunchy from the buttery crust, and creamy from the ice cream. I love that fruit was at the forefront in this dessert, yet it was accented with dessert classics like a crumbly crust and ice cream. It felt pretty light considering the apricots took up most of the dish, which is the perfect way to end lunch.
I really hope everyone who lives in the city has tried The Slanted Door because it’s truly unique. Dinner reservations are hard to come by so lunch is the perfect time to snag a table. The restaurant is always radiant (unless you’re sitting at the end of the bar like I was), and has great views of the bay. This is the perfect place to take out of town guests because it represents the best that San Francisco has to offer.
M.Y. China is not your average mall restaurant. Despite being located at the center of Westfield Downtown, the food and atmosphere is fresh and enjoyable. This is Celebrity Chef Martin Yan's first restaurant in San Francisco, and luckily it's not a disaster like other Celeb Chef’s restaurant endeavors. It’s definitely not fine dining, but it provides exactly what it says it will: good chinese food. The food is moderately priced, but considering Chinatown is only a few blocks north, if you’re planning a visit from anywhere other than Downtown I’d skip it and go get a cheaper version of the same thing.
First was the Sichuan Green Beans ($8). Compared to others in the city they were less than satisfactory. Other than a refreshing floral aroma, they were limp and insipid.
Next was the star of dinner: the Mu Shu Pork Tacos (wild boar, cabbage, egg $9). Every bite was filled with flavor and texturally pleasing. The additions highlight the perfectly seasoned pork while adding depth to the overall flavor profile. This sweet and crunchy taco definitely hit the spot.
The Pork & Crab Juicy Dumplings (fresh crab, garlic, pork broth $12) were definitely juicy, but lacked flavor. Not only was the amazing pork flavor from the tacos missing, I couldn’t discern the crab whatsoever. When I picked up the dumpling with my chopsticks the bottom stuck the the spoon. You’re better off ordering the Dim Sum Trio or the Chef’s Choice platter because there are more options and therefore a greater chance the dumplings actually have flavor.
I’ve ordered the Kung Pao Chicken (Huang Fei chilies, jalapeno, peanuts $16) before, and it was exactly how I remembered it: delish. If you’re like me and don’t order chicken because you fear flavorless pieces of rubber, you need to order this dish. It strikes a healthy balance of lightly breaded chicken and fresh grilled veggies. Although the chicken is slightly dry, the flavor makes up for it. The crispy dehydrated chilies add a much needed textural element as well as a slight spice which completes the dish.
The Wild Boar Scissor Cut Noodles (wood ear mushrooms, scallions, Shaoxing Wine $14) didn’t disappoint. The noodles were spectacular - they took on the flavors of the boar, garlic, and wine. I don’t think I’ve had such light and chewy flavorful noodles before, which makes sense since they’re made in-house (photographed above). My only critique is that the pieces of boar were so small that I could only get a little at a time. There’s no mistaking the noodles are the only star of this dish.
Everything about M.Y. China was good. Although most dishes were uninspired, they tasted fantastic - and that’s what matters. It isn’t necessarily a destination, but it’s an excellent option if you’re already downtown. Even though the selections in the food court downstairs are pretty amazing, M.Y. China is a great alternative if you want more of a dining experience without leaving the mall.
RN74 is a fine dining contemporary American and French restaurant located south of Market on Mission street at Beale. It was what I expected in that the menu was comprised of classic dishes with a contemporary twist, but it was not what I expected in that it didn’t leave a lasting impression. Michael Mina, it’s mother restaurant, is one of the finest restaurants in San Francisco, and RN74 is nothing more and nothing less than its daughter. I say this because the restaurant offers an impeccable menu with slightly lower prices, but lacks perfect execution.
I started out with the fabulous Pate de Foie de Poulet (crispy chicken skins, cherry confit, toasted brioche, pickled ramps $16.50). This “To Share” item is slightly larger than an appetizer, which is perfect because it’s so delish and you never want to stop eating it. The chicken liver is creamy and salty, the chicken skins are crunchy, the cherry is sweet, and the ramp adds a subtle onion flavor. The only two faults of this dish were the high salt content and the bread. The brioche was dense and pretty dry. I got a corner piece of bread on one of the slices so I had to cut the crust off myself. I definitely would’ve preferred a toasted crostini or something more thin so I didn’t feel like I was eating a dense, flavorless cake for my appetizer. Despite this, I will definitely order it again because I love foie of any kind, prepared in any way, at any time.
The Beet and Watermelon Gazpacho was less than satisfactory due to lack of developed texture and flavor. And before you say “But it’s a soup, duh it doesn’t have texture!”, remember that every dish needs to be well-rounded and you can’t discriminate against soups, that’s just rude. Think of it like standing up for an endangered species: demand your soup includes all textural elements as well as a complex flavor profile just like you would demand that whales retain their rights to live without whaling. I know this makes me sound like I’m super uptight, so to quell your fear I’ll let you in on a secret: I often microwave my ice cream before i spoon it into my mouth at extreme speeds around 1am… and it’s okay then because it’s not being served to me at a fine dining restaurant. The same goes with soup: at home it’s fine to have just a bowl of soup, but if it’s a $15 appetizer at RN74, I expect more than just a watery gazpacho with cubes of the exact ingredients that are in it. I give them props for mixing a sweet fruit and a tart veggie, but I’m missing a creamy and crunchy element.
I think they noticed I was taking pictures and assumed I’m reviewing their restaurant so they gave us peppers with some sort of breadcrumb thing. Unfortunately it was pretty oily and didn’t add anything to my meal, but it was super nice of them.
The first main course dish was the mediocre Seared Sea Scallops. My waitress recommended this over the Halibut, so I took her advice. It was a fairly small portion, and although the presentation and execution were beautiful, it lacked something. That something could’ve been presented on the 75% of the plate that was untouched by food, but who can say. The scallops were cooked perfectly to a soft, almost creamy texture. The crisp on top of each added a buttery addition and most importantly, salt. Since the description of the dish featured corn in three out of four if it’s additions, I was pretty scared it would take over, which it did not. It added the cream, crunch, and supplementary flavor. The mushrooms were prepared two ways, one bringing earthiness and the other bringing a tangy kick, which was very unexpected and refreshing. The greens were okay but basically only added color to the dish and not much else. I will not order this again because I was dissatisfied with the small portion size, and believe an entree requires more innovation than what was presented.
Next was the Duo of Wagyu Beef (grilled flat iron, braised short rib, vidalia onion tart tatin, tomato confiture $38.75), which was pretty delicious. The hanger steak was perfectly rare, yet amazingly buttery. Other than the overpowering salt content, the short rib was perfectly tender and had a great smokey element. I would be happy to just have the onion on its own, it was that good. The pastry was still slightly doughy yet crispy on the outside and provided the perfect textural contrast to the onion.
The Basil Pavlova (strawberries, hibiscus, creme fraiche ice cream, sicilian pistachios $9.50) was a light and refreshing way to end the meal. I wasn’t a fan of the hibiscus puree that was added to the dish upon it’s arrival at our table. It is very sour and tart, which although brings a much needed element to the dish, still should be played down. The pavlova was perfectly executed: a hard outer shell protecting the light and chewy center. I didn’t recognize the basil, yet I enjoyed the light earthy flavor that I did find. Creme fraiche ice cream is probably my second favorite flavor, second only to the blue cheese ice cream I was blessed with at Coqueta, and I’m so glad it made an appearance on this dish. It’s tangy, light, and added character to the pavlovas. The strawberries were fresh, yet they were untreated other than a light sauce which is both good and bad. The pistachios added an additional chewy textural element as well as a nutty quality to complete the well rounded flavor profile of the dessert.
RN74 is somewhere near the bottom of my “must go back to” list.
Yikes. Market Bar in the Ferry Building is nothing short of a disappointment. Even though it’s a major red flag that we could get a reservation day of on a Saturday night, we still went. After making absolutely sure The Slanted Door had no availability we made our way over to the other side of the Ferry Building. There were a few people eating outside, but it was a ghost town in the main restaurant which is where were seated.
Our appetizers included the Castelvetrano Olives (citrus marinated $3) and Hobb’s Smoked Salmon Bruschetta (goat cheese / cucumber jam $9). The olives were okay. Instead of bathing in olive oil they were bathing in a watery vinegar, probably juice from the jar they came in. The bruschetta was dynamite, but unfortunately only had about one and half pieces so the three of us got basically one bite. Bruschetta is usually an appetizer meant to be shared because it’s small and enough can fit on the plate to feed the whole table. We shouldn’t have to cut it up in order to share it.
Next came the entrees. The biggest disaster was the Gulf Prawn Louie (avocado / egg / cherry tomatoes / house made thousand island dressing $17). If a Louie means a boring salad with three basically rotten shrimp sliced in half, then this is the best louie out there. Incredibly large, wilted pieces of lettuce and dressing that is too thick to be called dressing were the stars of this dish. If the lobster bisque at the Rotunda is a party you never want to leave, this is like your aunt’s 34th wedding anniversary celebration in Missouri - you just don’t go to it.
The All Natural Cornish Game Hen ‘Under a brick’ (English pea puree / carrot puree / herbed chicken jus $24) was cooked perfectly but had nothing else going for it. The ball of that bitter type of lettuce I always pick out of my salad was haunting the right side of the plate, and brought nothing to the dish. The purees failed their one job, to add flavor to the meat, and the jus was basically just a puddle of mirky water collecting on the dish. The flavor of the meat was so good that if I ever found myself back at this place, I would probably order it.
The House-cured pancetta flatbread (Watsonville artichokes / dry jack cheese / chile flake $13) was my favorite dish at the table. This is because I love pizza, and I usually order it with meat if it’s on the menu. The slices were pre-cut, which I typically like, but they were then layered on top of each other so each piece stuck to the one below it. I feel like it was presented this way so everything could fit on the plate, which is the lazy solution to buying new plates. Around half of the pancetta was fat, but once I removed it the meat was really good. The artichokes were less than satisfactory because they included the inedible part of the petal, which is just not okay.
I asked out waiter if we could get a couple more pieces of shrimp for the shrimp louie, and although he was really nice and apologetic, he never brought them. He ended up taking 30% off the price of the salad, which was nice. The manager also came to our table to make sure everything was going smoothly and to apologize for the salad. It’s not like this one particular salad was prepared badly, I get the feeling it’s this poorly executed every time. Fortunately for them, they snagged a prime spot when the Ferry Building re-opened in 2002, and since the place is packed daily with tourists and locals alike, they are basically guaranteed business. Whenever I’m at the Ferry Building their patio is always hopping with people, probably because it’s one of only a handful of restaurants at the location. Unfortunately this restaurant lacks anything special and therefore doesn’t stack up to restaurants like Cafe Des Amis and Rose’s Cafe which serve similar types of food, but with integrity.
The new Nespresso Bar on Grant Street is a great place to take a break and re-energize during a long day of shopping downtown. I don’t drink coffee often, so although I gave in and ordered some drinks to try, I was pleased to see some alternate options on the menu including Pellegrino and hot tea.
The first drink I sampled was the Iced Caffe (vivalto lungo Grand Cru poured over two scoops of vanilla ice cream, with a layer of whipped cream and chocolate shavings $7). This is a perfect drink for people like me who love vanilla ice cream and don’t love coffee, but want the caffeine. It’s a super creamy and indulgent treat that strikes a good balance between sweet and coffee.
The Iced Cappuccino (Iced Espresso Grand Cru blended with cold milk, topped with a thin layer of frothed milk $6.50) came next. You can choose between full-bodied and light-bodied, so we chose the Grand Cru that fell between the two. It was perfect - smooth and fresh, which is rare when talking about coffee.
Up next was my special concoction: a blend of Vanilio and Caramelito Grand Crus prepared Americano style with cold fat free milk and sugar on the side. It was pretty good, but I wouldn’t order it again. The vanilla and caramel flavors were less prominent than I had hoped, and the milk and sugar couldn’t mask the strong coffee flavor. This shows just how weak I am because the drink was far removed from a classic coffee drink, yet I still couldn’t handle it.
The space is really great - it’s incredibly chic and fits right in with it’s designer neighbors like Chanel and Bulgari. It truly is a ‘boutique’ bar, as described on their website, and has incredible service to match. It’s a great place to catch up with friends, grab a quick bite from the snack menu, or just relax. The drinks average around $5, which is low considering the service they provide. The girls I was with raved about it for hours after, and though I don’t agree it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me, I definitely recommend stopping by.