Observations on Food in the Bay Area
review - located at the corner of Green and Hyde in San Francisco, this little neighborhood Californian-Italian restaurant is great! First, so long as you don't mind being a bit warmer, I strongly recommend the table located upstairs immediately above the kitchen. You get to watch everything being prepared! (Though you might not really want to know just how much butter goes into those scallops...)
It's got the small, convivial atmosphere of a neighborhood place, but the expansive wine list (and great food) of something larger.
We had a bottle of Edmunds St. John 2001 Rocks & Gravel, a wonderful Rhone-style GSM blend from Paso Robles grapes. Very tasty, and a great pair with all our food. (We also had a fantastic bottle of Cayuse Syrah, but we had to bring that one with us.)
The food was quite good (though now that it's been nearly a week since we ate there, the memory is fading on details...)
Among their wonderful appetizers were:
A great scallop dish with a carrot creme sauce. It really works well!
Calamari! Fantastic. Not breaded & fried, as usual, but merely sauteed, but so fresh and wonderful.
A fried bread salad that was huge, with wonderful fresh tomatos and olives.
Gnocchi (and garlic) - I have to comment on this one extra. The waiter claimed it was the best gnocchi in the city, and having just been to Da Flora the night before, well... <french accent>CHALLANGE!</french accent> Unfortunately, it didn't live up. I'll give it this - it might be the best traditional gnocchi in SF (it's made with russet potatos), but holds no candle to Da Flora's masterpiece. Also, there was so much garlic, it overpowered the light flavor of the potato gnocchi, which while I like garlic, is unfortunate.
And on to the main course...
I had a rich, wonderful pasta dish with unbelievably good chunks of duck. Wow. Astounding. It was huge, and the flavor of the rabbit was like no coney I'd had. Incredibly rich.
Sea Bass accompanied by a (large) number of assorted mussels, clams, and other shellfish in a rich tomato broth got rave reviews.
Another dish based around wonderfully cooked (barely medium-rare) slabs of rabbit was also wonderful.
Finally, the dessert:
They have a warm chocolate bread pudding that is like no bread pudding I've ever seen, or tasted. It bears more in common with a warm, moist chocolate cake than bread pudding, except for that slightly yeasty goodness that comes with the bread, and the whole thing is slathered in rich ganache. Wow.
All told, a wonderful evening of excellent dining. Highly recommended. I also recommend a cab - parking in that neighborhood is horrible.