« Hierarchies | Main | cat behavior modification »

March 27, 2009

Salt House

Let me tell you, it's pretty awesome when you're friends with the sous-chef at a fancy restaurant. Make that guy the second in command, the day-to-day leader of the kitchen in a fabulous local focused organic restaurant in San Francisco and you've got a feast staring you in the face.

After tantalizing with food descriptions that took two and three minutes to unspool "well first, I make three of my own marmalades from scratch. Then I mix two of them with a rhubarb/anchiote simple syrup reduction, and then blend quinoa, red barley and teff grains into a pilaf with steamed nibs of asparagus..." Darryl tossed off that he might have a "few things up his sleeve," and boy should we have paid attention.

Tonight I dined with friend S-E and her husband S at the Salt House, a lovely little restaurant in the SOuth of MArket District in San Francisco.  I was peckish but not ravenous and was planning to order a soup and an appetizer and a dessert and call it a meal.  Oh no. no no. That is most definitely not what happened.

My dining companions, one of whom I had never met and the other whom I hadn't seen in 17 years, turned out to be super-foodies.  They had cocktails and a gorgeous sounding Pinot Noir. We split 4 appetizers including two servings of the "Fois" (gras) [which I haven't eaten in more than a decade], and a smoked trout salad and pork belly (which basically melted off the fork). But prior to getting the food we had actually ordered, "the kitchen" sent out little green salads made with shaved radishes, shaved asparagus, new peas, and a light meyer lemon dressing. It was a revelation of spring in every crunchy green lemony bite. The kitchen also sent us the consomme - a new menu addition with fresh and crisp local onions and a ricotta dumpling floating in the housemade broth.

We hadn't even gotten to the main courses yet - I had ordered the seared tuna lightly crusted in north african spices along with the marmalade sauce and the three grain asaparagus pilaf - and while the portions weren't huge and the tuna lovely, I would have been fine if I stopped with appetizers.

But did we stop? Of course not? I ordered a cookie plate and tea for dessert, while my companions ordered cookies and a strawberry dish. When it came time for them to bring out the desserts, once again the kitchen sent something else - the cheese plate - which I had eyed, but rejected as too rich for my poor lactose intolerant stomach.  So what did I do, I ate cheese. Gorgeous, amazing cheese (Cowgirl Creameries famous Mt. Tam cheese, a soft brie like cheese from Washington and a pungent and delicious cheese whose name I did not learn. All of this was accompanied by a thinly sliced and stacked pear and similar sliced apple, with the slices arranged in narrow rows to create a skinny apple "fence" between one of the cheeses and the candied hazelenuts that also accompanied the cheese, along with the spoonful of fresh local honey.  The cookies, the parts I could choke down, were also delightful and the remainder now reside in my bag to serve as tomorrow's mid-morning snack, assuming I'm ever actually hungry again.

All in all, an amazing (and amazingly expensive) meal, but well worth it. It was nice to meet someone (Darryl) who obviously took such pride and delight in his food and his creative development of dishes as well as to reconnect with S-E.

March 27, 2009 at 01:37 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Salt House:


The comments to this entry are closed.