Third off my list – Spruce!
Finally… I get to satisfy my curiosity with Spruce. I have been wanting to try Spruce for a while and my birthday was around the corner so my best friend locked up a reservation for a party of 8 two months in advance (yes, my best friend is a gem and yes, early reservation at Spruce is essential). With a few foodies in the group with quite the discriminating palate, Spruce was either going to be a hit or miss. Here’s a run through of my experience there:
Impression: Visually appealing. Spruce is a beautiful and elegant restaurant. Luminous at night. Soaring ceilings, rich woods, masculine setting, dark chocolate decor complimented with gold accents and the lighting was present at all the right places. The atmosphere was more formal than I had expected yet boasted a sensual vibe.
Service: Professional yet friendly. Exemplary, comfortable and not intrusive. When it came to serving our entrees, the ratio of diners and service was about 2:1.
Beet and pear salad – hazelnut vinaigrette, warm goats milk cheese
Seared dayboat scallops – endive and citrus, fennel and nage
Harvest squash ravioli – brown butter nage
Seared and preserved foie gras – Riesling poached apples
2 Roasted Bass – dungeness crab and champagne butter
4 Butter poached lobster – braised lettuces and potato gnocchi
Grilled Bavette Steak – duck fat potatoes, bordelaise
Beignets – Valrhona chocolate sauce and creme anglaise
Warm Apple Crisp Sundae
Chocolate Lava Cake – complimentary for the birthday girl
Verdict: I was in a bit of a zombie mode that evening from the nights before, I was nervous that it would effect my enthusiasm and appetite, but I have to say – zombie mode or not, the food at Spruce is great and deserving of all the hype it gets. Fresh ingredients and clean flavors. Spruce is a restaurant I would definitely go back to. Though my only demur and was quite surprised that they do not offer a tasting menu. A restaurant like Spruce I feel should have a tasting menu to highlight what they are capable of and up the diner’s experience a notch by providing a smooth line up of intricate dishes showcasing their techniques and specialties. In any case, the ambiance, the service and the food was fantastic – it couldn’t have been better.
Side Note: Typically I would dissect and explore every dish, jot a ton of notes and take a million pictures but I had to stay away from all that that evening mainly because I just wanted to soak in the company of my friends who were there for my birthday, take part of story telling, laughing with them and just enjoy everything wonderful at that moment. It was a fabulous time with some fabulous friends. I’ll save the breaking down to components on my next visit to Spruce!
Good For: Date and Groups (private party room available)
Price: $$$$ (with a drink, starter, entree and dessert, expect $100 per person easily)
Parking: Street or valet ($12)
Birthday card from Spruce!