Ok, I know I’m about half a year late on my 2010 restaurant list round-up, but here it is!
After a few pounds of weight gain, increased cholesterol and a shrinking wallet, I have tried 9 out of 10 restaurants on my Must try: The 2010 SF Restaurant List! Was it worth it, you ask? Hells yes. Here are the highlights:
Benu, the new millennium of fine dining with a $160 price tag per person and an additional $110 beverage pairing (highly recommended) is worth the dough and experience of haute cuisine (complex approach and techniques to food preparation). Corey Lee’s refined point of view makes you look at the ingredients on the plate in a whole different light. While Benu soars, Wayfare Tavern was good but not the level I was expecting from Iron Chef Tyler Florence. Moving on to Baker & Banker; the decor, the atmosphere and the food was lovely, offering polished dishes but did not attract attention to my palate the way Spruce did as I found a taste of maturity and solidity in its dishes that has yet to be developed at B&B. And the most discussed dish I’ve had this past year has got to be the chicken tartare at Ippuku. The dish came with a range of stimulations; it gave me chills, it thrilled and supplied an injection of untamable exhilaration. Then we have Jason Fox’s Commonwealth, which offers a few surprising dishes like the chocolate dipped foie gras (melts in your mouth like butter with contrasting flavors of sweet and savory), the squid and pork belly jidori egg salad (exceptional textures and flavors) and the pork with mustard caviar. These dishes make me eager to go back as does the very attractive low price range on the menu. About 50 miles from SF will take you to a two Michelin-Star restaurant, Manresa, tucked away in Los Gatos. The decor could use a lift as it does not exactly match the level of sophistication of its food. The highlight of the tasting menu was its focus on high quality ingredients; letting natural flavors stand on its own while embracing other components. This place is enjoyed by those who can appreciate subtlety and delicate flavors. And last but not least – Quince. Michael Tusk offers some classic and emerging Italian flavors done with French techniques. Very refreshing and new school – a must try.
As porky from Looney Tunes would say, “T-T-T-T-That’s all folks!”
Stay tuned for my Must Try: 2011 SF Restaurant List!