The Little Neighborhood Restaurant That Could: II
About an hour after decanting the 1992 Beringer Private Reserve was still a bit tight, but was tasting mighty good after 18 years in the bottle. It wasn’t long before our entrées arrived, and we managed to cover three of the four. The first was Lamb from Watson Farm cooked several ways, grilled, roasted, and an amazing braised Lamb Pavé made from lesser cuts. I had the Soul Food Farm Redbro chicken, a ballotine of light and dark meat wrapped in chicken skin and roasted served over creamy white polenta with chanterelles, sweet corn, and nectarine chunks all in a roasted chicken jus. It was a great combination with the perfectly ripened nectarine chunks adding a great counterpoint. (Here was one of the few downticks for the evening - the jus was over seasoned, which suggested that the Redbro chicken might have been brined.) Last but not least was the Saffron Risotto with Butter Braised Chanterelles, Summer Squash, and Tomato, a very pretty and ‘lively’ tasting risotto done in a looser, lighter style.
After the table was cleared we perused the dessert menu over the last of the red wine. Since all of the desserts sounded delicious, we decided to order one of each for the table. The Dark Chocolate Mousse with Meringues was laid on the table first, - it can be seen in the upper left corner of the first dessert picture - followed in quick succession by the Fig Semolina and Almond Crostata with House-Made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Panna Cotta with Plum and Rosemary Shortbread, and a Cornmeal Pound Cake with Peach and a Ricotta Semi-Freddo. The clear favorites at the table were Dark Chocolate Mousse and the Cornmeal Pound Cake. The latter was my personal favorite, and we were all struck by the attention to detail…both the plums and the peaches were perfectly ripened. (The second of my two downticks for the evening was a bit too much gelatin in the Panna Cotta.) The food lived up to the high expectations, and the service was second to none…all in all, a great way to spend three hours with good friends on a Friday evening in San Francisco.