My swath through local restaurants continues with my recent visit to Absinthe restaurant in San Francisco in Hayes Valley.
I drive by this bistro often on the way to the youngest's high school and have been attracted to its European-looking decor, the stories behind the liqueur the restaurant is named after, the green twinkling lights in the surrounding trees and its reputation.
A visiting cousin from New York provided the impetus for us to finally park the car and try the food. (Well, actually the valet parking attendant had to park the car since this area is packed with restaurants packed with people eating before attending events at San Francisco's symphony and opera.)
Absinthe's menu was French bistro with a California twist. As I've mentioned before I don't pretend to be a restaurant critic, think of me as a commenter, observer, sharer or perhaps a selective reporter. Anyway, some of the highlights of the meal:
The Ginger Roger -- a kind of mojito made with gin instead of rum with homemade ginger and lemon-lime syrup and lots and lots of fresh mint
Spicy Chickpeas -- a small bowl of spiced fried chickpeas that reminded me of mini fafalels and which I found irresistible. In the interest of fairness, I should mention that Gary found them very resistible.
Duck and Duck Confit in Huckleberry Sauce -- Very tasty with the fruity acid of the huckleberries cutting through the nice richness of the duck. This is what Gary ordered so I only had a few bites. He was very taken with the confit and immediately started thinking how could it would be in a kind of gourmet burrito. (How about a wrap made of socca -- chick pea flour-- or a nice baquette with confit, white beans and an eggplant-tomato marmalade with red onion pickles, excuse me, I think I need to go create this!)
Lamb Shank -- My cousin had this and said it was wonderful. The lamb looked tender and it was served with giant white beans, always a favorite of mine.
I had the grilled opah, which was well prepared and tasty but nothing to blog about. I did enjoy the asparagus gratin it was served with.
The best thing about the meal? Getting a relatively quiet table with unobtrusive service so we had a chance to catch up and visit with my cousin.
We enjoyed the food immensely and look forward to going back again. I look forward to sampling selections from both the oyster and cheese menus.
P.S. -- Gary narrowly missed ordering the coq au vin so I surprised him for dinner the next day with my quickie version. Once I work out the recipe kinks, I'll post it on Blog Appetit.