Thursday, May 30, 2013

25 LUSK IN SAN FRANCISCO...HIGH END FARE THAT'S A LITTLE BETTER THAN FAIR

 It's mine and the SO's seventh anniversary so we are going out for some hifalutin eating to celebrate. This years choice is 25 Lusk down in SOMA, bonus points for it being only a couple blocks from where we live. The space is huge and has a big bar area downstairs.           

          

With cool space age looking fireplaces and big cushy couches I liked the area down at the bar, it pretty much outshines the upstairs dining room. Another one of those places with the industrial wood, metal and brick look. But tonight was about the food and company so we tucked into the menu. 





I wanted to try something different so I started with the grilled octopus sausage. Well, it definitely looked like a sausage, didn't exactly taste like one though. There was a little bit of the fennel flavor you find and serving it with sweet beer onions and coarse ground mustard gives it that vibe also but something with was just a little off. The octopus wasn't rubbery and was tender to eat but I just couldn't get into it. Plus I was confused why it was served with little pineapple squares topped with mint leaves and a deep fried plantain chip. An interesting idea that didn't come together for me. 


That did not stop me from wanting to continue with branching out so I picked the rack of wild boar for my second dish. It came with grains of paradise, bone marrow, sunchoke and pickled strawberries. Now when I ordered this dish the server said that it could have a gamey taste and I told her that was fine as I have had boar before. It's a pretty plate, but what you can't really see here is that the boar is served with a nice sear outside but extremely rare on the inside, I'm going to go so far as to say the sear was the only cooking done on them and it made hard to cut and to chew. I was fine with the flavor, as I had a small bite from the outside edge that was done more, but the rest I just couldn't eat. I tried to explain this to the server that it wasn't the taste but the doneness and she said this is how it's cooked and after a brief chat I decided not to ask for it to be cooked more but to just get something else. (Side note: the pickled strawberries were the only other thing I tasted on this dish and can't say it was my favorite thing.)


I told the server I had been thinking of the pork belly as my other choice and she said it's really good and they could just do an entree portion size of the appetizer. I said no, I want the pork belly that is the entree. She said okay and went to place the order. Now on the menu they have an app and an entree that is pork belly. But, of course, since things had been going this way when she brought my plate she'd asked the kitchen for an entree size portion of the appetizer instead the actual main dish featured on the menu. Ugh....at this point I was hungry and told the SO I wasn't sending something else back so I went with it. This was a pork belly confit with smoked tomato coulis, green garlic and an aged balsamic drizzle. (The entree had pea shoots, cipollinis and a bacon citrus vinaigrette which sounded tasty.) I've quite a number of pork bellies in town and this was good, not the best, but still decent. It actually had more actual meat on it, as opposed to just fat, that some bellies have. There was a good crisp on the skin and the meat was tender and juicy. The coulis, garlic and balsamic didn't really add much to the dish, it was like a pizza sauce, I was fine with just the pork belly. I guess there's always dessert. 


I did like the choices they had on the menu and went with the strawberry ice cream sandwich (which seems to be the hot new dessert item). It was a blondie cookie (without nuts--that's a plus) filled with a strawberry basil ice cream on a bed of powdered vanilla, sliced strawberries and a smear of chocolate sauce. Well right off after one bite I loved this dessert. The cookie chewy goodness and the ice cream with thick very strawberry with just the hint of basil that it blended well and didn't overpower. I like the powdered vanilla, it was very molecular gastronomy, the powdered added a great layer of flavor and texture without being too sweet. Mixed with the sliced berries and chocolate it was like it's own version of a deconstructed ice cream. Playful and tasty it was a great end to an uneven meal. 

Overall, I wasn't overwhelmed like this is the best meal ever here. Between the swings in flavor and service it was truly a real hit or miss kind of thing. You have think when you are paying this kind of money everything should be great or pretty close to it but sadly, not all things were. The bar area was great, but you can't eat that, though you can eat the desserts, so drinks and that would be fun here.  They did have something called sturgeon schnitzel which the SO had and really liked, thus that might be worth a try too. Would I go back? Hmmm...yeah sure, if someone else was paying.



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