Thursday, May 23, 2013

FABLE IN THE CASTRO....A RESTAURANT TALE THAT'S OFT TOLD IN SAN FRANCISCO

Yes, it's relatively new restaurant time. My latest foray took me and a friend to a new place in the Castro called Fable.


Located in the now defunct Luna space, they haven't changed the awkward entrance set up as the bar/kitchen is still upfront with tables behind that and then, an as yet, used back patio. The server mentioned they will be opening it soon (probably already) and start serving brunch, because, well you can't be a restaurant in the Castro without doing brunch. Reading through the brief but focused menu, I'll be honest, I feel like I've seen it before at a number of places in town that serve what you might call "American Fare". Some salad apps, you standard main dishes (a fish, a chicken, a pork, a vegetarian, etc.) and some sides. While this seems to be the menu of the moment, it always comes down to how they execute. We decided to forgo the usual appetizer route and get one of the sides to start--the mac and cheese.





Sadly, I'm going to say the first thing that struck me about this dish was the size. At $8 a pop for a side I personally expect something just a bit more substantial. Even though you can't tell from the picture, this dish was roughly the size of my hand and basically about 4 small spoon bites. For that it needed to be fantastic bites, but it was not. It was bits of bacon, tomato, cheddar cheese and bake bread crumbs on top. It needed more cheese because it was a bit watery which I think was a result of the tomatoes in it adding extra liquid into the mix. But beyond that, there wasn't much flavor there, it was all pretty basic and didn't really wow us, even with the bacon. To recap, too small, too watery, too pricey. 


For my main I picked the brined and grilled pork chop with cider honey glaze, a black-eyed pea cake, pecans, braised collard greens and a spicy chile-vinegar dipping sauce. The pork was a good size and well cooked. Juicy, tender and nicely flavored, though I didn't taste the glaze, I think they were a little light on the application, but the natural flavor of the chop was tasty. I liked the idea and execution of the black-eyed pea cake. A nice little crust on the outside, seasoned just enough, a good way to eat your vegetable. The greens however, were overcooked, bitter and pretty much inedible. The chile-vinegar sauce was tongue burning hot and pretty much overwhelmed anything you dipped in it, including the bitter greens. Thus I'm not sure why it was even on the plate since using it would burn you taste buds off. The chop and pea cake are good so if someone there can learn to cook greens and loose the sauce this would be a great plate. 


When we sat at the bar there was a lovely frosted cake just in front of us so yes I was going to have dessert. And what luck, it's a red velvet cake. Now this was not the traditional cream cheese frosted cake but a low-key sweet buttercream frosting red velvet. And it works. It's was not an overly sweet frosting so you don't get that sugar shock like some cakes. The moist soft layers had that nice chocolate flavor (since it is chocolate cake with red food coloring) and I really liked this version of the classic cake. It came with some blueberries that had a lemon citrus drizzle on them and here again I couldn't understand why they were there as they didn't really go with the cake or even need to be there. I'd say just cut a slightly larger slice and leave off the fruit--the cake works wonderfully all on its on. 

Fable is a slightly different tale of a familiar restaurant theme in San Francisco. There are some big hits and some big misses here, but that's to be expected from a restaurant that's still finding it's story after being open only a few months. Be that as it may, it's great to have a new dining place in the Castro that shows signs of tastiness and of course a guilty dessert. 

Fable on Urbanspoon

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