Feb 27, 2006

Restaurant Reviews: Tiramisu, Swan's Oyster Depot, and Luella

Justin and I went on a restaurant binge this weekend so i have a slew of restaurant reviews.

Cafe Tiramisu - located on Belden Place alley which is a great place to go, eat, people watch and pretend to be in europe. It's one of the few outdoor San Francisco alleys that are full of cafes and restaurants. The alley is always busy and bustling with a good mix of tourists and locals. We had tried most of the restaurants before (cafe Bastille, Plouf, Voda), but managed to skip the one right in the middle, Cafe Tiramisu, a medium sized italian eatery that's known for it's home made italian and seafood combinations. I enjoyed a spicy shrimp risotta with a pan fried ahi tuna.. to be honest, when mixed together, it tasted like a fancy dish of chinese fried rice especially with its generous amounts of peas and corn. Still incredibly good though ( I do enjoy a serving of fried rice), and very well presented. Justin had the lobster and crab stuffed ravioli served with a creamy pesto sauce that was exquisite. I just love homemade pasta. Both dishes were well priced. You can enjoy a nice meal and glass of wine for under 30 bucks a person.

Swan's Oyster Depot - This place has been considered the Holy Grail by fellow foodies and I. I've made several appointments to go and each time, welcomed by a closed sign or a two hour waiting line. Our last attempt was President's Day and we were starving. Incidentally they were closed for P Day. This time around, we had all grabbed a sizeable brunch and arrived at its storefront at 2:30pm which isn't usually a meal time for most. We still had to wait about 45 minutes to enter the 15-20 person seafood bar but the food was well worth the wait. I had a crab cocktail which comprised of a sundae dish packed with big chunks of fresh crab meat, and filled to the brim with their house made cocktail sauce, and a cup of their boston clam chowder. The Crab meat was amazing. My only qualm about Swan's Oyster Depot is that the servers use their bare hands to pick out the chunks of seafood. Then again, you are taking some sort of health risk by eating seafood anyways. The boston clam chowder was good, perhaps not the best I've ever had ( I like my clam chowder fairly chunky ) but good all the same. The place has been open since 1912 by two brothers.. and it's run in the same family since. We noticed how all the servers had the same demeanor and mannerisms. It's been noted as the best dining experience in San Francisco. During my chance meeting with Anthony Bourdain (author of Kitchen Confidential), he claimed it as the best restaurant in the world.. Do bring some cash, as the place has the prices to match its popularity.

Luella - Saturday night, justin and i wondered into Luella, a relatively new restaurant in the lower Russian Hill area. It's very chic and modern, with mostly brown and blue hues lit by candlelight. The servers were not in uniform.. They dressed in clothes that you would find in Club Monaco, and BCBG, so you can sort of shop and eat at the same time. We ordered two apps - baked polenta with wild mushroom ragu, and baked eggplant, red peppers and onions in fontina cheese. Both were good, a little modest in size for the price range, but good starters. The main dish was one comprised ofa Coca-Cola braised pork shoulder over a white bean mash, with red onions and mint. This was surprisingly scrumptious, and the kitchen was good to break it up into two different plates for Justin and I to share. It was a huge portion so we were both pleased. The pork meat flaked off without hassle and had nice hints of vinegar (from the red onions) and mint which made for a pleasant combination. The mashed beans needed a little salt to balance out the flavors, otherwise it was perfect. The best part of the meal was the dessert. We got an plate of orange infused ricotta fritters drizzled with wild honey. Needless to say it was heavenly. All of this plus a glass of wine for under 60 bucks.

No comments: