Saturday, February 2, 2019

Dining @ Rich Table in San Francisco, CA

I first heard of Rich Table around 6 years ago when the San Francisco Chronicle pondered why they weren't given a Michelin Star.  Well, they eventually captured a Michelin Star in 2017 after many years of praise locally.  Reservations are hard to come, as Rich Table has regularly been considered one of the best gourmet-casual spots in the city.  But I was finally able to snag a reservation for a Saturday at a time I could make.

Rich Table's menu is divided into four chunks: snacks, appetizers, pastas, and mains.  The pasta is said to be "primi" sized and not really entree sized.  There's also a chef's picks for $99 per person for about 6 courses.  The chef's pick apparently goes with both menu and off menu dishes.  If you go the a la carte route, the waitress recommended 2-3 snacks, and an appetizer, pasta, and main to share.  We followed her suggestions for the a la carte route, and here's what we got.

1) Sardine Chip - horseradish creme fraiche

This is apparently a signature snack from Rich Table and it's priced $2.50 per chip, which you can see is a chunk of sardine weaved into a potato chip.  We didn't know how many to order and just ordered 4 for the two of us.  I think that was the right amount, as 1 each would have been too little.

Overall quite tasty.  The horseradish creme fraiche was delicious, with a bit of kick, but not so strong as overtake the dish (e.g. like horseradish wasabi can).  I would love the horseradish creme fraiche as a general dip for chips.

2) burrata, bbq leek, romesco, everything crumble

This dish was the appetizer that we ordered, the restaurant brought all the snacks and appetizers out at the same time.  I had expected the dish to be more "balanced", like a salad, but the dish was mostly burrata.  But this ended up not being an issue, because the burrata was delicious.  I can't remember having a burrata that was quite light in this flavor and creamy as well.  I think I would have enjoyed it paired in a typical salad instead of with roasted leeks though.

3) Dried Porcini Doughnuts - raclette

This is apparently another semi-well known snack from this restaurant.  Doughnuts, lightly sprinkled with dried porcini powder, which you can dip into melted raclette cheese which you can you on the right.  Overall, lots of umami in this dish.  There are 5 small doughnuts served, which maybe is a tad high for 2 people.  It would be better for this to be ordered in a group.

4) aged beef wonton - chili oil, sesame

The wontons were listed at $5 each, so I didn't quite know what to expect.  I had expected them to be huge, but these were more medium sized.  Overall tasty, with a lot of umami from the chili paste on top.  The dumpling skins were particularly good, chewy but not too thick.  Good, but I'm not sure these were worth $5 a piece.

5) tonnarelli, sea urchin cacio e pepe, idiazabal

Other than the fact that this was a pasta dish with sea urchin, I had no idea what "cacio e pepe" or "idiazabal" was.  Well, the former is a type of pasta and the latter is a type of cheese.  Overall, really good dish, creamy, rich, with the pasta perfectly al dente.  I appreciated the fact that the dish was a "primi" size portion of pasta, and not some gigantic pasta dish.  Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to eat ...

6) 21 day aged ribeye, RT "Poutine"

So we picked this entree somewhat at random, just b/c we hadn't had a steak in awhile.  It was topped with the restaurant's version of poutine.  You can clearly see the gravy sauce, but there are pieces of fries on top with cheese and some vegetable (perhaps a swiss chard or kale).  I thought the topping of the poutine was an interesting choice.  I actually enjoyed eating the poutine a bit by itself, b/c it was really good with perfectly crisp fries.

But in combination with the steak, I'm not really sure I enjoyed it that much.  I should say the cheese as a sauce for the steak was good but was a bit perplexed by the combo.  The steak was cooked a perfect medium.

I should mention that this steak was gigantic.  I think we were expecting around a 8-10 oz steak to share, but this was more like a 14-16 oz.  If it were a steak by itself, that'd be one thing, but with all the fries on top, it was more food than we expected.

7) Coconut Cake - lime curd, brown butter ice cream

Due to the gigantic steak, we decided to just share one dessert.  Given it was cold and raining this day, we rejected several of the other "cold" desserts and went with this coconut cake b/c we figured it was the least cold dessert.  This cake was delicious, which sprinkles of coconut, frosting, and lime curd dotted all around.  I didn't think the brown butter ice cream had quite the flavor I was hoping for.

Overall, a great meal.  We put the meal on a similar level of Aster and Al's Place amongst the city's gourmet-casual dining spots.


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