Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jack Falstaff : San Fran

(Sorry no pictures for this review; it wasn't really an appropriate event to do so.)

This was really my first time having Californian style food, which is a style that is very focused on using the great fresh, organic produce that is so readily available around this area. I think on paper, this should be right up my alley. I really enjoy cooking that uses fresh ingredients and that it is apparent that the chef understands the essence of that ingredient.

But there's something about California and specifically foodies/restaurants in San Fran that just makes me want to cause a ruckus, blast loud punk rock in public and/or rouse violence. My current theory on this is the following: San Francisco has unbelievably phenomenal local fruit and produce -> which attracts lots of aspiring and established chefs to come here -> which creates a huge higher-end restaurant scene with very refined taste -> but which also creates a suffocatingly narrow band of good food.

And it's hard to argue against local "foodies" about this, because well the food in that band is pretty damn good. Which gets me back to Jack Falstaff.

I went with a couple of the waiter recommendations, the sweet white corn soup, a creamy soup with "pickled mushrooms and bacon", and the pacific halibut, with "Louisiana Prawns, Delta Asparagus, Green Garlic, Serrano Chiles, Lemon-Olive Jus" (descriptions from the menu). Both used sweet white corn, which was locally in season.

The sweet white corn soup was very nice and had a great comforting creamy texture that went well with the mellow corn nibblets and mushrooms. And really you can't go wrong with bits of savory bacon. I was a little disappointed with the Pacific Halibut. The accompanying corn and sauce were pretty good, but the halibut and shrimp weren't quite as tender as they really should have been.

Lastly, I topped things off with donutholes. Yes, that's right. The Housemade Cinnamon-Sugar Donutholes seemed so out of place on the dessert menu, an affront to this pseudo-refined Califonia style, that, well, I had to order them. And it was defintely the right decision. The donutholes were nicely deep-fried, cakey without being overly oily, with a nice but not overly sweet cinnamon-sugar coating. It came with three dipping sauces, Crème Anglaise, Caramel Sauce and a raspberry sauce, all of which were lovely.

I have no problems recommending this place. In addition to the food, we also enjoyed some nice wines, as one of the party was a wine expert.

But I still feel the punk-rock song in me and I'll continue to try to seek more simple, muscular and hole-in-the-wall places to balance out these types of restaurants.

>Note< I'm not sure if it was just the day we went (a Monday night), but it was amazingly easy finding street parking around this place.

Jack Falstaff
598 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
($SF, $New American)

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