Stumbled across this place when looking for a place to grab dinner on Sunday night. Menu looked interesting, so decided to give it a shot despite not finding any previous reports (though another search later did dig up a report from @butteredwaffles here).
Bodega Bay ling cod, NIITAKA pear, ZUCKERMAN eggplant, charred scallion
Great fish, a lot of funky notes offset quite well by the excellent pear and grapefruit(?). I’d expect it to be a challenging dish for a lot of diners so I’m pretty happy to see something like this on the menu.
charred SHAO SHAN turnips, pine nuts, sesame, sweet soy
I don’t even like turnips much, but man… the turnips were good. The crispy puffed rice & pine nuts were a great accompaniment, especially to the charred turnip greens. Killer dish.
smoked ZUCKERMAN potatoes, ranch, black garlic
I don’t think I’ve ever had smoked potatoes before, but it’s incredible that more places don’t do this. I guess it’s a bit of a headache if you don’t have the setup for it. Super crispy on the outside, super fluffy on the inside… and the black garlic was Some of the best restaurant potatoes I’ve ever had.
grilled lettuce, FUJI apple, TENDY 43 roots, parmesan, pecans, citrus vinaigrette
A bit busy, and I’m not totally sure parmesan was the right call here, but pretty much any combination of bites here was good, and this was still a better salad than any of the three I had the day before at alley & vine.
crunchy salt & pepper WOLFE RANCH quail
Absolute - flawlessly cooked & seasoned. Beyond the obvious salt & pepper notes, I also was getting something almost ham-like, in the sense of cured meat? (That part worked too.) Some really nice pickled radish (maybe daikon? not actually sure) on the side too. This dish alone probably justifies a trip.
sesame scallion bun with toasted nori butter
Not bad, but honestly the bar for house-made bread at restaurants has gotten so high and this just wasn’t hitting it. Nothing wrong with it, but I’d save room for other things.
Liberty duck confit, noodles, honeynut squash, STAR ROUTE kale, herb salsa
It looks really nice, but this felt like a pretty confused dish. The noodles seemed to be a smidge undercooked, though that could’ve been a deliberate choice for the textural contrast. I could’ve sworn it was yams rather than squash in there… and whatever they were, they were very good, but made no sense in the context of the dish. The duck was good but felt like it had come out of a stew, rather than a noodle dish. Maybe I’m missing a reference but this felt like an experiment that didn’t quite come together.
ugly mushroom filled pasta, chanterelles, SHARED CULTURES tomato miso butter
Better than the last pasta! It took the form of long, almost dumpling-like containers filled with mushroom paste. My only quibble with the execution was that the ends were they were tied off also seemed a bit undercooked, but it was much less of an issue here than with the last one. I’m not sure I’d strongly recommend it the way I’d recommend a bunch of the appetizers, but at least this dish knows what it’s going for and gets there.
MCFARLAND trout, celery root, endive, grapes
Possibly the crispiest skin I’ve ever had on a fish - pretty incredible how they managed to get it to that state without messing up the flavor, and while preventing the rest of the fish from overcooking. The mashed celery root & charred endives were great. The grilled grapes… I mean, they were good, but frankly didn’t seem necessary. Did love the little shards of extremely piquant lemon scattered about.
HODO soy milk snow with grilled mochi
Very lightly sweetened, and the charred puffed grains were a pretty inspired contrast in both flavor and texture.
caramelized white chocolate RED BAY coffee mousse cake
Tasty in a very straightforward way, with the exception of the coffee-glazed puffed rice crackers, which were good but seemed almost inappropriately intellectual as a pairing.
California olive oil cake with last-of-the-season plums
Nice if you like the heavier pound-cake style. I was definitely too full to properly appreciate it.
BOSC pear éclair, mascarpone, hazelnut praline
The marscapone was A+. The éclair shell itself was a bit disastrous (too dense & grainy), and everything else was a bit too much.
Persimmons, from the garden
I prefer mine a bit more ripe, but home-grown produce is hard to mess up.
The damage was considerable (~$260 for 2), but considering we took home an entire pasta (1/3 of the mushroom and 2/3 of the duck) and could’ve easily skipped dessert instead of, uh, getting all of them, it’s not as bad as it seems. Frankly, just ordering all the starters would probably be enough food for a good chunk of the population. That’s definitely going to be my playbook when I come back - run through all the starters, and get as many mains as needed based on # of diners. Unless the pastas markedly improve those are an easy skip. Overall, very happy with the adventurous style, execution in the kitchen, and strong service.