Friday, March 27, 2009

Spruce - A Restaurant Review. Totally Off Topic.

I have to write a review for something San Francisco based! Sorry for those outside of SF. But keep this in mind when you come visit.

Yesterday was my birthday and my girlfriend took me out to a nice dinner. As far as nice dinners go, I tend to stick with restaurants I know, such as Boulevard (which I love!), because I know I can trust their food. I've always had a great meal there. I find that all of these 10 star, 14 diamond, 8 Michelin tire rated places are way overrated. They place so much emphasis on ambiance, who the chef is, and presentation, that if you actually just want some tasty food, well, you never know what you're gonna get. Yesterday I finally went out of my comfort zone and went along with something new.

We decided on Spruce - a restaurant in Laurel Heights. At first, I was a bit put off by the atmosphere. It was stuffy. Everyone was over 50, graying, and sipping what looked like expensive wine. I normally enjoy a more hip atmosphere. But then I saw burgers flowing by with great looking french fries and I knew I'd be ok.

I sat down and was greeted by a card from the employees at Spruce wishing me a Happy Birthday. Nice touch. We ordered the scallops and cauliflower ravioli for appetizers. Superb. But it got better. We had the duck and the pork for main dishes. The duck was excellent. Very sweet, but expertly cooked. I can't say much more because I just want to get to the highlight of the night. It was the pork. It was absolutely, without compare. It was the greatest piece of pork I've ever tasted. It was like a filet of beef in both its tenderness and also its taste. I had no idea pork could be made like that. It was also medium rare. While people used to only eat pork that was thoroughly cooked, times have changed.

The assistant general manager (Megan) came over to ask us about the meal. She was incredibly hospitable - and gave us a rundown of how the pork was prepared. It was brined, which I didn't know much about. It was soaked in a salt and sugar bath, which partially "cooks" the meat while tenderizing it. She then offered to email me the recipe - which is highly unusual for a restaurant. But she said, "If you want to eat out, you're going to eat out". Basically - here's the recipe, make it when you're home. When you want to have someone else cook, come here. Very cool indeed - and I told her it wasn't what I expected from a place I thought was stuffy. She also recommended the burger for lunch. I'll be going back to try.

If you like pork - you HAVE to try it! And say hello to Megan - and tell her you heard about the pork from that guy who made her take 100 pictures at dinner.


meggie said...

Thank you very much for your kind review. Flattery will get you everywhere! If you need any help preparing your pork feast let me know I will be happy to help. I will look forward to seeing you soon for burgers at lunch.

Unknown said...

Brining is awesome - Chris and I discovered it several months ago. We haven't tried pork yet, but we brine chicken all the time. It gives it a great flavor and keep the juices in so the chicken just comes out really fresh.

Spruce sounds good - will have to check it out...

Lefty said...

@Matt - Yea, I had never heard of it to be honest! So when are you cooking for me? Or when are you taking me to Spruce? ;)