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Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

22 Jun

Thursday night was my first San Francisco Opera experience. I’ve made it to the Met in NYC and the Lyric in Chicago, but after living here for more than two years I finally made it to an SF Opera performance. My Aunt Liz flew all the way from Wisconsin to see (her favorite) Nathan Gunn play Papageno in The Magic Flute. Since she made such a long journey, I had to ensure that we had an equally wonderful dining experience prior to the performance. A colleague of mine recommended Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, which is very close by the opera house.

We arrived for a 5:15 reservation, and I felt like a grandma heading to a restaurant that early, but it gave us ample time to enjoy our drinks and food before the 7:30 curtain call. We started with wine (of course), a 2009 Cooper Mountain Pinot Noir and a 2009 Sandler Wine Co. Zinfandel. For a starter we decided to have the Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese which was really soft and creamy, just like butter. It spread deliciously on the warm walnut bread it was served with. We then moved on to share the Stonefruit Salad which consisted of marinated peaches, apricots, cherry puree, burratta cheese, watercress with a light vinaigrette. This was very refreshing and the peaches and apricots were absolutely delicious.

For entrees, I opted for the filet of sole with a red currant reduction on tiny potatoes, charred cauliflower and mini artichokes. The flavors of the red currant were absorbed really well by the fish and was one of the best pieces of fish I’ve had in quite some time. Liz is a huge fan of beef tartar and can’t pass up ordering it whenever it’s on the menu. This time was no different. Although it was a ‘share plate’, it served well as an entrée portion. While we already very full of delicious food we had to check out the dessert menu. We opted to try the strawberry tarragon pavlova which consisted of strawberries (very fresh), cocoa curd, tarragon ice cream (very refreshing) and pistachio crumble. It had quite an interesting presentation as you can see in the photo. This was an unusual dessert choice but tasty nonetheless. Our meal was great and I will definitely be returning the next time I head to the Opera or any other performances in the neighborhood.

http://www.absinthe.com/ – 398 Hayes Street @ Gough

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