|Toque of San Francisco Winter 2009
Carol & Joe Davis
We ordered a glass of Italian Prosecco to start and then opted to have a Tasting Menu which was a great way to try many of Mosaic’s unique and fabulous creations. Our first course was salads. We loved both the House Salad which consisted of Organic Baby Lettuces, Fuji apples, toasted almonds, celery heart, Pt Reyes Blue Cheese and Tamari Vinaigrette and the Mosaic Farm Heirloom Tomato Salad made with Buffalo Mozzarella, pesto, balsamic reduction, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Fleue de Sel. A Pinot Champagne paired perfectly with the salads. Next, we tasted the delicious sautéed Seasonal Mushroom appetizer made with white alba, clam shell, golden chanterelles and trumpet royale mushrooms. Our next course was the delicious Roasted Prawns that were prepared with chili lime glaze and Macadamia nuts and were accompanied by green papaya slaw. Then we enjoyed the Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops with fennel pollen, fresh white corn polenta, micro greens, truffle oil and oven roasted tomatoes in Brandywine sauce which were excellent. It was paired with a 2006 Morgan Chardonnay. You must try the soups. We loved the Curry Cocoanut Lobster Bisque with lemon grass and chili threads. It was quite refreshing. The Fish of the Day was a fabulous Sesame Seed Crusted Walo which came with grilled bok choy. It was prepared so perfectly that it was moist, juicy and flaked when cut into. We also loved the Seared Liberty Farms Duck Breast entrée served with lentils, fresh Bing cherries with verjus and asparagus. Bar none this was the best sauce for duck that we had ever tasted! The duck paired perfectly with the 2007 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel. The Mosaic signature entrée is the Coffee Encrusted Filet Mignon with Madeira Deglazed Mushrooms, Chocolate- Cabernet Demi-Glace, and Blue Cheese Compound butter and truffle oil. This steak melts in your mouth! The Ehret Knights Valley Cabernet from Santa Rosa paired perfectly.
We relaxed and took in the atmosphere and then could not resist the “Hey Sweetie” dessert menu. We loved the Praline cake which was a White cake en glace. Another fabulous dessert was the Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake with chocolate sauce, peanut brittle and vanilla ice cream. The Poached Pear which came with ginger fig ice cream, chocolate sauce and a Tuile cookie was also excellent.
Mosaic is a fabulous restaurant and a worthy destination from anywhere for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch. The cuisine is excellent and it is a favorite of locals, day trippers and those like us…. on an overnight stay. We’ll be back!
Mosaic Restaurant & Wine Lounge
Executive Chef Jenn Puccio, who graduated from The New England Culinary Institute and has worked at some of the best restaurants in San Francisco, has taken over the kitchen at Cortez near Union Square. The restaurant’s décor is warm and inviting. There is a stylish bar area up front and a dining area that overlooks the exhibition kitchen toward the back. We sat in the dining room and enjoyed watching all the action in the kitchen as Jenn monitor each dish as it was plated to make sure it was up to her requirements. We ordered a bottle of Lauretana Italian Sparkling water to start and perused the menu. We were advised by our server that there were both small plates and entrée sized meals to choose from and that the cuisine was California- Mediterranean. The Soup Shots are a great way to begin.
We loved the fabulous flavors of the Turnip Soup which had crispy shallots and parsley. Next, we enjoyed the Chef’s Crudo which was an exquisite fresh Hamachi. Our next small plate was a Crispy Kurubota Pork Belly, cranberry moustarda, winter greens, and honey-mustard emulsion. We really enjoyed both of our entrées as well. The Caramelized Colorado Lamb Chops with roasted eggplant, Gypsy pepper romesco, basil sprouts and shaved Spanish goat cheese was luscious. The Crisp Skinned Filet of Wild Sea Bass with creamy artichoke gargoyle, salsify, bacon, and thyme – rosemary broth was also delicious. The Wine List is Global. We enjoyed the 2006 Spanish Verdejo, Bodegasnaia, Rueda, Spain, the 2004 Riesling Dom, Bott-Geyl Les Elements, Alsace and the 2005 Carol Shelton Zinfandel, Cucamonga Valley, CA. For Dessert you must try the Cocoanut Frangipane caramelized bananas which came with Techno ice cream and hazelnuts. An Espresso served with cookies for dessert was the perfect finish to a deliciously satisfying meal at Cortez!
There is now a “There There” in Downtown Oakland and it’s a restaurant named Ozumo. We were pleased to be invited the Grand Opening Party at Ozumo where they showcased their Contemporary Japanese Cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Jennifer Nguyen. Owner Jeremy Umland, who also opened the original Ozuma in San Francisco on Steuart Street in 2001, has created a one of a kind restaurant experience. The upscale décor which includes a large waterfall in the Bar was created by Age Design of Japan with the theme of water, air and earth .The Dining Area has custom oak wooden tables and there is a separate Sake Room which is walled by Glass Sake bottles. It is a shoes off Japanese room with a 12 foot solid oak table surrounded by elevated bench seats with tatami matt bench seating and large pillows. There is also a Private Dining room that seats fifty.
The Sushi Bar is topped with salt and pepper granite and the sunken kitchen allows Diners and Sushi Chefs to see eye to eye. In another area, is the exhibition Robata Grill where you can watch the chefs cook the skewers of beef, chicken, lamb and prawns. Ozumo has a full bar, serves 90 brands of Sake and has Kirin and Sapporo beers on tap. At night there is a DJ in the bar…. making it quite a Hotspot. The Izakaya style small plate menu allows you to taste as much or as little as you like. We loved both Robata and Sushi which were both fresh and tasty. The sushi we loved was the Maguro Tuna, Hotate Scallops, Hamachi Yellowtail and the Sake Salmon. The Robata Grill items we enjoyed included Niku Colorado lamb chops brushed with yuzu kosho and Skewers of Prawns and Chicken. Ozumo is definitely the best thing that happened to Oakland since the return of the Raiders!
There’s a new restaurant in Hayward that serves California/ French Cuisine called Bijou which means “A Little Gem” in French. The restaurant owned by Benjamin Young and Phillip Chan has a crisp, chic, modern décor. The Bar area is separated from dining room by a stylish wire mesh sheer drape and there are comfortable booths in the dining room that are very popular. There is also outdoor seating which overlooks the newly updated downtown movie theatre and shops. Executive Chef Christian Nam-Hee recently came to the U.S. from Paris France. He has worked at a number of Two Star French restaurants and has a degree from the Ecole de Paris des Metiers de la Table, so we knew we would enjoy our dinner.
We started out by ordering a cocktail called a PomTini which is made with Hangar One Vodka and pure pomegranate juice, as we enjoyed up-tempo music in the background. We really enjoyed the Leek Veloute Soup which was made with onions and leaks and has a rich and creamy texture. It was delicious and definitely a soup worth coming back for! Next we had the Pan Seared Sea Scallops served with a champagne reduction surrounded by a bed of steamed spinach. It was terrific and paired well with the Clos du Bois Riesling which was light and dry. The Entrée that we loved was the Pan Seared Lamb Chops seasoned with herb de province and pink peppercorn rub served with garlic mashed potatoes. The Deloach Pinot Noir paired perfectly with the entrée. For Dessert we enjoyed the Chocolate Mousse. Downtown Hayward is enjoying an exciting renovation and Bijou is becoming a very popular destination.
Bijou Restaurant & Bar
We attended a Holiday Party at Harris’ Steakhouse in their Private Dining Room. The restaurant was both elegant and festive. Harris’ has been open since 1984 and continues to be one of the best Steak Houses in the Bay Area . Executive Chef MichaelBuhagiar,who has been there for eight years, keeps the continuity. Getting started with a Martini was an excellent way to loosen up and get ready for a great dinner. The Harris Famous Martini is made shaken with Kettle One Vodka and is very smooth. Our first course was a delicious Mushroom Ragout in Puff Pastry with a brandy cream reduction. Next, was the Maine Lobster Salad with tarragon apple cider vinaigrette. The main course was the perfectly prepared Filet Mignon Rossini which was “melt in your mouth” delicious Mid Western corn fed 21 day dry aged Filet topped with Sonoma Foie Gras and black truffle cabernet sauce. The Wine List is extensive and pleases both wine aficionados with Epic Reds and budget minded alike. Dessert was a delicious Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake with white chocolate anglaise. Harris’ is a great Steakhouse where you are sure have a great dinner.
Harris’ Steak House
Espetus Churrascaria San Mateo
We were warmly greeted by Nivaldo Dafraga the Maitra d’who seated us and explained that there is no menu. You pay a set price for lunch or dinner for the salad/buffet bar and the Rodizio which is all you can eat tableside service. We started by ordering an Ultimate Caipirnha specialty cocktail made with Brazilian Cachasa which is like rum and is known for helping to get your appetite going and digesting your food. Brazilian cheese bread, fried bananas and polenta were soon at our table. We then headed over to the elegant Salad/ Buffet and we created a lovely plate from the fresh couscous, hearts of palm, mango salad, Brazilian potato salad, tropical fruit salad, guacamole, grilled eggplant, cole slaw, asparagus, and green salad. There were also hot items that we enjoyed particularly the Paella and Soup which were great.
The main courses are cooked on skewers over an open fire and immediately brought tableside and carved directly onto diner’s plates by the well trained carvers who looked festive in their Gaucho outfits. We loved the Roasted Pineapple, Flank Steak, Garlic Prawns, Filet Mignon, Rare Roast Beef, Top Sirloin, Tri Tip , Lamb and the Beef Ribs which were tender and spicy having been slow cooked for eight hours. All the meats were lean and had a fabulous roasted flavor. We found that by adding salt the flavors were enhanced and that we could order meats rare or more well done just by asking. The Carvers continue to visit your table as long as the tabletop indicator is Green (Sim Por Favor means Yes Please ) and Red (Nao Obrigado means No Thanx). When we were totally finished we said A Cabei… which means finished in Portuguese. The Wine List features wines from around the world. We enjoyed the 2004 Catena Malbec 2004 from Argentina with our dinner as well as the Albarinho White wine. We did happily save room for dessert. We enjoyed the Mixed Berries Pana Cotta vanilla custard smothered with a reduction of aged balsamic vinegar and fresh berries. It had both great texture and flavor. Our hosts brought us one more special drink. The Weber Haus Cachasa was a great finish to an excellent dining experience. We’ll be back soon to Espetus San Mateo!
Espetus San Mateo
“Dine About Town” 2009 sponsored by The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com is from Jan 15-31 and June 15-30 this year. The successful promotion which is in its Eighth year has over 100 local restaurants offering prix-fixe menus with 3 course lunches for $21.95 and 3 course dinners for $34.95. This is a great way to try new restaurants and visit old favorites and this January we had a fabulous dinner at Café Maritime. Reservations can be made by contacting the restaurants or at www.opentable.com.
We had the pleasure to attend the 34th Winter Fancy Food Show www.fancyfoodshows.com at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Each year we look for and try to find the food and beverage products that stand out.
This year we found some excellent new and tasty items. We met Jeanne Scott ‘The Waffle Lady” www.wafflelady.com who has created a fabulous naturally organic pancake and waffle mix that you must try. We also enjoyed the very tasty and refreshing all natural Apple Beer and Barrel Brothers Root Beer www.applebeer.com being poured by twin sisters Allison and Ashley who are from Utah. Another tasty treat was Nita Bees Tastys www.nitabees.com down home sweet potato pie. We enjoyed the Teas from Sri Lanka including the Ethical Dilmah teas www.dilmatea.com. Salem Baking presented by Vincent Pellegrino www.salembaking.com had some excellent thin cookies. And yes there were chocolates. Lula’s www.lulas.com were especially delicious. We also had a nice chat with Dennis Connally from Canyon Specialty Foods www.canyonfoods.com who confirmed how hard it was for the new entrants into the Fancy Food business.
Until we eat again…….."
TOQUES (MORE REVIEWS)