Dinner at Jianna, North Beach
I actually had a pretty good dinner at Jianna tonight.
Had a delicious lobster risotto - good flavor and great crunch from the sweet sweet corn. There's a mild undercurrent of cracked black pepper in the dish. Also present were little golden mushrooms (chanterelles?) that gave the it a nicely tuned complexity.
Entree were juicy, tender slices of duck breast in a dark (soy, penny-sized shiitakes and something sweet and fruity - red wine?) sauce with curried noodles (the thin wheat sort in chinese places). This is the first mushy noodle I've had that I actually liked (not everyone might agree) - it actually contrasted very well with the firm crunchy julienned veggies, and the curry was mild enough to go with the slightly sweet sauce on the duck.
Dessert was what I've come to expect - small, solid and well-presented but not ultra-artistic. I got the blueberry ginger (needs more ginger) cobbler with a scoop of very good vanilla ice cream.
Service was OK to good (I've complaints here, so I'm posting my experience) - everyone from busboy to hostess chipped into pour water, remove plates etc... and I got an earnest and casual "dude-ish" waiter.
On the whole I liked the meal and everything worked, but I would probably pick the nearby Cobalt Tavern over Jianna by a very thin margin. The food's slightly better at Cobalt (and the service quite a bit better) but I think Jianna's desserts a nicer - smaller and tastier. In fact if I was going for that kind of food in North Beach I'd definitely eat the main meal at Cobalt and desserts at Jianna.