Fresh Abalone in SF
I'm arriving from the UK at the beginning of April and spending the month in California. I believe that Abalone will be in season in April. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a restaurant (preferably in San Francisco) where I could sample abalone? Many thanks.
Funny that you should ask. The Chronicle did a store on abalone yesterday: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...
They cited French Laundry, Manresa and Koi Palace outside of the city of SF and then "Bay Area Cantonese- and Hong Kong-style restaurants" which they didn't name. Anyone tried abalone in SF?
Although wild abalone may be in season in April, only farmed abalone is available for retail consumption (if you want wild abalone, you'll have to dive for it yourself or make good friends with someone who dives), so I don't think it's really seasonal anymore.
There was a mention a while back that Scoma's has abalone, although it's expensive. I really do think that Koi Palace (if you have a car) would be your best bet -- it will not only be fresh it will have been alive when you ordered it, and it will be expertly prepared in a way that will show off its distinctive character.
I had live abalone at Koi Palace a few weeks ago. They still had a huge tank of them (fist sized). It's $20 for 3 which is quite reasonable. There are 5 preps available although having tried all 5, the garlic sauce is the best (surprisingly not the scallion and ginger version). It's steamed whole and done so it's just cooked through and still tender.
Manresa has an abalone dish on that you can choose on the a la carte menu for a small supplement. Grocerytrekker recently posted the chef's tasting which also contained abalone.
Duarte's in Pescadero, CA is a solid seafood & home cooking establishment that keeps abalone on the menu with some frequency. It is a good ride down the coast; about 10 m south of Half Moon Bay.
The last time I was in (Fall) they had a sandwich and a dinner.
Last Friday we were at Great Eastern in SF Chinatown (Jackson between Grant and Kearny) and they had a tank of abalone. We did not indulge so I do not know the price.
I'm sure it is farmed (uniform size), looked lively (crawling up the walls of the tank).
We did enjoy a whole catfish, perfectly steamed, delicious, $18.