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Dinner at EOS (SF/Cole Valley)

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I haven't heard much about EOS on CH recently, so....:

Sarah & I just got back from an evening at EOS Wine Bar in Cole Valley, a one-day-early birthday present to me from her parents, who also joined us. Although we’ve dined here once before, on Valentine’s Day 2005, we hadn’t been back since, and since EOS is a short walk from home, we were looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with it.

We were seated promptly, despite S’s parents having not yet arrived (most places in SF won’t seat you until the entire party is present), and I ordered a glass of Viogner, while Sarah began a tasting flight of Sauvignon Blancs. Once her folks joined us, they ordered soju cocktails and we perused the menu, which was pretty similar to how I remembered it: asian-fusion small plates, mostly in the $9-14 range.

Our order consisted of: blue lake beans, hanger steak, ahi tuna tower, seared dayboat scallops, smoked chipotle duck breast, pork chop, and a rice cake. Our helpful server asked us about the order in which we wanted them served, which was appreciated. Many other small plate places we’ve been to have pacing issues, with too many plates arriving at once and crowding the table.

The rice cake and tuna tower arrived first. The cake had a good texture and sauce, albeit a little sweet, but the tuna tower was excellent, with thin slices of seared ahi atop white crackers, with watercress and a mustard/garlic aioli on the side. Next up were the blue lake beans, nice and crispy, with a good dose of spiciness - these were one of my favorites of the meal. Seared dayboat scallops are nearly always pretty good, and these were no exception, save for a too-sweet sauce on the side, which despite its sweetness, did have a nice flavor. A bit too much though, for the delicate scallops.

Hangar steak, duck breast, and pork arrived on each other’s heels, and all were tasty, particularly the steak, which was medium-rare with a flavorful sear on the outside, and an appropriately mild jus on the plate. Both Jim & I thought it very good indeed. The duck was good, but both Diane & I thought the chipotle flavor overwhelmed the duck’ness, and it was slightly overcooked for my liking as well. The pork, served with apricots and a light sauce, was tasty enough, but not too remarkable.

Being as EOS is a wine bar, much wine was consumed with this meal. I had the European Reds Flight ($18, I think), consisting of: 1) Chateau Vai Joanis Cotes Du Luberon, Rhone Valley, France 2003 (good, but a bit light and a bit acidic for my taste), 2) Xavier Vignon Cotes Du Rhone, Rhone Valley, France 2003 (my favorite wine of the evening - rich and complex, with a gentle attack, fruity middle, balanced by some tobacco, and lingering smooth finish, mmmm!), and 3) La Colombaia ‘Ripasso’ Valpolicella, Verona, Italy 2004 (also very good, with a nice balance of fruit and tannins). Diane had a flight of 4 Chilean wines, which were pretty good, but didn’t wow me. Sarah’s Sauvignon Blancs were interesting, with two very good ones, but unfortunately we didn’t keep the cheat sheet, so I don’t know what they were.

Desserts wrapped things up, and as I remembered, they were very good. All are house-made, and we had a pair of delicious sorbets (roasted banana(!!) and grapefruit), rice pudding with strawberries, and chocolate cake with caramel fleur de sel ice cream. All were nicely different from one another, but the cake and sorbets were quite a lot stronger-tasting than the rice pudding.

Service throughout was pretty attentive and very helpful. The dining room was getting fairly loud by the time we finished up (8pm’ish), one drawback of this venue, although at least we weren’t seated at the mezzanine as we were on our first visit - although it affords a nice view down into the front kitchen, it is very warm and loud.

I’m glad we returned here, and hopefully it won’t be so long until we do again - especially since they’re a 10-minute walk away, the combination of small plates and wine flights is a lot of fun, and a good way to learn about some different wines. I wouldn't drive across town to eat there, but I'm happy to have them nearby.

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