Spruce in Presidio Heights
My husband and I decided to go to Spruce last night, even though it was opening night and I feared big crowds. We arrived around 6:15 or so and were able to choose a seat at the bar or at the tables in the bar area - it was beginning to fill up but it wasn't too crowded thankfully. We decided to take a seat at the bar. The interior of the restaurant is beautiful - if you like Williams Sonoma Home, which is where most of the furnishings and fixtures came from. It is done in mostly browns - chocolate mohair covered walls, beautiful wood tables, cognac colored banquettes. Very tasteful and pleasing to the eye. The barstools are VERY comfortable! They are big and done in an ostrich print leather which is gorgeous. The only problem I had was that there are too many chairs at the bar. They are literally touching one another. So, it was a little cramped. The bar itself is Carrera marble. There are several skylights in the restaurant, which made it light filled. Also, there is a separate room in the front of the restaurant with leather chairs and a coffee table - great place to gather with friends for a drink. Valet parking is $10.
On to the food - there are two menus: regular and bar. There is also an extensive wine list, as well as cocktails and cordials. The wine/liquor list is a book! We were not immediately offered the bar menu, even though that is where we were seated. We ended up asking for one when we heard someone order a burger and that was not on the menu we were looking at. The regular menu had a choice of 8 or 9 appetizers and the 7-8 main entrees. Some interesting looking appetizers (though we did not order them) were the raw and cooked zucchini with soft ricotta, heirloom tomato gazpacho, charcuterie selection and foie gras. As for the main entrees, there was tumeric rubbed chicken with a side (can't remember), honey laquered duck with foie gras and plum sauce, a pork tenderloin dish, a steak dish, seared albacore tuna and white boudin with sauerkraut (saw someone else get this and it looked really good!), to name a few.
The bar menu is where we ordered from. We were served a complimentary amuse bouche - warm salt cod and diced beets on crostini - excellent start! The complimentary bread was served warm and was very good. We ordered the country pate ($7) and the coppa ($7). They were both really great! Served with heated bread triangles. The pate was served with a sweet and sour sauce of some kind, which I liked and my husband was on the fence about. I ordered a Caesar salad, which was delicious ($10)! I think it was the best Caesar I have had in SF! The dressing was perfect - not overly eggy or garliky. Nice consistency - not too thick. The croutons were amazing - warm, seasoned and fresh. Topped with freshly shredded parmesan. We also ordered a cheeseburger to share ($12). We LOVED it! We ordered it rare to medium rare, which most places overcook. This was done perfectly - warm, pink on the inside and well seasoned. The bun was great - a thin English muffin. Great b/c it isn't very bready, so it doesn't fill you up before you enjoy the meat itself. It does come with fries and a remoulade on the side. We really liked the fries too - very much like In 'n Out Burger, but a little crispier on the outside, which was nice.
For drinks we started with cocktails, which were $8 a piece, and enjoyed a Rioja with our meal, which was $10/glass.
We did take a look at the dessert menu but didn't order anything. Unfortunately, I can't remember any of the desserts!
After we got the check ($95, which included 4 cocktails and 2 glasses of wine), we were treated to a bowl of tiny madeleines - 3 chocolate and 3 vanilla. Wish they were warm but they were still very good!
As for service, we thought it was very good, especially for an opening night. There were 4 bartenders there. They were attentive and you could tell trying to get everything just right. We were served two Caesars, even though we ordered one (they promptly took away the extra), and when we asked if fries came with the burger, he said no, so we ordered the side of fries. When the dishes came out, we had a burger with fries and an additional side of fries, for which the bartender apologized and took the side off the bill. There was a bit of a lag between our appetizers and the burger, which they recognized, but it was worth the wait!
Overall, we had a wonderful meal at Spruce. It is a great addition to the neighborhood, especially since there aren't many places to meet up for a cocktail in an upscale environment. The service was great, food delicious and atmosphere was stunning.
3640 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
I wandered in late Thusrdday night with my business partner and a friend. We sat at the bar, and shared a few things. The burger reminded me very much of the burgers at Zuni a few years back (I think the Zuni version has gone downhill) -- a little heavy on the gorgonzola, but I'm sure they'll work that out. The Pork Tenderloin was very interesting -- the dish included pork belly as well, and it was all flavored with maple. We also shared the charcutterie platter, and and the zucchini appetizer. The charcutterie seems to be house-cured (they have an area in front of the restaurant where it is shown curing; in the same area they have their prepared deserts); the pates were so-so, but the other bits were very good, especially the bologna and other salumi. I think they have it set up so you can order items individually, as well as in the platter that they pick out for you. I'm not sure if the zucchini ever made it to my side of the bar, as I don't have any memory of it it...
Noise was not bad at all -- I think the place is so big (very tall ceilings; appears to be an old garage) that it pretty much absorbs a lot of sound.
n all, I agree with Meggie that this is a nice addition to the area.
We went with a group for lunch. First, that room is beyond sexy. It is gorgeous! There is a little (slightly) open air room with a fire place and leather sofas (and a chessboard? Can't remember). Inside to the right is another beautiful lounge area with a magnificent bar. I can't wait to see this place at night...
The service was both incredibly warm but timing very off kilter. It took a *very* long time between courses, so much so that the thought of dessert-as much as we wanted it-was out of the question.
First course, 2 of us split the heirloom tomato gazpacho and the others shared fries. Soup was fantastic, you could smell the tomatoes and basil from a foot and a half away. The portions were huge; I couldn't believe it was a split! And they did something so endearing: for the others that weren't having the soup, they brought out demitasse samples of it so we all could try it.
French fries were very good and crispy, would like them maybe a little longer and more of them.
Mains were polenta with braised short rib, niçoise salad, and hamburgers (not a sharing group). First, the good news: the salad was beautiful, the egg soft poached, generous portion of tuna, seared only on one side so that it was never overcooked. The hamburgers were juicy, bun to meat portion perfect, the ripest tomatoes, and yea! pickles! So many fancy places leave out the pickles but I am a pickle whore...
Now the bad: the short ribs were tasty enough but the polenta was water. I could not eat this dish with a fork at all. It was more like polenta soup. The 3 of us that had this dish agreed...Maybe an off batch or maybe that's just how the chef does polenta...
The sommelier (or whomever was doing wine service) was lovely and accommodating. She let co-worker try the wine first and when she didn't like it (by the glass), she brought something else and was very enthusiastic in sharing her knowledge.
All in all, I would definitely give it a try again. Maybe when I had more time...
My BF's been a few times at lunch and raves about it--he's particularly taken with the wine list, which includes things like Ken Wright Pinot Noirs by the glass (around $15), which is quite a find considering he's a fantastic winemaker, his red wines retail for > $50 a bottle and I think they're all pre-allocated. Finding them at any price is remarkable, but finding them at a fair price by the glass is truly unusual. They're the kind of cult wines that many restaurants would offer only at a steep markup if they could get them at all.
I went recently too. The standouts to me were a 1) ravioli appetizer (with spearmint, and some other stuff) that was incredibly paper thin and delicate, and on the level of Quince's ravioli; 2) a sous vide caramel apple for dessert which was utterly amazing.