San Anselmo (Marin) - Fusion – “Fork”
Ever been to Kraft in New York? Me neither, but Fork delivers on what everyone says are Kraft’s strengths: Simplicity, Über-freshness and style.
Normally, style doesn’t enter into my thoughts about good eateries. I equate people who talk about how stylish restaurants are with idiots who pay more attention to their car’s paint-job than to how it runs. In this case, the style I’m referring to is more than how the joint looks (a clean and simple, space with low-key art and room between the tables).
Here’s what I mean: The guy who meets you at the front is friendly and helpful. The wait-staff achieves that awesome combination of answering all of your questions, clearing used dishes, keeping the water glasses full and not intruding into your dining experience any more than they have to. The bathroom has real cloth napkins to dry your hands. The silverware is changed based on the course that you are about to enjoy. And the food is presented simply and beautifully. All of this adds up to a wonderful style that even penetrated my anti-pretention shield. The owner has thought through all of the details and it shows.
Sometimes I describe a good meal by saying that there wasn’t a single bite I didn’t like. In this case I have to say that there wasn’t a single bite that wasn’t great. I continued my wont of eating a series of smaller dishes in order to get a feel for the place.
I opened with the Crostini (Goat Cheese, Roasted Red Peppers, Prosciutto di Parma, Caper Berry) and the House Cured Salmon (Rősti Potato, Red Onion, Capers, Chives, Caviar). The prosciutto on the great bread combined with the red peppers was delightful, crunchy and rich. The salmon was the best thing of the night. The fish combined with a few caviar eggs was exquisite.
I followed this with the Romaine Hearts (Garlic Anchovy Dressing, Parmesan Reggiano, Crouton) and a Cheese Plate (Mt. Tam Triple Cream, Redwood Hill Chevré, Point Reyes Blue). The “Romaine Hearts” was clearly a Caesar. It was a really great Caesar, but still, why dress it up on the menu? The cheese plate was outstanding. I knew the cheeses, but it was the right combo of them presented (again) simply with just the right type of bread and sides.
My dinner companions’ highlights were an awesome Three Meat Meatloaf (Spicy Glaze, Smoked Bacon, Potato Purée, Broccoli Rabe) and my wife’s tea-cup sized Organic Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho.
I finished the evening with three really decadent home-made truffles and a pot of tea (presented in a very nice pot with a loose-leaf infusion and a small Chinese cup – a small thing, perhaps, but still, that’s _style_).
Oh, before I forget, they offer wine in a “flight”, which is three different half-glasses of wine for $13. Everyone at the table got one and it’s a great way to contrast different styles around a theme. I definitely recommend this, unless you already know everything about wine and can laser focus on what you want.
1 = Bad, 10 = Outstanding
Food: 9 (Tasty, well presented)
Service: 9 (Unobtrusive, helpful, available)
Price: 7 (3 people, wine, dessert, tip and taxes = $200)
Ambiance: 8 (understated, elegant)
http://marinfork.com for directions and reservations.
198 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, CA 94960
I absolutly love this place one of my favorites in marin. the food is masterfully presented and the flavors are crafted perfectly. with a knowledgable staff and chef Nathan Lockwoods wonderful menu it is a delicious experience. I had a beef carpacio, duck and game hen agnolotte, and seared diver scallops. small dishes that are perfect to the palate without feeking heavy. please try this place out.