RNM in Lower Haight
My favorite hair dresser is located in the Lower Haight so it is only every six weeks or so that I get to that neighborhood. I am working on eating my way around that area though, but only just discovered RNM Restaurant [598 Haight St., SF, 94117, 415.551.7900].
I joined my hairdresser for a post-coif meal on Tuesday to much delight. We both ordered cocktails to start; he a Cosmopolitan and I, an "Aviation" with Gin, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur (quite tangy!) We both ordered salads to share; a grilled Romaine which was served with St. Agur blue cheese, hazelnuts, and sliced apples with a champagne vinaigrette and a baby spinach salad accompanied with pomegranate seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, sliced Black Mission figs, persimmon, and a vinaigrette. The grilled Romaine was stunning -- I had not ever had grilled lettuce and the smokiness from the char was a nice complement to the melting cheese. Having the two salads side-by-side was nice as we could go from hot and melty to cool and refreshing, both well-dressed and nicely plated.
Again, we decided to share entrées - ordering the rib eye steak and duck confit. The rib eye was pan-grilled and served with "a twice baked white truffle scented potato, yellow wax and blue lake beans, and oakville ranch cabernet butter." This was a really great steak. The beans were very fresh and the steak, perfectly grilled rare and tender. I didn't even mind the clichéd truffle scent on the potatoes. The duck confit was served on butternut squash risotto with huckleberry gastrique, prosciutto, brussels sprout leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds. This was an interesting combination, if not a bit on the salty side. Most of it was eaten as a left-over breakfast the following day and perhaps the saltiness was accentuated at that point.
For dessert, we decided to share an apple/blueberry crisp served with dulce de leche ice cream. This was a really stellar example - served in a shallow-enough dish to give an equal portion of warm, roasted fruit to a lightly buttery crunchy top. I thought the dulce de leche might be too sweet but it worked well.
I can see this restaurant as a great neighborhood establishment, moreso than a destination restaurant. The ambience is both slightly futuristic, with its metal mesh drapes and [i]moderne[/i] lighting. I noticed a nearby table being given better glassware than we were offered. I asked for more decent glasses for our Havens syrah and a little scrambling occurred as I guess they just recently started to upgrade their wine service. Make sure to ask! The serving sizes were ample, the plating and timing worked well, and overall, a reasonable meal. Two cocktails, two salads, two entrées, a bottle of wine, a dessert with a small glass of dessert wine and tip came to just over $200. I wouldn't hesitate to visit again!
Glad to hear the good experience. I have not been for quit sometime but I remember liking this place very much. They had a prix fix early bird special on Tuesday I don't know if that is still offered. My good friend went there last month with a group of eight and it was a hit.
I know just past Nickies my new favorite bar there will be another rather upscale restaurant going in sometime in the very near future, forgot the name.
Can I ask what would push it up to a "destination" restaurant for you? I have to go to San Francisco for work in a week and a half- the group I'll be with isn't very adventurous, though. I was there last week and they all just wanted to have dinner on the Wharf (we were staying at the Hilton on Jones Street). It was fine- good, even- but I decided this time to go up the night before and treat myself to something a little more interesting. This sounds very good and in keeping with my price range.
For me, destination restaurants are those that offer something I can't get in my own neighborhood (Burma Super Star, Incanto, Aziza, etc.)
This food was really good, but I doubt my rib-eye was much different than what I would find at Boulevard, Range, et al. The salads were different enough, I'll grant you. But I hardly seek out the likes of Range or Boulevard as I would probably not seek out RNM - it is great when in the neighborhood, but if I am going to catch a cab or a bus somewhere *different* I want them to be REALLY different.