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Beef and cauliflower at Aziza

susancinsf Feb 2, 2008 01:32 PM

This mention of a braised beef and cauliflower (two of my favorite winter time foods) dish at Aziza in a DAT report caught my eye, and I made a note to try it soon:

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/47017...

was actually hoping to make it to Aziza for DAT myself, but it wasn't in the cards, so we ended up going last night instead. Seated in the backroom, had a lovely dinner...the description of the beef dish on the menu is fairly minimalist ('Beef/Cauliflower/Ginger') so I got more information from our server: yes, it is new, and consists of braised beef cheeks with cauliflower, ginger, saffron and garlic...

Verdict: big thumbs up! Tender, savory and rich. Comfort food with just a bit of an edge from the spices...The cauliflower was cooked perfectly and was like icing on the cake. perfect for a cold dreary night...My only complaint is that they didn't bring me a big spoon to get every last drop of the braising liquid (though I guess that is what bread is for). Believe me, I almost called over the server to ask for one. A great new addition to a great menu. Cost is $21.

and a ps: The meyer lemon curd with black pepper phyllo and candied fennel was also delicious as well as being beautiful. We got it to share, but hubby had had a late lunch and was too full to manage more than a bite or so of dessert. Too bad, so sad (for him :-)). He was pleased that they had Blue Bottle espresso on the menu (is this new? I don't remember either espresso or blue bottle products there, but perhaps my memory is just going...).

  1. Robert Lauriston Feb 13, 2008 09:17 AM

    I had a somewhat similar dish at Troya recently: beef türlü, a stew with cauliflower, baby potatoes, pearl onions, and greens. Suprising combination and really delicious. The new chef was a sous at Aziza so there may be a direct connection.

    -----
    Troya
    349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

    1. b
      Bay Gelldawg Feb 10, 2008 02:25 PM

      I ate at Aziza last night based on this post. I hadn't heard of the restaurant and usually don't think of that part of town for dinner.

      I thought the beef and cauliflower was just OK, not worth the price or the special trip. The beef was certainly very tender, but the cauliflower was nothing special and the dish was extremely salty. Maybe I got it on an off night.

      Turnip soup (a special that night) was good. The honey mousse was OK.

      I would still gladly go back to Aziza for the great atmosphere, excellent service, and to try the other things on their menu.

      We were seated in the back room. When I first arrived, I waited at the bar for a while and had a great pomegranite champagne. It was a Saturday night and the front room seemed significantly quieter than the back, so if you are sensitive to noise I would suggest asking to be seated in the front room.

      I love the fact that they made the effort to put large curtains up at the front door so diners aren't hit with a blast of cold air each time the door is open.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bay Gelldawg
        susancinsf Feb 10, 2008 03:42 PM

        Sorry you didn't have a better experience, the dish was definitely not salty when I tried it....When you say back room, do you mean the very back room, or the side room next to the bar? I have never, in multiple visits, found the back room to be nosier than either of the other two, and based on my experience would in fact make the exact opposite recommendation to the one you made for those sensitive to noise (as I am).(which is why I am wondering if we are talking about two different rooms when we say 'the back room'?)

        You should give it another shot. I actually had a similar reaction to yours after my first visit, ie that food was mostly just ok, but it definitely grew on me.

      2. Mari Feb 5, 2008 03:30 PM

        I was there for DAT and ordered this dish as my entree. For DAT we had to ask for the DAT menu since they didn't provide it and instead gave us the regular menu. I was disappointed with the bastilla this time though since it was flavorless and just tasted like chicken with pastry. It lacked that sweetness that bastilla typically has (and I think there had been some criticism on the board before that the bastilla was too too sweet).

        What I really wanted was couscous and almost ordered one of the couscous main entrees, but I thought I'd try something different and ordered the beef & cauliflower. The beef was tender and the cauliflower was roasted perfectly. I was so happy that they offer side plates of couscous too. I couldn't finish the entire dish and ended up bringing some home for the next day.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Mari
          Robert Lauriston Feb 5, 2008 03:50 PM

          I liked Aziza's basteeya precisely because it was hardly sweet at all, just the slightest dusting of powdered sugar.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            Ruth Lafler Feb 5, 2008 03:57 PM

            The recipe I have for bastilla (granted, not one for which I can vouch the authenticity), calls for sugar -- mixed with almonds and cinnamon -- inside the bastilla as well as dusted on top. I think the issue with the sweetness of bastilla is more in the perception, not the variation. Some people hate sweet elements in an otherwise savory dish, and will complain about any degree of it. Furthermore, many people don't realize that mixing sweet and savory elements is a hallmark of Moroccan cuisine, so they aren't expecting it and it makes more of an impression on them. JMHO.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              Robert Lauriston Feb 5, 2008 04:05 PM

              Mari was expecting it to be sweet, which it ususally is, and was disapointed that it wasn't, which is one of Aziza's numerous departures from what other Moroccan restaurants do.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                Mari Feb 5, 2008 04:10 PM

                But I had it before at Aziza when it was sweet - they must have changed something because the taste was boring and muted. I like the sweetness, but I had been to Aziza about a year and a half ago and found that the bastilla was overly sweet.

                Just to compare, I went with a friend to a Moroccan restaurant in San Jose (Menara) a few weeks ago and their bastilla was much better than Aziza's. Maybe it was an off day at Aziza, but the bastilla was boring.

                1. re: Mari
                  susancinsf Feb 5, 2008 05:26 PM

                  I never order the bastilla at Aziza; other dishes always sound more interesting to me...

                  1. re: susancinsf
                    Robert Lauriston Feb 6, 2008 09:31 AM

                    It comes with the tasting menu, which is a good value if you're a big eater.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      Carrie 218 Feb 6, 2008 10:11 AM

                      The tasting menu is also a great value if you like leftovers. I rarely eat the entrée when served but always love it the following day.

        2. oaklandfoodie Feb 4, 2008 01:49 PM

          Susan -
          Could you give a bit more detail about the braised beef and cauliflower. It sounds like something I love to try and make at home!

          1. rworange Feb 3, 2008 10:12 AM

            link

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            Aziza
            5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

            1. c
              ceekskat Feb 2, 2008 01:56 PM

              Thanks for the report, always nice to see a review about a new dish. There have been several positive reports on Aziza lately & am eagerly awaiting my birthday dinner in a few weeks! If I tell DH about the braised beef cheeks, he won't even look at the rest of menu:-) Looking forward to some great cocktails too.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ceekskat
                susancinsf Feb 2, 2008 03:51 PM

                my favorite of the many good cocktails is the 'cilantro'. Obviously, one has to like cilantro, but if you do, definitely try it.

                1. re: susancinsf
                  Carrie 218 Feb 5, 2008 04:20 PM

                  Mine is the tarragon with Cachaça...

                2. re: ceekskat
                  foodseek Feb 3, 2008 09:30 AM

                  When we went to Aziza the first time we didn't anticipate the novel cocktails-really a fun addition to the terrific meal. I loved the sangria made with
                  lambrusco grasparossa, my daughter gave the watermelon cocktail a thumbs up and husband would order his tomato bloody mary again I am sure. Aziza is a great birthday site - let them know you are celebrating your big day and enjoy.

                  1. re: foodseek
                    c
                    ceekskat Feb 5, 2008 06:02 PM

                    Considering the variety of exotic cocktails they serve, I am surprised more people don't post reviews of them. I almost wish I were going with friends than just DH & kids so I get to taste more:-) Hopefully the kiddos can get something special too!

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