Candybar (desserts & wine), SF - anyone try it yet?
Candybar just opened on Sat. There's a 4-course dessert menu, some savory appetizers, beer & wine. Anyone try it yet?
Candybar, 1335 Fulton St. (near Divisadero), San Francisco; (415) 673-7078. Open dinner hours Tues.-Sun. Credit cards and reservations accepted. Appetizers and desserts, $7-$14.
1335 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117
My friend Lauren and I went to Candybar last night and my impressions were similar to that of jrhsfcm. I had been to Chikalicious (http://www.chikalicious.com/) in NYC a few years ago and of course that was the first thing that came to my mind. Like Chikalicious it is a small, minimalist space, but Candybar is much darker and the back of the space was not very inviting. Flavor-wise, I was excited by the menu (I had the chocolate sorbet with foie gras tapioca, and the vanilla cake with pickled mango and olive oil), but found many items overdone. Many items were too cloyingly sweet and ended up overpowering the flavors they tout on the menu, like the perfume of lavender in the bellini, the freshness of mint in the lemonade with gelee, and the bittersweetness of chocolate in the sorbet. Really, you could hardly taste those things...just alot of sweet. Other combinations (like the vanilla cake and pickled mango) were adventurous but just not harmonious in the end.
Anyways, we'll post more details about the outing soon. It offered an interesting menu and friendly staff but I didn't find it to be as fun an eating experience or as refined in flavor as I was hoping. Like jrhsfcm, I love the idea of dessert bars and hope there will be more of them around, but in the meantime I hope Candybar will work out these kinks as they get more settled in.
Went with a friend to Candybar after work yesterday.
A very minimalist space. A limited number of tables are available in the back of the restaurant, while most of the available seating is bench-style that encircles the front of the space. Tables in the front are limited to sparsely spaced end tables - I can see a lot of people trying to hold their plates while eating when the place gets full. The "bar" is very small and does not have seating, so it's certainly not a place to congregate.
They have a selection of savory courses, though we knew this was not going to be our focus. We started with a cheese plate (guilt because we had yet to have dinner?), which I believe was the same as the one maoliu had. Not mind-blowing, but was a decent cheese plate. I believe it was about $10.
We had 4 desserts total as we wanted to try an assortment, though I suppose we could have done the $14 dessert tasting menu had we wanted to save some calories. We had their blood orange Baked Alaska, the chocolate parfait, the chocolate brioche, and the warm vanilla cake.
The first three were lovely, with the Baked Alaska ranking as probably my favorite. The warm vanilla cake was probably my least favorite. The cake itself was ok, however, it was accompanied with pickled mango. The pickling completely overwhelmed the rather subtle dish - I was glad the component was on the side of the plate, as after the first bite, that's where it remained.
Their wine list was nice, however, their dessert wine selection was filled with particularly pricey options. Most of the Madeiras, for example, were over $20/glass - the most expensive at $50/glass. I had a glass of a '99 Royal Tokaji Betsek, at $19/glass. I like RTs, yet knew I'd start running up the bill if I continued with this wine. I followed that up with two glasses of '97 Fontanel Rivesaltes Ambre, a fortified grenache, which was priced at $5.50/glass (the bottle retails for about $25 (not sure of wholesale price) - they were marked at 2X retail). I quite enjoyed that and will be sure to pick some up for home consumption.
I would hope that as they continue to build their wine list that they chose to build upon their affordable selection. People often view dessert wines as overly pricey, yet they don't have to be, and I'd hate to see them scare off dessert wine novices.
I love the concept and appreciate what they're trying to do. The place was basically empty when we arrived - it was becoming quite crowded when we left. They have some kinks to work out, but Candybar is off to a nice start. I'm sure I'll be back.
There are about 5-6 items on each menu. A good variety, but don't think it can be assembly as a meal by any mean. If you go, be prepared to stand. The place is not big. Only 4 tables in the back and some benches along the wall and window. Plenty of room to stand and mingle with others. Also, they close at midnight. Last round of food order is 11 pm. Wish I knew before going as I arrived and got a table barely before the last call.
Though we did not get any special treatment, I have to first disclose we know one of the owner. All their signature items (pate, bake alaska, and one other dessert) were sold out. We ordered the scallop sashimi, $11, which was very fresh and sweet. the scallops were sliced into thin pieces and covering the whole plate.
I believe all desserts are $7. The dessert tasting menu, $14. We ordered two tasting menu. The first course is the tiny shot glass foam drink with some tiny jello?! Then two desserts of your picked. Everyone enjoyed the chocolate parfait and chocolate sorbet. The cheese plate was three pieces of swiss milk cheese with mission figs and honeycombs. It is my personal favorite. It was so good even though I did not have the right wine. The regular cheese plate came with 3 kinds of cheese (goat, sheep and cow milk). According to the waitress, the cheese selection will change regularly. The 4th dessert is the warm vanilla cake. The smell of the cake sadly surpassed the taste. It is the least favorite among everything we ordered. The last course of the tasting menu is a small cup of warm sweet milk?! (my friends insisted it is sweet cream) with a small savory cookies. Being a lazy and far from savvy chowhound, I hope pictures said it all. :P
In all, we enjoy the desserts much and found it intriguing. Every bite, we found it so familiar and yet unable to come up with a proper description other than "it tastes like some snacks granny bought" or "the taste you find at night market in asia." I do plan to go back again before the two chefs left. I read on some online forum that they will be there for six months only.