So I was in San Francisco last weekeend from the the east coast for the third time in less than a year. So far the city has lived up to the billing as an amazing foodie place and it's rapidly becoming one of my favourite places to visit. Unfortunately for me I never have enough time to do more than one nice place a trip so I can't say I've experienced a lot but from where I've eaten I've been impressed by the cuisine if not always the service.
So far I've been to:
Boulevard (top notch though busy)
Piperade (great food but extremely unhappy with the service)
and now Ame.
I tried to go here the last time I was in the Bay area but a missed flight botched the reservation. This time around, no such mistake. And I'm glad.
At first glance I was very impressed with the space: very modern and chic. At the same time it was quiet, being a Sunday, which was exactly what I was looking for being the chatty guy I am.
I had made the reservations through Opentable so I was concerned that we might be rushed out so they could get in a 2nd service (since several times were unavailable) but I found the staff extremely patient, unobtrusive and very knowledgeable. In fact my friend and I spent nearly 20 minutes chatting instead of looking at the menus/wines but the waiter was more than understanding about it.
The sommelier was very patient & helpful with two people who clearly knew nothing about wines. I ended just pointing and asked "how about that one?" He laughed and said it was a very good choice. Maybe it was a line, but it made me feel good anyway. It ened up being a wine that my friend and I enjoyed immensely (a 2006 Dr. Loosen Riesling Spatlese) and he went out of his way to get the label off the bottle for me when I couldn't for the life of me get a decent picture with my cell camera. Nice touch.
The menu has an abundance of choices. I had read a lot about the crudo so it was definitely on the top of my list but I decided on something warm instead. I went with the abalone appetizer with "shimeji" mushrooms and was not disappointed. A slightly sour sauce, tender abalone...mmmm. Really delish.
My friend was feeling a little adventurous (for her anyway) and went with the chawan-mushi with a little side of soba. I guess I didn't read the menu closely but it was chilled. She said it was good never having had c-m before. It was tasty and interesting but being a traditional c-m fan (served hot!) I'm not sure I'd order it myself.
For the main course I ended up ordering the butter poached lobster tail and panco crusted claws. Crunchy and salty and smooth and melty all at the same time...like that Taco Bell commerical. Very nice.
But not as nice as the Black Cod dish my friend had. I only had one piece but I spent the rest of my meal eyeballing her dish with a bit of jealousy. Not that mine was bad. Far from it. Her's was really amazing though.
None. My friend had already talked me into chatting in Union Square & having a piece of takeout cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory (it was good!). I did however have a nice cacao before leaving. Tasty!
All in all, it was a very nice evening and meal in a very good restaurant. It definitely made up for a rash of recent bad experiences at restaurants at home and abroad. If I lived in the city I'd definitely repeat. As a visitor, I'll certainly consider going back the next time I am there. We'll see. There are so many other places I haven't been yet...
Glad you enjoyed your meal but sorry you decamped for Cheesecake Factory as Ame's desserts are REALLY spectacular. I am especially enamored with what can only be considered miniature Monte Cristo sandwiches which I can still taste from a visit six months ago...
Nice report. I was just at Ame myself and had a wonderful time as well.
Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience with the service at Piperade on a previous visit. While I love the food there and used to eat there quite often, I stopped going about a year and a half ago after too many experiences finding the head waiter a bit cold.