Zare at Fly Trap
I would have thought someone would post before this, but I guess not. We went last evening for the first time since Hoss Zare took over the Fly Trap, and this is going to be a new favorite. They've kept the lovely decor, added some communal tables at the front and changed the menu completely, playing off some classic Persian flavors on a modern menu. The wine list is also one of the most fascinating I've seen, with lots of varietals I'm not too familiar with and wines from unusual locations, including a whole range from Lebanon's excellent Chateau Musar. There are about 17 wines by the glass, which was the way we went as we wanted very different things. All of our selections were good, but the Bodegas Godeval Godello from Valdeorras Spain was a stand out -- a very unusual and delicious white.
I started with an appetizer of lovely smoked trout, nestled in "noodles" of cucumber that were tossed with some creme fraiche and trout caviar. Light and very refreshing. DH had the green salad in a tarragon mustard dressing with parmesan crisp and crispy prosciutto. Good, but I felt the tarragon needed to be dialed back just a bit.
My main was the braised lamb shank that was served with fingerling potatos and some beans, along with a Persian relish that was a wonderful, tart contrast to the rich meat. DH had a fish special -- petrale done with a light breadcrumb crust and a bit of lemon and slightly tart currant sauce. He liked it quite a bit.
We shared a dessert that was simple, but decadent in flavor -- a very rich, smooth greek yogurt with truffled honey, accompanied by a biscotti with dried olive in it. OH YUM. I'm not much of a dessert person usually, but boy this was good!
Zare at Fly Trap
606 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
I am certainly a lucky person this week; a variety of visiting friends are insisting on taking me out to eat so I will have lots of reports this week...
Monday's adventure was (finally) experiencing Zare's Monday Meatball Madness with the Divine Miss S. We got to experience a variety of tastes before the meatball arrived, including several appetizers;
Smoked trout on cucumber "linguini' with dilled creme fraiche. This was an early favorite, both Miss S and I adoring the coolness of the dressing with the smoked fish and lovely cucumber strips (we are both cucumber fans).
The "pistachio meatball" is a small appetizer but with a huge taste; a harrisa/honey/pomegranate glaze which is just divine in its sticky sweet-spiceness.
The cinnamon-braised lamb's tongue with apple chutney and chestnuts. God, I love this dish.... Perfectly tender tongue and the flavors of fruit and spice juxtaposes what becomes umami in the chestnuts. Lovely.
Spice-roasted marrow bones served with bergamot preserves, Persian baby pickles, fresh greens and toast. You know, Bix's marrow bones used to be my favorite, but these have surpassed that. The spice is very subtle and the bergamot preserves, which could be sickly sweet is just a great, clean taste that helps cleanse the palate to the Persian pickle which has quite a bite.
One entrée we shared was the Moroccan-spiced Salmon with toasted fregola, seasonal vegetables, and cucumber raita. Again, the brightness of cucumber and dill complemented the ras al hanout compote with some of the best Salmon I've had in ages. I admit to saving a rather large portion of this to have for breakfast the next day and was not disappointed.
Then there was The Meatball. Six- or eight-inches in diameter, ours was stuffed with two small lamb chops. Barely swimming in a light broth, the meatball was surrounded with a few slices of oven-roasted tomatoes and wild mushrooms. The Meatball had pinenuts, spices, and was so tender and flavorful. There was obviously going to be leftovers and the neighboring table advised eating it cold, on a sandwich. They were right.
Two desserts were shared; a goat-cheese cheesecake and ..... wait for it ..... Fried Dough! Hoorah! Sing praises to the heavens.... What are called "fried milk torrijas" these long, rectangle delights might be the second best hunk of fried dough I've found in the city (Piperade's is a nudge higher on my Fried Dough Scale of ecstasy, but not by much).
What a grand night -- and what encouragement for me to get there more often.
re: Melanie Wong
I was a huge fan of the Napa restaurant and this is a whole new animal; the Persian flavors are far more predominant. From my memories, the Napa dishes seemed to be heavier and richer (i.e., gooey sauces) than what he's doing now. The flavors seem more-integrated in a more thought-out sensibility. I don't want to use the word "lighter" but it just seems that the flavors are just more enticing and engaging now.