I cannot wait to go back
I had the ultimate pleasure dining at Zare at Fly Trap. I waited at the bar for my friends to get there and had the most amazing cocktail with a cucumber in it..and one with cardomom and mint that was to die for. The place was packed with an energetic crowd..and the chef was actually helping to bring plates from the kitchen. No ego there!
We began our meal with several appetizers...all were delicious but I think the roasted bone marrow with bergamot preserve and persian pickles was my favorite. But then, the lamb tongue was so perfectly cooked..so tender..and the sauce was amazing...flavors were well-balanced. But..then there was that fabulous pistachio meatball with harissa and pomegranate glaze along with the most delectable cucumber "linguine" and trout roe..that sauce was so light and delicate. I wanted to lick my plate. The braised italian eggplant with the sun-dried yogurt and crispy onions...(I did lick my plate). The salad of fuyu persimmons, micro-sprouts of arugala and watercress with this tangerine verjus and hazelnuts....oh my god. Seriously.
Our entrees included the lamb burger with sumac, persian pickles, and the best frites I've ever had. Perfectly cooked to barely a med rare..as requested. The "ghormeh sabzi" was a stew with fresh herbs, rice, preserved lime and black cod. You can also get it with short ribs. Just lovely....the texture, the herbs, the flavors..the smell! I am still thinking about it.
The dessert...which normally I don't care one hoot about. I am savory..not sweet. :) But, the "faloodeh" of lime sorbet, rice noodles, pistachios, and preserved cherries nearly made me cry. It was even better when the tiny glass of white tequila was poured over it. I drank it when I got to the bottom. The Goat cheese cheesecake with dates was also very good...but nothing compared to that faloodeh!
The attentive sommelier paired wines with almost every course..and they were spot on. We especially appreciated the Ajello Mazara, Sicila 2008...Grillo & Catarratto. There was one Lebanese red that he gave us a small taste of...didn't like so much. No problem. The chef came to our table to talk about the food..oh and the servers explained what was in each dish.
It was almost too good to be true...but it is true. I live in Sacramento...but I will be returning to this restaurant. I wish I lived in SF! I overheard that they had 25 no shows Saturday night...and that is after calling to confirm by phone. That is just wrong.
I plan to have a group party there for my birthday!
Zare at Fly Trap
606 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Thank you so much for this recommendation, melly! We went for "Meatball Monday" last week, as featured on the website. The meatball was awesome, in all senses of the word: picture a giant veal/beef/herbs/dried fruit meatball stuffed with a semi-deboned quarter chicken (the thigh bone was sticking out the top), lamb sausage, and dried apricots. Yes, like a meatball turducken. It came with an amazing side of Torshi, which we inhaled and asked for (and received) more.
Three of us split the meatball along with sides of the herb stew with rice and the marinated chickpeas. We also had the marrow (oh! the bergamot preserves!), the trout salad, and the bread. Normally I grumble about paying for bread but the Caspian Tapenade was worth it. Somehow we also managed to squeeze in desert, although it was probably a bad idea. I got a deconstructed pie that was just OK, but not bad enough to overshadow everything else.
So I totally second your thoughts... can't wait to go back!
Yes, this place is great if you love strong flavors. It is not Persian food per se, but a sort of Cal-Persian fusion that does use a lot of Persian flavors. The lamb with the torshi is also excellent, as is that version of ghorheh sabzi with the short ribs. On the dessert list, I am very enamored of a rich thickened yogurt served with truffled honey.