Bistro Central Parc @ Grove & Central
We love a "restaurant we can walk to". If a full house at seven o'clock on a Wednesday evening is an indication of approval, then one can conclude that the 'hood welcomes this new restaurant with great enthusiasm and curiosity.
The never-ending construction permit cycle has opened the door to Claude and Jacques' newest venture, Bistro Central Parc.
It is a pleasure to see our friends and neighbors enjoying the "turnaround" of this corner with its beautifully handcrafted wood door at the entrance and the interior concrete floor trimmed with copper. Orchids in glass dishes line the stainless steel bar for single diners - and, there are convenient purse hooks beneath the counter top. Two tops are spaced closely with 4-tops+ for larger groups. The platinum grey walls glow with a welcoming ambience. All's right with the world here. Clean lines, spare design, artful accents. Service is superbly professional; gracious, friendly, attentive without being obsequious.
Water is poured and warm crusty rolls with butter appear immediately. Our evening's dinner began with a shared frisée traditionnelle aux lardons; crisp and tender frisée lettuce, fresh French tarragon, parsley, lardon - cubes of luscious pork fat - delicately balanced with a whisper of vinegar and the perfectly poached egg, $11.50. We had pours of the Cotes du Rhone, $8; and the Meritage, $7 to tease the full flavors of the rack of lamb and ratatouille $19.50 and the duck confit with French lentils, $15.50 - notes of perfection, seasonings on point; crisp-skinned duck on a bed of lovely lentils and spinach, accented with tiny gems of carrot; and medium-rare lamb with a colorful melange of pepper-tomato-eggplant. Technique is apparent and appreciated on the plate. The saucier is not an afterthought - it is a treasured vessel of whisk-dom, a purveyor of pulchritude (I will read again my old copy of Raymond Sokolov's The Saucier's Apprentice).
There are profiteroles $7.50 and an espresso $2 before the evening ends and we happily wander home again.
I forgot to ask about the 5 pm to 7 pm Early Bird Special prix fixe, $17.50 for 3 courses.
Hours are 5 pm to 10:30 pm, Wednesday to Friday
Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 10:00 pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Bistro Central Parc
560 Central Avenue
@ Grove Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
Reservations (415) 931-7272
Nos entrées (I am not typing the menu in French)
Grilled sardines 6.50
Soup of the day 8.00
French onion soup 8.50
Mixed green salad 7.50
Frisée lettuce with bacon 11.50
Escargots, garlic and parsley butter 9.50
Charcuterie plate 15.50
Mushroom and goat cheese tart 10.00
Gravlax tart 9.50
Chef's Vegetarian Special 11.50
Pasta of the day 10.00
Risotto, lobster sauce, scallops 17.50
Fish of the day A.Q.
Cornish hen, black pepper sauce, potatoes 14.50
Duck confit, lentils 16.50
Pork with ginger sauce, braised cabbage 15.50
Rack of lamb, ratatouille $19.50
NY steak, fries, herbal butter $19.50
Filet mignon, green peppercorn sauce, potatoes au gratin 22.00
Beef Bourguignon 18.50
Desserts (from a scant memory)
Pear - Poire Belle-Hélène
Chocolate cake (you know, that molten one)
Apple - Tarte Tatin
there is more but I can't recall... there must be a Crème brûlée?
Brunch was lovely last Sunday - we arrived at 9 am in anticipation of a Valentine's Day rush - for a relaxed and gracious repast.
The pain perdu - French toast - is perfection; brioche crisp and custardy inside with a fresh fruit garnish; excellent frisee with luscious lardons and the perfectly poached egg, the omelette was prepared fluffy light and moist, the salmon benedict lived up to its promise with flavors rich and bright. Service will make you feel most welcome and every plate is a delight. This is a gem in the neighborhood.
Bistro Central Parc
560 Central Ave, San Francisco, CA 94117
Early Bird Special prix fixe, $17.50 for 3 courses; 5 pm to 7 pm, Wed-Sun
Soup of the day
French onion soup
Mixed green salad
Chef's Vegetarian Special
Pasta of the day
Chicken breast & fries (?)
Pork with ginger sauce, braised cabbage
Pasta of the day was Rigatoni in creamy carbonara sauce when we were there. Quite good. Pasta cooked al dente and not drowned in cream sauce. Pork, cooked medium rare, while flavorful, but not as tender as we'd like. Napa cabbage, bacon and ginger sauce go well with the pork.
Profiteroles is a winner. Very friendly and efficient service.
I ate here last night as well and had a fantastic meal. Mushroom and goat cheese tart with a side salad perfectly dressed to cut the richness of the goat cheese, which itself was perfectly balanced with the incredibly fresh mushrooms. Seasonal vegetables and French fries, also very good. Rack of lamb was apparently fantastic (I don't eat meat, but it looked really good, meat falling off the bone, made my co-diner very happy). Tarte Tatin very good (only complaint was that the bottom pastry was very tough to cut through with a spoon--could've used a knife!). There's also creme brulee and creme caramel on the dessert menu. I agree that the service is perfectly on point. I will eat here over and over again.