It's new, by Nancy Oakes of Boulevard fame. Anybody been?
I dropped by on opening night and then had a full dinner on Friday night. They are still working out the opening service kinks. For instance, the calamari appetizer on opening night never did appear until after we asked about its status. The staff were gracious and offered a free round of drinks while the order was prepared.
On Friday night I had a three course meal that took 2.5 hours to complete. Fortunately I wasn't in a rush, but that's way too much time to spend on dinner. The food was much better than the slow but very friendly service. I'm fully confident the team will get things to run every bit as well as Boulevard. Everyone I interacted with had a great disposition. I'll be back in a few weeks and am curious to see how the service develops.
I started with blanched summer vegetables in green goddess dressing, then had the chicken with chicken sausage and polenta; dessert was a griddled vanilla cake that was a bit too dainty for my sweet tooth - a double portion would have been perfect.
I expect this restaurant to be an important and welcome addition to the SF dining scene.
Solid restaurant with very good food and service on our visit. Beautiful airy interior. A bit light on portion size and more expensive than I thought it would be.
Our hits were:
Yellowtail Crudo – seaweed rice cracker, cucumber, white miso ($14) had a very thin carpaccio like layer of fresh fish. Each bite provided a nice blend of textures and flavors from the fish,
aoili, radish, and bits of crunchy cucumber.
Monterey Calamari – chickpeas, piperade, lemon, garlic ($13) was an unusual sauce for this type of dish but still managed to work out just fine. The calamari was fresh and cooked perfectly. Deep-fried chickpeas and the sauce, provided an exotic accent to the calamari.
East Coast Dayboat Scallops – summer truffles, summer squash, shaved sourdough, mint ($16) had three good sized scallops along with a healthy shaving of truffles. This dish was best eaten with all ingredients forked together, making for a multi-textured and robust flavor combination.
Petrale Sole - bugger bean mousseline, bacon, chanterelles, haricot verts, yellow wax beans ($24) was another excellent fish course. Perfectly cooked, good sized portion, and bundled with lots of fresh beans and mushrooms.
Halibut – tasting of all farms carrots, pistachios, melted cippolinis, basil butter ($27) was cooked perfectly and rendered tenderer and flaky. The pumpkin purée was excellent and provided the healthy touch to this dish. No heavy sauces here.
Lamb loin and rib - feta, potatoes, castelvetrano olives, pardon peppers, Lamb quarters ($28) was cooked to a perfect medium rare. High quality local Lamb with no hint of gaminess. Rib portion had a spicy/sweet rub to it. The potatoes were excellent but on the skimpy side quantity wise.
Pistachio-cardamom Semifreddo ($8) verjus roasted plums, pistachio wafer was a different type of dessert with a semi-frozen cardamom flavored bar and some very tart plums. The dish was a major contrasting flavors and not for everyone.
Peach Pie ($9) muscovado ice cream, brown butter crumble, bourbon was an excellent, warm, personal size soft peach pie with fresh peaches on the side. The ice cream was a little too salty.
Prospect is a slightly more adventurous restaurant operated by Nancy Oakes who runs the beloved Boulevard. Boulevard is one of the pleasantest places to enjoy upper-middle moderne cuisine in SF. Prospect kicks it up a notch, although not so far that it is a must-eat destination and must-ask prices. Yet, it is enjoyable throughout, and what more could one ask from a restaurant? I was served a tasting menu, largely selected from choices on the regular menu (with one nifty addition).
We began with an upscale Green Goddess Salad with Market Cucumbers, Brokaw Avocado, Basil, and Caper Vinaigrette. It was about as good as a green goddess salad could be. And pretty too. (Prospect treats plates like canvases.)
This salad was followed by a highly sculptural Yellowtail Crudo with Seaweed Rice Cracker, Pickled Cucumber, and White Miso. Lovely sashimi plus.
The best dish of the evening was an off-the-menu Soft Shell Crab with Shiso. Delicious, and, as SSC always is, beautifully sculptural. Soft shell crab must be the ocean’s most sculptural crustacean.
Crispy Pig Trotter with Main Lobster Relish, Loster Aioli, Summer Squash, and Mint had too much going on to be splendid, but it reflected the now common trough-and-sea combination with fine ingredients.
Lamb tongue and loin with butterbeans, green olive, and artichoke salsa verde was made special by an oh-so-tender tongue. Granted the idea of lamb tongue might not be appealing to readers of children’s books, but it was part of our beloved mouth-to-butt cuisine.
An apple granite with fresh berries and crème fraiche was perhaps short on deep apple tartness, but the berries were fine.
And I loved the root beer honeycomb, served with shortbread and butterscotch. If root beer honeycomb was found at Trader Joe, I’d be in heaven.
Perhaps Prospect is in the second tier in San Francisco, but Milwaukee would kill for such dining. I don’t love everything about the Bay Area, but the wealth of dining options – and masses of people who use their refrigerators and ovens to store books and clothing, eating out every night - are part of the local charm.
300 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105
I think you're thinking of NYers who use their ovens to store books. People in the Bay Area like to cook as well, as reflected in our farmers' market culture.
Your comments about the soft-shelled crab remind me of an occasion many years ago when I sat at the counter at Boulevard watching the line cook drape soft-shelled crabs over a large spoon and put them in the deep fryer so they would fry in a semi-cylinder, which was then plated standing up.