REVIEW w/ pics: Dinner at Zuni Cafe
Ever since I had a taste of my friend's version of Zuni Chicken, which Zuni Cafe is known for, and loved it, I've always wanted to try the original dish. During a visit in San Francisco, I finally got my chance. This was definitely going to be the night.
Since the Zuni Chicken takes an hour to prepare and it says so on the menu, we went ahead and ordered other dishes to start our meal with. First was the Marinated Beets with shaved fennel, toasted almonds, mint, shallots and ginger. It was a nice light dish where all the flavors harmonized together without competing with each other. Considering that three of the ingredients were ginger, mint and fennel, this dish really showed the deft touch of the chef.
Our second dish was the Merguez sausage with fried chickpeas, grilled spring onions and harissa sauce. The sausage and the harissa sauce added a nice bit of heat to our taste buds without being overwhelming. I also could have easily eaten a whole bowl of those fried chickpeas.
Following the sausage came the Bellwether Farms ricotta gnocchi with pea leaves and morel mushrooms. The gnocchi were cooked perfectly, which meant that they were soft and fluffy and the morel mushrooms added a nice hit of earthiness that made this dish even more enjoyable to eat.
Also on board was the Wild Arugula Salad with first-of-the-season County Line Farm summer squash and caper vinaigrette. What I loved about this salad was that it wasn't fussy in that there were too many ingredients. The peppery arugula paired well with the tangy caper vinaigrette. Then the Polenta with Mascarpone made its apperance and what a spoonful after spoonful of creamy goodness that was.
Finally, the star attraction arrived in the form of roasted chicken tossed with a warm bread salad of scallions, red mustard greens, currants and pine nuts. The chicken itself was moist and tender. There was also a lot of nice textures to this dish by way of the warm bread salad between the softened; yet, slightly crispy bread and the light crunch of the pine nuts. The slight bitterness of the greens also went well with the dark berry flavor of the currants. Overall, this was a chicken dish really worth waiting for.
To end, I loved the food, the service and the ambiance at Zuni Cafe and would definitely return in a heartbeat for that chicken dish.
1658 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
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1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102