Recommendations for what to order at Pure Food & Wine?
I have reservations tonight for Pure Food and Wine and would love any recommendations for stand-out dishes on the menu. (And, on the flip-side, anything to potentially avoid.) Zucchini, Local Heirloom Tomato Lasagna and Hen Of The Woods Tacos both caught my eye.
Thanks to other chowhound threads here, I (visitor from SF) had a very good meal here.
Although I don't think I would be a regular here because of the larger portion sizes, the joint was a perfect fit for the night, because we were in a mood to linger. Service was excellent. The tastes were interesting and cutting edge, but I expected a little more. In my opinion, they were trying too hard to be hearty and filling - like the large numbers of nuts - so my companions were stuffed before we got to the end. When I compare to the only two full-veg places in SF (millenium and greens), this was far better than either.
The deserts are quite good. Each has a house-made ice cream, like the barley/bourbon ice cream with the cobbler. This is a pleasant place just for desert.
We got the 5 course sampler, which was fun because my veg friends aren't used to a no-menu tasting experience - veg people have to pick and choose when dining out somewhere fancy. That was the treat. The tasting menu was really just a sampler from the menu, which I consider cheating. If you're going to offer a tasting menu, you should throw in one off-menu dish. That being said, at $70/5 courses/2 amuse was solid for this level of food, although very few of the ingredients were fresh - mushrooms, currents, nori, nuts, cheese, more nuts, etc. Fresh were the carrots in the soup, though.
Perhaps I'm spoiled. My backyard lemons are coming in early at home.
There was a little mg-ish flair in they are drying then reconstituting with other flavors. (dried Brussel sprouts reconstituted with rose water, or something like that). This is frankly a little subtle for a complicated dish, and I would suggest the chef needs to improve this powerful technique so you can taste it, or use fewer ingrediants in those dishes so the reconstituted taste element can be heard above the din.
One real positive was the touch with complicated sauces. The soup was a highlight, but also a small dab of mole under one dish. I go to oaxaca for my mole, and this wasn't oaxaca grade but had the basics well covered. Sauces like this are often the bane of veg modern cooking, because chefs feel the need to use them to bring the dish up in interest, instead of letting the ingredients speak for themselves. In sub-standard places the sauces are slaved over, might taste good, and presented carefully but simply clash with the dish --- all kinds of sad, given the care put into the sauce.
Again, all that being said, there's no high end veg restaurant in the bay area that could touch Pure Food & Wine. Good show.