Bar Tartine -- daytime sandwich counter [San Francisco]
- singleguychef Aug 29, 2012 03:13 PM
I thought Bar Tartine's new sandwich counter should get its own thread since it has a separate menu from dinner (under chef Nick Balla) but also because when I checked it out it got super busy in the middle of lunch, so there must be a lot of people out there who've tried it.
The counter is part of the expansion and redesign of the restaurant, and it's open Wednesday through Sunday. I went on Sunday before noon and while there were people already there, it wasn't super crowded. The menu has a section of open-faced sandwiches called smorrebrod and then a few regular sandwiches and salads, as well as selection of pastries and sweets.
I tried the three smorrebrod for $15 and got the sturgeon with potato spread, the roasted tomato with zucchini and the chocolate with hazelnut. I felt the presentation and complexity of ingredients reflected the Nordic trending of the food Balla is leaning toward for the dinner menu. They all came out looking beautiful but I wasn't that impressed by the sturgeon, just lacking much taste. The roasted tomatoes were done nicely and was like summer on bread, and the chocolate and hazelnut was just a great for obvious reasons. The added walnut bits on top was really nice.
The vibe was really relaxed and casual, and it seemed the menu was different enough to provide a nice alternative to brunch or a regular sandwich deli counter. Even though I wasn't blown away from the sturgeon, I'm still interested in trying the other items.
As I left there was a longer line at the counter. Luckily the entire restaurant space is utilized, including the marble bar counter.
Anyone else tried?
Burning man having emptied Valencia today, I popped in today. No line! I got the Lentil croquettes which are served on slab bread with yoghurt, cucumber, sprouts, tomato, and peppers.
Fantastic slices of pickles were served on the side, and the open faced rye sandwiches and langos (fried potato bread) that other people were eating looked amazing. But I got the dish because it seemed so out of place amidst the Scandinavian and Cal-Hungarian offerings, that I figured it would have to be good.
I liked all the components of this quasi-falafel, but as a whole it really didn't gel. The yogurt was strong and very good, but it overpowered an otherwise flavorful lentil patty. I wound up eating everything disassembled. I'm all for experimentation and Tartine's crusty bread, but falafel-like things taste best on a pita-like bread. The bread is too thick and hearty for a lentil-patty, and it also made the sandwich somewhat cumbersome to eat.
Had a trio of smorrerbrod. Loved the blue cheese, bacon, egg, and avocado. It gels together well. Also loved the creamed herring with onion and beet salad. The kabocha squash with kale and farmers cheese didnt do much for me, but the kale and crispy shallots was great by itself.
By containing these foods in small but fulfilling portions, they've managed to make brunch items that I want to eat, but which don't make me want to fall back asleep.
Oh, and check this out--- W-F 11-3, Sat-Sun 11-2:30 they sell bread loaves for takeout. White wheat, whole wheat, and seeded wheat and rye. Certainly beats having to call Tartine 3 days in advance for a loaf!
Went in without checking their website, hoping to try a few more smorrebrod options that I hadn't tried a few months ago. The smorrebrod sandwiches are no longer on the weekday lunch menu. They are now only available for weekend brunch.
Got a loaf of oat flax porridge. Incredibly moist inside, but perhaps less of a crust outside. Was told that the breads come out of the oven around 11am.
I'm a latecomer to this party, finally trying the lunch time sandwich shop last week with my jewelry designer friend. A couple changes to report --- there were only two sandwiches on the menu and instead of counter service, we had full table service.
On this scorcher of a day, first, a round of cold non-alky drinks served in beautiful stoneware. The apple and pea soda gave a clear reminder of Chef Nick's love of acid --- tart, not much sweetness, and very refreshing.
We split the assortment, $23, including some of each of the five cold plates along with slices of bread. Each was lovely in its own way, unique in flavor and texture, yet harmonizing with each element on the plate. Forced to pick a favorite, I'd say the brown rice, spinach and trout salad with the trout appearing as a velvety tonnato-like sauce underpinning the grains of rice arranged with tender spinach.
We also enjoyed the assortment of pickles, $4.
To end, the kefir ice cream float in sparkling kefir, split for us in the kitchen. Again, not very sweet, and the ice cream was voluptuously rich with a pleasant tart back note.