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Aquitaine - SF

Laurent Manrique‘s new place in the old John Walker & Co. FiDi space opens tonight. Impressive selection of wines from the French southwest, extensive menu for a wine bar.

http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

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  1. next door to my office, plan to try it soon and will report back...

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I was downtown late one night and stopped in for the onglet with frites. The portion sizes were huge, but I wasn't impressed with the quality.

        Onglet arrived completely doused in a roquefort sauce, which didn't allow any meat flavor to peek through. When I asked the server about it, he said the steak wasn't very good quality (!, also, I like hanger flavor) and the sauce was needed to give it flavor. (I think he meant the cut, not the brand/ranch, though I didn't ask where they sourced their meat.)

        The frites came in a shoe! Huge portion, with a gloopy sauce that had long strands of unchopped herbs and hunks of hard boiled egg in it. Wasn't easy to eat this concoction with fries. Again asked the server: there's hard boiled egg in here? He said no, but then I dredged up an eighth of a boiled white and he admitted that it did appear to be egg.

        On a positive note, I liked the atmosphere of the place--it was way more low-key than most Financial District spots after work, and though my server didn't seem too polished on the food offerings yet, he was very friendly and offered a few tastes of wine to settle on my choice of drink.

        From Robert's report, sounds like the apps might be the way to go. I probably would return for a drink and app if I were in the area, but don't think I'd get dinner there again unless I heard strong positive reports of a particular dish.

        1. re: pane

          Thanks pane -- we do like to make a meal of apps so will think on, or maybe do a happy hour type thing here as Robert did. Egg on frites sounds a bit grim.

          1. re: pane

            I trust the shoe was glass or wooden?

            If not, that'll teach you to dine with Werner Herzog! ;-)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werner_H...

            1. re: pane

              Huh, I assumed the steak and frites came with the sauces on the side. I guess it's prudent to order them that way.

              Some recipes for sauce ravigotte include hard-boiled eggs, though they should be chopped, as should the herbs.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I thought so too, and fortunately/unfortunately had the best steak frites of my life just a few days earlier, so that didn't help in comparison.

                At Aquitaine, it was the shoddy prep of sauces in both cases that tripped up the meal. N.B., sauce on the side!

          2. Went when they opened at 5:00 for a sort of afternoon snack / half dinner before a play. It's really more a restaurant than a wine bar. In the basement there's a room with cozy couches.

            Deviled eggs with duck bacon, popcorn with smoked duck crackling and garlic, sardines with warm potato salad, squid with garlic, parsley, and espelette, some kind of Gouda-like regional cheese, all great. They comped us an Ile Flotant, excellent. Finally there's something like a substitute for Jeanty at Jack's.

            Looking forward to trying more of the menu, which includes some very appealing main dishes such as duck confit, magret, crispy cod with piperade, and onglet with walnut and hazelnut and Roquefort relish.

            The by-the-glass wine selection is good, but the bottle list is exciting, some good values on older vintages of obscure stuff.

            It's very quiet on Saturdays, good place if you have no reservation.

            I think the hours are 11:30-2:30 M-F and 5-10 M-Sat.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Thanks for the link. I think Aquitaine just made the short list for this trip. Nice to have one dinner near the hotel, and the menu looks delightful.

                Hours per their voice mail are M-F 11:30 am to 10 pm 4-10 Sat closed Sun

                1. re: grayelf

                  If they don't close between lunch and dinner that's a change. And they didn't open until 5 on Saturday even though when I phoned the guy who answered said 4.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Again, I got this intel from the recorded phone message last night. YMMV. Will prolly deep six St Vincent for Aquitaine if they have room for us.

              2. The cassoulet is really good. Lots of Toulouse sausage and confit.

                Where else are you going to find a choice of ten Madirans and ten Cahors? The 2006 Peyros is drinking very nicely and is a great value at $35. Started with a Plageoles 2012 Mauzac Noir, lovely light wine, worked nicely as an apéritif. Such a fun list.

                Still a good option for Saturday night with no reservations. We walked in with five people around 7:45 and had a choice of tables.