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.
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.
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.
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.