Report on Abbott's Cellar [San Francisco]
went on a whim tonight and got a seat at the chef's counter. we were informed that the menu was all new tonight, all from today's local farmers' market. we split the la quercia prosciutto & mission figs on toast, warm burratta, and mustard greens to start, the BF had the strip loin with bone marrow potato, celery root puree, grilled carrots and trumpet mushrooms; i had the duck breast with duck fat roasted shiitake mushroom risotto, french beans, fresh dates.
i know this is a beer place, but we're not super "into" beer. i ordered a normandie cidre - which i had never tasted before, and had not known that they're famous for their funk - very pronounced, as described on the menu - barnard funk! - reminiscent of low tide & rotten eggs on the nose, mellower in the mouth, not quite as funky. not bad, but not really my cup of tea. But now i know. the BF had a Heavenly Hefe - a hefeweizen-style beer from Pasadena. very nice. Only after i got home did i see on the online menu that they carry the duchesse de bourgogne, which i love.
they served us an amuse of salmon with almonds on toast, with some herbs. the salmon unfortunately had not much salmon flavor, and the toast was soggy yet tough, if you can imagine. not a great start. with that they served us a nice little 6-oz pour of something very bubbly. i'm sorry i didn't catch the name.
my duck was fantastic. perfectly cooked, crispy skin, delicious flavor. but the star of the night was the risotto with the shiitakes. so rich and deep in flavor, with light occasional notes of thyme. nicely offset by the fresh dates. i had a glass of Terra Savia cab - very currant-y, very drinkable.
the BF's steak came slightly cold - i actually saw it sitting at the pass bar for far too long - but he didn't want to send it back. also perfectly cooked, nice sear, tender - very beefy flavor. the potatoes were also really good - very strong potato flavor, but no real discernible bone marrow action.... celery root puree was a nice undernote.
service was very personable, warm, efficient. the food took a bit longer than it should have - probably 30 minutes after we finished our starter, and we'd arrived when the place was still pretty empty.
nice local place, i'd go back. i'd love it if they had more starters/small plates, because it's a nice place to sit with a beer or glass of wine and have a snack at the counter.
a pic of the duck.
thanks for reporting. we had lunch at the affiliated Monks Kettle (the chef sets up the menus for both places) and enjoyed it quite a bit. not easy to find a large range of brews with foods on this level.
I enjoyed my visit there too - much more so than the yelp ratings suggest. The food is competently done and the beer and wine list is really great.