The Commonwealth: tantalizing for both eyes + mouth

Looking for an exciting experience for both your palate and your eyes? Check out Commonwealth in San Francisco. It’s delicious, well done, the service is top notch, and it’s classy.

The chef’s tasting menu is priced well and worth it: at $75 per person for six courses. They allow you to substitute any of the courses {typically} for something off the al la cart menu too.

Each course was beautifully presented and tasted equally as amazing as it looked. I wanted to have a beer with the meal but it’s not always easy to find one beer that will or can carry you through your entire meal. This one, the Almanac Golden Gate Gose did. It was pure bliss. Nice and light for the seafood and with enough body to pair nicely with goat cheese and even the pork. Great beer AND local.

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My favs: 

Dungeness crab crepe. Brilliant.

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Lobster and mushroom {Cioppino like} soup

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Asian pear salad with mixed bitter greens and soft goat cheese

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Celery sorbet {weird but oddly delightful}

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I highly recommend this for a nice date night. It’s right on Mission so easy to get to and easy to get a taxi from too.

Cheers!

Salt House

Salt house Restaurant

The atmosphere in the Salt House was warm and hip. They have this brilliant art on the wall that was actually painted on the wall- brilliant and really adds to the ambiance.

I enjoyed browsing their cocktail list. I ended up committing to the Boulevardier- woodford reserve, Campari and vermouth- delightful. This drink is right up my ally since I am a huge fan of the Maker’s Manhattan.

 

 

We began our evening of heavy eating with Fanny Bay oysters on the half shell. Simply cannot go wrong with oysters. We followed up with Foie Gras with a strawberry rhubarb sauce. We thought we may as well indulge since that tasty treat is going onto the black market soon. This particular piece was not exactly the way I prefer, it was firmer and more dense than I like. The rhubarb did add a nice component to the overall taste of the dish.

The corn chowder was amazing, every bite {after I added a good amount of salt}.

The steak was cooked very well and just to our liking, again, salt. I was surprised that we had to add salt to each dish considering we were at the Salt House…..

 

The best and worst part about this restaurant was the chef in the OPEN kitchen. They certainly were giving us quite the show, with my love in the food business and well, me loving food, we watched the open kitchen like hawks. From one of the guys licking the sauce spoon, putting it in a water container and then using it again, to eating in the open or wiping their faces and not washing their hands. It truly was a sight to see.

My guy went to use the restroom and peaked over into the kitchen to see if there really was just one container with water to rinse the serving spoons before we jumped the gun and became disgusted; there was. The cook platting and drizzling the sauces onto the plates reused the same spoon three times that we watched, after licking them clean.
I understand tasting the food because it should be sampled, BUT with a Tasting spoon that is disposed of after each use.

 

All of the staff were eating around the bar while they waited for their plates to come up. The cooks touching all of the food and preparing things that we {the paying consumer} ate, all wiped their face, nose, cleaned the sweat off their head and not once washed their hands.

One cook who seemed to be the leader {but we were unable to tell} was setting a good example just before we were about to leave by wiping his face with his sleeve. That was great, we thought, well, there is hope for this crew yet! No, that’s when he took off his bandana and wiped his entire palm all over his sweaty forehead just before going back to the stove. I was so glad we saw all of this after we ate.

When working in an OPEN kitchen, people need to remember that just because it may seem the guests are engaged in their own conversations, so satisfied with the delicious meal to think about anything else; they may still be watching. Open kitchens are open for a reason, for the show. It adds a different element to the whole eating experience. It’s not meant to make the patrons lose their meal after. While the food was good and the service was wonderful, after seeing the “show” we will not be back to the Salt House.

 

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Gary Danko

Gary Danko was everything I anticipated. After 8 years of understanding what fine dinning really was about and knowing that this was a place I just had to see, I was still satisfied. I write because I love to punch the keys on the keyboard and the sound of long nails just brings me back to the nostalgic time of my pre-teen years where that sound made the girls feel and look older. I also write because I feel people deserve to know the truth about the places they visit, especially when it comes to food. Gary Danko is nothing impressive looking in; the sommeliers, servers, assistants or managers {one never really knows who is taking care of you, BUT it doesn’t matter, they all are!} are floating around giving just the right amount of attention {almost like a dash of salt}, to each guest {although the ongoing feeling for me was that my man saw more attention than I did because there was a focus on wine and $$$, so like any traditional restaurant, this is traditional 🙂 }

Now that I prepped the “normal” person for this experience, I wish I could convey the amazingness that one feels while being here.

We brought wine; I have the most incredible love of my life… When I asked what we were going to bring to dinner he said, ” I was thinking we need to celebrate so let’s do the 1988 Dom Perignon”. I thought I was going to die when he suddenly said “let’s go to Gary Danko….” THEN we got there and he busted out a 2002 Chateau d’Yquem, needless to say the Foie was fantastic with the wine.

We both ordered the five course menus and everything was true culinary art. We were sure to try nearly everything; scallops, foie gras, veal crusted with pistachio, Branzini with Tarragon Gnocchi, Artichokes, Asparagus and Shimeji Mushrooms, Seared Filet of Beef with Potatoes Panadera, Swiss Chard, Cassis Glazed Shallots and Bordelaise Butter and Flambéed Bananas with Mascarpone Filled Crépes, Graham Cracker-Pecan Streusel and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {table side} stand out the most. The meal was a true masterpiece.

The entire experience was fantastic; we sat side by side, looking into the entire restaurant, the staff all appeared very attentive, their communication was superb amongst each other. They knew when we sat that we had a Yquem and they asked if we want to start with that since we both ordered the Foie. Attention to detail is ingrained in the service staff, there was not one beat missed.  It was interesting the type of service we received since we were a couple {or by the wine we brought, or clothing, we could have been sized up right away}. We sat at a table that looked into the room and sat next to each other. M y hand bag was quickly hung on a side table hook, napkin unfolded and placed on my lap and we were greeted then left to relax for a few minutes. Nothing was rushed. Service is one of those things that is so important, very difficult to maintain at a higher level and could be changed at any moment. Down to the signed copy of the menu at the end of the experience, the crew and restaurant had all the right moves.

Gary Danko was everything I thought it would be, and more!

 

Truth be told, I know food, I am passionate about it anyway. <3

 

 

 

Gary Danko on Urbanspoon