Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dining at Cortez

Baby Beets and Burrata at CortezThis Michelin starred restaurant in the heart of San Francisco's theater district is one long narrow room - albeit one that has been tastefully converted to give a fun, clubby feel. The lights fashioned out of colored spheres that are suspended from metal tubes would certainly appeal to an art-lover.

Cortez San FranciscoThe restaurant is more lively than the Fifth Floor where I had dined only a day earlier. The bar area and the main restaurant were located in the same area which made for a higher decibel level. I actually like that when I am dining alone! Given its star rating, the items on the menu seemed priced very modestly; even the chef's tasting menu was a steal. However, the tasting menu is only available Monday through Thursday, so I picked the special Dine About Town menu.

Amuse Bouche at CortezThey got me going with a combination of amuse bouches: a spoonful of something delicious and sweet - can't remember what it consisted of - and a shot glass of hot potato soup which was absolutely brilliant. That also set the tone for the rest of the evening.

While the service quality was nothing remarkable, the food certainly beats Fifth Floor hands down based on my recent dinner at both.

Potato Soup Shot at CortezThe Slow Roasted Baby Beets & Burrata was a work of art with micro-greens and edible blossoms adorning this dish. The beets were juicy and flavorful while the burrata - an Italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream - was fresh and equally delicious.

My main course was a Duo of Niman Ranch Beef containing a bavette steak and braised cheek, glazed Thumbelina carrots, caramelized onions, date puree and lemon jus. The beef was heavenly, and melted in the mouth. The flavorful, glazed onions were mouth watering good too.

Duo of Beef at CortezI ended with the Strawberry Sorbet with basil candy, lemon verbena creme fraiche and Hawaiian black sea salt. This was amazing stuff too, and the sea salt made it particularly delectable. This restaurant definitely merits a repeat visit!

Strawberry Sorbet at CortezCortez is ensconced in the Hotel Adagio and its kitchen is overseen by chef Jenn Puccio. The stroll back to my hotel past Union Square did me some good too. There was a nip in the air, but it was pleasant. I also noticed the large Virgin Megastore seems to have closed down - the economic downturn continues to take its toll.


Holly Jean said...

Yummy looking as usual.

I don't make much of an epicurean (dunno how to spell) me salt is salt. haha. But I can still appreciate your reviews, and it does indeed make my mouth water!

I'm goin thru ur archives now to see if there's japanese. My new fav.

kyh said...

looks yum. and i love the spoon and plates that the dishes were served on!

MEGalomaniac said...

Sounds like quite the experience! You have got my mouth watering for that bavette steak and braised cheek... ohhhhh and baby beets - i do love them dearly!!!

Trotter said...

Hi Shantanu! Next time we'll join you, ok? ;))
It's amazing the story of El Cortez. I was tere in 1982 and you may see the story here

Meanwhile, Blogtrotter is showing some sights of the most northern capital city in the world. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

You take really nice pictures of the food.
And I like how you have so much knowledge of the history of the places you visit.
Being a foodie myself, I feel good about this blog, except that i'm totally vegetarian and all your posts are about meat!
But very interesting , nevertheless.

Shantanu said...

@Holly: You are being modest. You did some reviews of some (rather fancy) restaurants in Singapore that I enjoyed.

@kyh: And the funny thing is both restaurants I visited on two consecutive days had similar 'spoons'.

@Meg: That beef dish was extraordinary indeed. As were the baby beets.

@Trotter: Hmm, very interesting. Didn't know the hotel itself was named El Cortez at one time.

@Nikita: Thank you! Well, the beets were vegetarian, and pretty good ones too. :)



Cuckoo said...

Now I seriously wonder if you travel for food or... :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the spoons... that's pretty inventive way to eat amuse bouches!

Shantanu said...

@Harekrishnaji: Thank you for visiting.

@Cuckoo: Heh!

@Zhu: the US, the more you pay for food, the less they give you! :)

indicaspecies said...

Re: "... in the US, the more you pay for food, the less they give you!"...haha!

Shantanu said...

@indicaspecies: But true isn't it? :)

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Shantanu said...

@Anon: Glad you think so too! Appreciate the feedback.

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