Friday, August 14, 2009

Back to Cortez

I had enjoyed the food at Cortez so much I returned to this lively restaurant again during this trip. Interestingly, while Silicon Valley was warm and sunny, neighbouring San Francisco was cold, windy and rainy. However, I covered the distance to the Hotel Adigo on foot, hoping the restuarant would not be too crowded.

Like the last time, the restaurant excelled in its food and service. The chef's tasting menu (available only Mon-Thu; they have a different menu on weekends) is moderately priced considering it's Michelin star status. I decided to go with this for today - the menu combines some surprise items with popular ones on the regular menu.

The amuse bouches were delivered in quick succession as I watched the place begin to fill up. A spoon of appetizing mixture of almond, sour cream and some other tiny goodies followed by a shot-glass of chilled melon soup, a prawn and a sliver of ginger.

Amuse Bouches at Cortez
Chilled Melon Soup at CortezMy first course was Purple Cherokee tomatoes with burrata, olive oil and sea salt. They served it with very thin slices of sourdough crisps. I loved this one! Gourmet preparations of organic tomatoes are suddenly in vogue in upscale restaurants! Crunchy and delightful in their intermixing of tastes and textures on the palate, the juicy and fleshy goodness of the tomatoes made this a great start. This dish was paired with a very interesting white Italian wine that was similar to Riesling.

Purple Tomatoes at CortezNext came a 'surprise' starter: Alaskan salmon with blossoms/greens that I cannot remember. While the dish was good, it wasn't particularly memorable. This starter was paired with an Austrian sparkling wine.

Alaskan Salmon at CortezThe Sauteed Sea Scallops in lobster consomme and pomme puree was next - the first entree, and very good. This dish was served with spinach and spring vegetables. Squeaky fresh, cooked just right and very tasty with the lobster and potato sauce. The Chardonnay went very well with this preparation.

Sauteed Scallops at CortezThe second entree was the excellent Due of Niman Ranch Beef which I had so much enjoyed during my first visit here. The dish consists of a hanger steak paired with braised cheek, with glazed Thumbelina carrots, cipollini onions, date puree and preserved lemon jus. The contrasting textures and tastes of the two different chunks of meat were amazing. Cipollini onions are smaller, flatter onions that are sweeter than the regular variety but less than shallots. The wine? A Napa Valley Cabernet. I think my tongue just orgasmed at this point!

Duo of Niman Ranch Beef at CortezI went through my dessert slowly - a mango custard over shortbread and strawberry sorbet with sesame. They had served this with an Italian sweet wine that was delectible too. Man, that was good!

Mango Custard and Sorbet at Cortez
Strolling near Union Square San FranciscoI walked back to my hotel, a happy man, enjoying the evening scenes of downtown San Francisco, past the Union Square and its large shopping malls. This was another great dining experience. Cortez does an excellent job of combining great food, excellent service and an interesting but non-intimidating atmosphere for even casual diners.


Deepti said...

Wow .. so well written ..gastronomic odyssey :)

China Car Service said...

Yes this is very beautiful place. but when i visited china i enjoyed my journey on many places without worry because i hired china car service with professional driver.

Ashish said...

The dessert sounds divine... perhaps I should try my hand at a home made version !
Great post, as usual :)

Anonymous said...

Dessert looks good... Salmon too.

Looks cold in SF, people wear jackets?!

Anonymous said...

hey, I remember walking around this very square, of which u have posted a picture.

Seriously restaurants in SF have their own charm. And the city has its own beat, that is totally contagious! :)

Good that you get to go there so often. :)

I like the way you write about your gastronomic delights ... very interesting, and you seem to have a lot of knowledge about these things too.


Once somebody has posted comment earlier , which reads something like "I suspect Mr.Shantnu Ghose travels mainly for the sake of food " , I still remember that.

It's all about not only what you eat, it's how you enjoy the most

Shantanu said...

@Deepti: Thank you!

@China Car Service: Man, you are persistent!

@Ashish: Thank you, and let me know how your home-made dessert turns out.

@Zhu: Oh yes, SF requires a jacket on most days.

@Nikita: Yup, I love SFO too.

@Harekrishnaji: Well, I can't blame people for saying that. :)

Priyank said...

Oh the desserts look very delicious!
PS: I think the car service guy is a spammer... you could just block it!

Shantanu said...

@Priyank: Oh yes, he is one. :)