Monday, October 13, 2008

Level III

October's dinner club was Level III, located in the Marriott on Post and Mason. The ambience is nice, very modern and, because it was a slow night, we got a nice big table - a rare treat at any SF establishment. I started off with one of their signature cocktails, Emperor Norton's Mistress, which was fairly tasty and not too sweet for a foofy drink.

From the Level I menu we opted for potatoes and potatoes. Garlic fries and potato crisps with blue cheese dressing. Both were tasty and the garlic fries had just the right amount of garlic. From the Level II menu we had the Kobe sliders, tuna tartare, mac & cheese and fish tacos. The mac & cheese was a hit (though unable to top the mac & cheese at RNM). The tacos and tuna were fairly unremarkable and the Kobe sliders were so dry that we all had to take a drink of water to get each bite down. We were really looking forward to them, so it was a big let-down. From the Level III menu we had the Anchor Steam Braised Short Ribs which were nice big chunks of yummy meat and came with some so-so risotto.

For dessert we had the shortcakes, ice cream sandwiches and donuts. The shortcakes were a hit all around, each with a different fruit. The ice cream sandwiches were good, save the green tea option which we all agreed should have been pistachio. The donuts were a bit greasy but had a nice chocolate sauce for dipping.

Our wine selection, picture below, was a nice addition to the meal. Siva loved it the most, and I think I'm going to have a long-term affair with red blends. This particular Syrah was a 2004 Jade Mountain from the Napa Valley.

I just noticed on their site that they have a half price happy hour 4-7 weekdays. That might be a great way to check them out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cav Wine Bar & Kitchen

Cav Wine Bar & Kitchen was the dinner club selection for September. I think there is quite a lot to be gleaned name - definitely a wine bar first and a "kitchen" second. Their wine list certainly lives up to the reputation. It was absolutely huge but well-organized by country. Given such a vast list to choose from, we opted to pare down by selecting a wine from a country we'd rarely find on a standard wine list. Who knew that an Israeli Syrah could be such a find? It was a Clos de Gat, Syrah, Har'El, 2005 and the highlight of our evening. We had a full meal of both the small and large plates and found the food to be uninspired, save the Crispy Pig Trotters which we all enjoyed. We topped off our meal with a selection of three cheeses. Cav serves up an impressive variety and Dawn ordered us the perfect combination of mild to sharp. They also offer a house-made charcuterie and cured meat selection that we'd like to explore someday.

The final consensus was that we'd go back for the wine and cheese. However, if it's tasty morsels you seek, dine elsewhere.

Cav plate

A quick pic of the Pan Roasted New York Strip Steak with grilled early girl tomatoes, creamed Bloomsdale spinach and Bearnaise sauce. Tasty but forgettable.

Now that's dessert!

I took this photo after we disseminated the dessert at Sauce in August. I'm still dreaming of the pb&j and donuts. The food was pretty tasty, but I'd go back just for the dessert - oh, and the portabello mushroom fries. Plus I still need to try to the Guinness Milk Shake.