Friday, June 27, 2008
When I was up in SF, a back post, Ms. Lin took me to A16 on a Monday night. They have Monday Meatball Madness where the chef experiments with fresh ingredients to create different meatballs. We had reservations and I showed up first while Ms. Lin was paying the meter. The hostess wasn't very friendly and wouldn't seat me until Ms. Lin showed up. Keep in mind we arrived as soon as they opened, which meant barely anybody was there. The interior was very clean with a modern vibe and mahogany color. If you sit at the counter you can see them prepare the food and serve you. They have very interesting long paintings of women relaxing on the walls.
We decided to order the Appetizer Meatballs. They were Prosciutto, Bay Leaf, Mozzarella, and Pork then covered in Marinara Sauce. It was tasty, but not the unique experimental meatball I was expecting. Nonetheless it was flavorful and I would definitely come back again on a Monday to try their meatballs. Almost everybody who came that night was "older" and they all ordered the meatball entrée, which has 5 meatballs instead of 3.
They brought bread to the table that were probably from the Acme Bread Co. and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It's good to save some bread to dip in the meatball sauce. Ms. Lin ordered a Taurasi to drink and I ordered the Moscato Giallo.
We ordered a Salumi/Cold Cut Sampler. It's not on their menu, but as we talked with our server she said that she could put a plate together. The 4 on the plate are La Quercia Berkshire Prosciutto, Bresaola (house-cured), Pork Liver Terrina (house-cured), and Ciccioli (house-cured). It was actually a very generous plate, of course we didn't know the price as well since it was not on the menu. I think it was worth it for the amount you get and for the fact you get to sample everything. The prosciutto was wonderful with a citrus twist. They gave an enormous amount of pork terrina and it was quite tasty with a delicate texture. It was almost too much terrina. I would definitely recommend trying the cold cuts if you like them. ^_^
Ms. Lin wanted to try one of their pastas and she chose the Cavatelli with Mussels, Cannellini Beans, Tomato, Garlic, and Basil. The dish was quite small in portion because we got the half order, but we were getting full since we ordered a lot. To show how small it is and cute, I did an extreme close up of the teensy weensy mussels atop the Cavatelli. We really loved the pasta, it was chewy and had the perfect texture. The flavor was subtle but delicious on the pasta. It reminded me of a nice cassoulet. Of course Ms. Lin had to eat all the beans since I detest them, but overall this dish was surprisingly good. I'd definitely get this again, in fact I am pondering on getting again when I go back to SF!
I wanted a dish with meat so I chose for the main course to be a Mixed Roast of Watson Farms Lamb with Radishes, Fennel, and Herbs. This came with a choice of side dish and I chose the Roasted Potatoes with Salsa Verde and Lemon. There were 3 types of lamb on the dish. A sausage, roast loin, and one rack. They were cooked nicely and lightly flavored. I don't know if they were worth the price you pay, but nonetheless good. The side dish had a strong flavor. It reminded me of the Mojito fries at Asia de Cuba. At first it tasted good, but then it became too much. I'd recommend either the meatballs or the pasta instead of this.
To finish off the night, we decided to order a dessert. We got the Chocolate Budino Tart with Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All the desserts had a unique twist to it, so I wanted to see how it would turn out. I have never had EV olive oil on my dessert. It actually tasted pretty good, except WAY too much salt. BLECH! Everything else worked fine on the plate, but too much salt killed it for me. I liked the crust on the bottom.
All in all the food was pretty good, except a few tid bits. Still it was an overall tasty meal. The only thing I have to complain about was the service! I thought our server was a little haughty and impatient, then she got a little bit better at the end. The hostess was rude then followed by the server's bad attitude. We agreed that the only reason we left a nice tip was because of the busboys there who were very nice and attentive. It would be wrong to punish them for the server's horrible attitude. Be sure to check out this place when you are up in SF. I will probably come back when I visit SF again. ^_^
2355 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123