Location: 398 Hayes St at Gough, San Francisco, CA. 415-551-1590
Date: January 18, 2015
Cuisine: French American
Rating: Solid neighborhood French
After five Michelin stars in just three nights, we wanted something more casual for our last San Francisco dinner. Hayes Valley’s Absinthe seemed about just right.
A martini-like variation on a pimms cup.
This smoky Mexcal based drink was actually pretty spicy (see that chili around the rim?).
Soft garlic pretzels. Vermont cheddar mornay. Pretty much what they look like, pretzel garlic bread with a cheese dip!
Butternut squash soup. Fall spices, brioche croutons, maple-whipped creme fraiche. I’m always a fan of this kind of soup, and this one didn’t disappoint.
Hearts of romaine. Garlic croutons, parmesan, Caesar dressing.
Coke farm baby greens. Barrel-aged feta, brioche crisps, poached apples, cardamon walnuts, champagne vinaigrette. Everything has an adjective before it!
Roasted beet salad. Mixed chicories, whipped fromage blanc, port-poached Asian pears, pistachios.
Lamb fritters. Breaded & fried lamb breast, lemon-caper aioli, chili-lime vinegar. The lamb version of chicken tenders!
Beef tartare. Violet mustard, green apple, red onion, cornichons, quail egg yolk, crostini. Solid tartar. The cornichons stood in as the texture and pickled bit much like capers often do.
Potato crusted salmon. Little gem lettuce salad, kohlrabi, watermelon radish, soft-cooked egg, nicoise olives.
Black angus bistro filet. Vadouvan-whipped potatoes, swiss chard, cremini mushrooms, black garlic jus.
Coffee-crusted duck breast. Wild rice hash, duck confit, bloomsdale spinach, orange-huckleberry jus.
Absinthe is a good place. Everything tastes pretty much like it looks, with solid execution. It isn’t mind blowing or unique, but it does offer a tasty slate of contemporary French/American comfort food.