If you ask me for my top three (higher end) restaurant picks in San Francisco, I would quickly be able to tell you: Range, Frances and Spruce. While the three are all pretty different in terms of atmosphere, the food at all of them is consistently amazing.
The first time we went to Spruce was because we had been given a gift certificate for our wedding (clearly these friends know us well!). After that meal, I couldn't stop gushing about the experience. I've been a few times since then, but usually just to the bar area. You don't need a reservation, you can order off the full menu or the bar menu (which features one of the best burgers I've ever had) and have amazing cocktails. The drinks menu also features an enormous selection of wines and spirits, if you're into that kind of thing.
The design of Spruce is definitely part of the appeal for me. It's really dark and masculine, with lots of dark wood, leather and velvet. It's a very sexy vibe.
Last night Kev and I booked a table for his birthday and the meal was just as good as I remembered. I wish we had gotten there slightly earlier so we could have had a drink at the bar, just because the bar is so lovely. Instead we ordered drinks at the table. The pink drink is the Bitter Berry Bramble (russian standard vodka, lemon, raspberry, bitter lemon soda) and the other drink is the Harrington (vodka, cointreau, garnier yellow chartreuse). I love that pink drink.
The gougeres is an amuse bouche sent by the chef. I hope he never stops sending these because I love them.
We ordered the beet and pear salad with hazelnut vinaigrette and warm goats milk cheese to share. They were nice enough to portion it out for us individually. I loved how the arugula was shaped around the cheese, it reminds me of Roman headpieces. This dish was my favorite of the night. It was perfect, especially since Kev doesn't really like goat cheese so I got his serving as well. All the flavors and textures went together so perfectly. You really wanted to get a little bit of everything on your fork. I probably could have had the full order of this and called it a day.
Instead, Kev ordered the tuna with Italian broccoli, pinenuts and warm olive vinaigrette and was really pleased with the dish. The tuna really felt meaty - I thought it was slightly dry, but he disagreed, especially with the addition of the olive vinaigrette.
I ordered the grilled bavette steak (I know, how shocking!) with duck fat potatoes. The steak was excellent - the outside was a little peppery and the meat was tender and juicy. Certainly as good as the steak at Range. I loved the duck fat potatoes as well - crispy outside, creamy inside, what's not to love?
We were too full to order dessert, but we did get some cute little treats with our check. The fruit jelly was pear (it was like they knew we were coming) and the cookie was maple with tangerine marmalade. We weren't too full to eat the additional cookies our very nice waitress brought us.
Excellent meal overall and a great way to start our 2011 food adventures.
3640 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94118