Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bar Agricole Is Still Going Strong 2 Years Later

Actually, it's been almost two-and-a-half years since I first visited the spacious and modern Bar Agricole, which back then put out some really outstanding food. Another visit a year later proved just as rewarding. So when I was looking for a place that might please a friend with high culinary standards, I figured why not give Bar Agricole a third go 'round.

Bar Agricole didn't let me down. Said friend and Ialong with another paltucked into the buoyantly tender mussels, which came swimming in the most fragrant, lip-smacking white wine-cum-broth laced with fennel, green coriander and pancetta. We soaked the big, buttery hunk of toast that came alongside the bivalves into the broth and wished we had more bread to sop up the addictive liquid.

Other goodies included the fried green tomatoes and squash with tonnatowhich came out molten hot and crispy on the outside, juicy and sweet on the inside, accompanied by a tangy aioli; diminutive miso-pickled anchovies with horseradish and a swab of egg yolk cream below with a whisper of purslane on top; and jumbo rabbit meatballs sitting on a bed of creamy, buttery polenta with a kind of tomato pepper salsa that proved the perfect foil to the rich meat and corn side.

On that night, Bar Agricole was sporting an $85 pork chop on its daily changing menu. Say what? I asked the server if that was a typo. No, no. Not a typo at all. The meat weighs in at more than 2 pounds and takes more than an hour to cook, he told us. We decided to take a pass, though our curiosity was slightly piqued. ... Not enough to blow it all on one dish though.

And in the end, we didn't feel like we'd missed out. Not in the least.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

20 Spot for Some Tasty Nibbles

I met AB at 20 Spot in the Mission and found the punk-record-store-tranformed-into-a-no-frills-wine-bar the perfect place for a long overdue catchup. With two seats snagged at the end of the wood bar, we got some thoughtful advice from the folks behind the counter on the wines we eventually selected and quick service on the couple of appetizers we sampled from the short list of menu items 20 Spot had to offer.

One appetizer in particular deserves an honorable mention—5 raw slices of yellowfin tuna topped with slivers of fruit, microgreens, salmon roe, and Aleppo pepper. We tucked into those velvety medallions with great gusto. They look as good as they tasted. A happy and harmonious medley of flavors and textures.