(via SF Chronicle/SFGate)
This week’s dining escapades took me from a lunch at the Stow Lake Boathouse to dinner at the refined Acquerello. A few of the places aren’t worth mentioning, but a couple are worth mentioning again and again, starting with Park Tavern, home of the dancing chicken. I’ll be reviewing the restaurant on Oct. 30.
It’s hard to make a successful crudite platter (photo #1), but chef Jennifer Puccio succeeds at Park Tavern, where she creates a thick Green Goddess dip ($7), thick with tarragon and other green herbs, and serves it with a variety of chilled vegetables including carrots, celery and radishes.
Speaking of salad, the Vietnamese inspired rolls at the newly opened Stow Lake Boathouse are winners. They’re made by Grace Nguyen and are part of the American Box offerings. The actual kitchen at the Boathouse is still under construction so until it’s completed in the next couple of months the food is being brought in from La Cocina, Let’s Be Frank and American Box.
The four-course tasting menu ($82) at the Italian-inspired Acquerello included roasted dorade (#3) served on a creamy corn sauce with piles of tarragon-infused maitake mushrooms and a thin line of red pepper “snow.”
I also checked back at Twenty Five Lusk, which is celebrating its first anniversary. One of the best dishes created by Matthew Dolan of the nine I sampled was the grilled Louisiana prawns (#4) served on a bed of spicy Japanese pepper grits modulated with carrot puree. The earthy addition of horseradish vinaigrette that seemed to enhance the sweet smokiness of the prawns ($29).
In St. Helena, the modern Mexican menu at La Condesa includes a citrus-brined chicken (#5), with whole grilled green onions, huitlacoche – corn fungus — and dried corn ($24).
Finally, on one of the most pleasant nights of the year, I dined on the patio at Foreign Cinema on fried chicken, beef carpaccio and other savory courses, but the highlight of the meal was the profiteroles (#6) with a peach Champagne consomme ($8.50).