July 24, 2024


Cooking Is My World

The best meals of the 7 days from our Bay Location restaurant critic

In this new weekly column, I’ll be sharing the finest dishes I’ve eaten all-around the San Francisco Bay Area currently. Though the listing may well include Instagram-only discounts or seasonal tasting menu items, I’ll be absolutely sure to include factors that you could moderately get nowish.

This week’s installment incorporates a haute cuisine banana, really indulgent cheese bread and an elegant fried fish dish.

Caviar banana at Californios

It is tough to decide out a highlight from Californios chef-proprietor Val Cantu’s dreamy, a few-hour tasting menu working experience ($245), but I have to say it was the banana, a coda to the initial 3rd of the food.

Caviar spooned atop a grilled banana at Californios in San Francisco.

Caviar spooned atop a grilled banana at Californios in San Francisco.

Soleil Ho / The Chronicle

The banana, a typical ole Cavendish like you’d put in your protein shake, is grilled and topped with chilly-smoked Tsar Nicoulai golden osetra caviar, reserved specially for the cafe. It sits in a viscous pool of savory dulce de leche in just a black high-lipped bowl by ceramist Erin Hupp. On very first look, it seems to be like a “baby hedgehog,” as a single of my friends set it, and you would under no circumstances consider this blend could perform. But the briny taste of the caviar, combined with traces of bitter smoke that offset the sweetness of the banana, built me believe of the mouthwatering aromas that are unleashed as just one unwraps a steamed fish from a blanket of banana leaves. The dish is a microcosm of what Californios is about: shock, nostalgia and allegory.

Californios. Open for supper Tuesday-Saturday by reservation only. 355 11th St., San Francisco. 415-757-0994 or www.californiossf.com

Spinach dip warm bread at Mr. Digby’s

Mr. Digby’s, opened by couple Kristen and Mike McCaffery in Noe Valley in April, is complete of cozy vibes. Its darkish wood interior feels like a bona fide Wisconsin supper club, people aged-fashioned taverns that are ubiquitous in the Midwest, and the pot pies, shrimp cocktails and wedge salads on the tabletops actually cement that impression.

My server advised the spinach dip very hot bread ($12), and I really needed to say that specific sequence of words and phrases out loud, so I requested it. A modest loaf of sourdough is partly lower (assume Hasselback potato) and baked with mozzarella, Calabrian chiles and fresh new spinach stuffed into its crevices. The ensuing gooey, crunchy and salty offer hits the exact same pleasure facilities as good cheese fries, nachos and quesabirria tacos. Wisconsin would be proud.

Mr. Digby’s. Open up for evening meal Tuesday-Sunday and also 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 1199 Church St., San Francisco. 415-896-4973 or www.mrdigbys.com

Miang pla at Nari

The seasonal, present-day Thai menu at Pim Techamuanvivit’s Japantown restaurant is entire of bangers, but my favored has to be the miang pla ($42), a impressive branzino dish in the “first course” area of the menu. The filleted skeleton of the branzino is fried and curled close to its diced and fried meat, a dragon guarding its stash of gold. Wrap each individual morsel in the juicy leaves of radicchio and cabbage that accompany the dish.

Every single chunk explodes with the flavors of the aromatics tossed with the meat: shallot, lemongrass, ginger and Thai chile pepper. Toasty peanuts insert earthiness and salt, and a dollop of trout roe ($20 added) will make for a bombastic seasoning.

Nari. 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. 1625 Article St., San Francisco. 415-868-6274 or www.narisf.com

Soleil Ho is The San Francisco Chronicle’s cafe critic. E mail: soleil@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @hooleil