Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bar Tartine: Warmth on a Cold Night

Ahh. It's Wednesday of winter break, and I am feeling fabtabulous! Last night my family and I headed down to the Mission to find a pleasing eatery for my brother's birthday. First we tried Cha Cha Cha down on Haight but the wait was too long, even on a Tuesday night.

Instead, we parked on Valencia St. in front of this spiffy, surprisingly expensive restaurant Spork (my brother and Mom claimed that they don't actually like sporks) and walked for maybe six blocks. We were looking for a hole-in-a-wall my Dad had spotted before. He claimed that it was a teeny, colorful place that served good Cuban food. Well, guess what-- we walked six blocks from it in the wrong direction. In the cold.

Bar Tartine at 17th St. didn't look so busy, so we finally settled on that. Upon being seated, the waiter offered us complimentary sparkling water, and my mom got excited. We chatted with the waiter and learned that Tartine made their own Hetch-Hetchy sparkling water in the back of the restaurant!

Boy, we had a delicious meal. To begin with, the country bread they served was amazing, seeing how Tartine Bakery is a few mere blocks away. My mom ordered a burger on a Tartine brioche, which came with a heap of fries. The burger arrived cooked medium-- "not too much pink!"-- and with a "pretty" bed of lettuce and pickle on the brioche. It was rather tasty, except my Dad and I discussed how it wasn't a "manly burger" since the brioche, however divine, fell apart.

My brother, the man of honor, ordered the rib-eye. It feel completely off the bone. Yum. My dad opted for the half-chicken, which was definitely the winner. The skin was crisp, the meat tender and juicy. It came laden with a few onion rings and some kale on the side. I swear, the herbs and spices on that thing made it taste like duck at times!

Amidst all the entrees, I ordered the beet salad, which was fresh and delectable. The dressing was just right and the beets were cold, sweet and had a beautiful rose tone to them.

For dessert, we wanted to go light and non-chocolately, so we ordered a Meyer lemon creme with huckleberries and cornbread biscotti on the side. Well, we ended up dunking both the huckleberries and biscotti into the cup, because the Meyer lemon creme was extraordinary. It was cool, tart, and the huckleberries tied in some sweetness. Definitely the perfect way to end the meal!

Plus, my dad had ordered a coffee, but our waiter forgot. He offered a complimentary cup, which my Dad declined. Then, our waiter gave us the dessert on-the-house as well!

I've never tried Tartine's restaurant food before, and I give it three cheers for a delightful evening.

Oh, and as we briskly made our way back to the car, we spotted Radio Habana Social Club (the place we were looking for the whole time) on 22nd St and Valencia.

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