Sunday, September 02, 2007

ame - San Francisco, CA
I don't even know where to begin. I am back at school, after my incredible summer in New York. Soon after finals, I embarked to the city, and spent the following ten weeks at my investment banking internship. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life, but I could not have asked for a more rewarding and amazing summer. I even found time to try all the restaurants on my list (mainly by eating late and being spontaneous). Thanks to those who left comments and kept checking back - I'm excited to post frequently again.

I have a huge backlog of NYC restaurants, but I will start off by ending a San Francisco post I had meant to post at the beginning of the summer.

Ame, owned and operated by chefs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Terra in St. Helena, was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in late 2005. Featuring a sleek interior and a Japanese - French menu similar to Terra, it had a lot to live up to, and has since garnered mixed reviews. For the last day of my internship last year, several of us came to ame for a last hurrah.

Tempura “Poke” with Ogo Seaweed, Hawaiian Sea Salt and Green Onions 15

Maguro is wrapped in seaweed, lightly battered, and flash-deep fried in this simple but well-executed appetizer. The tuna was fresh and melt-in-your mouth, while the seaweed remained crispy in its delicately crunchy tempura batter.

“Ceviche” with Radish, Sea Salt and Candied Jalapeños 14.50

While the ceviche was masterfully constructed, it looked better than it tasted. White fish is wrapped in a paper-thin radish wrap, topped off with parsley, sea salt, and candied jalapenos. The ceviche itself was a bit bland, but I really enjoyed the jalapenos, which were slightly sweet and crunchy. I just wish that the ceviche would have been more seasoned.

A closeup:

Chopped Salad with Feta Cheese and Fried Green Tomatoes 13.50

A standard but solid salad. I enjoyed the fresh mesclun greens and cheese, and the green tomatoes were juicy and only lightly deep-fried.

Beef cheeks with zucchini blossoms

I had only tried a bit of this from K, but I found it to be a pretty standard braised meat entree. The beef was tender, but a bit over-seasoned. I also found the polenta to be too watery and overcooked.

Ricotta and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Cipollini Onion and Braised Cavolo Nero 18

The ravioli was good - pasta al dente and the cheese not overpowering. I found the accompaniments (basil seeds, crunchy haricots verts) more interesting than the actual ravioli.

Broiled Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in Shiso Broth 25

I ordered the signature entree. With the oversupply of fusion restaurants in the past years, the broiled cod with miso thing has been done time and time again; and with this abundance, it has become ironically difficult to find a restaurant that does it well. Having tried the signature cod at Nobu as well, I decided that ame's version wins hands down. While ame's was slightly overseasoned, the texture of the fish compensated. Perfectly cooked, it was nearly flaky, with the flesh being delicate and smooth.

I was not too blown away by the dumplings, however. They were well-accented by the shisho broth, but the dumpling filler was lacking in depth of flavor.

Blueberry Pie 9.50

A solid blueberry pie, but I would have preferred a flakier crust. The crust here resembled the texture of shortbread, and was too dense for my liking. The blueberry filling was good - not artificially sweetened in any way.

Pear Tart 9.50

The glazed pear tart was also good, but nothing standout. Ames strengths are in its appetizers, with the exception of the cod. It is an extremely elegant fusion restaurant: nothing over the top in what I would consider "subtle fusion" (no eel sauce drizzled over everything). The French and Japanese influences are well-executed in its dishes, and everything works well together. I would have just preferred more flavor in certain appetizers and more innovative desserts.

689 Mission St (St. Regis Hotel)
San Francisco, CA

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Blogger jeanie said...

Great to see you back in the blogosphere...

Looking forward to readin more of your eating adventures!

9/04/2007 1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/05/2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger Douglas Cress said...

agreed - good to have you back :)

9/07/2007 4:04 PM  
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