Restaurant Review - Sept. 8, 2007 - Joanne

Upstairs at Bar Crudo - SF
Bar Crudo

Visited: July, 3, 2007 – Dinner
Subtitled as a Modern Raw Bar, Bar Crudo is a tiny restaurant which is decidedly not-for-all, but still a rare jewel. The chef has spark and the food showcases inspiration and innovation, blending flavors to create new ones and marrying a number of flavors into a singing dish. If you are expecting sashimi it’s better to go elsewhere. The dishes have a decidedly asian flare but Bar Crudo is not a sushi bar and plain raw fish is not what you will find.

With eight tables upstairs, bar seating for ten (five around the tiny kitchen bar), Bar Crudo has to be good to make it work. The fish and shellfish is fresh and, despite the “sauces,” the all-important quality of ingredients glows through making the dish better.

The wine list is small and seems carefully chosen to go with the food. The beer menu is huge, focusing on Belgian beer and well-crafted ales from other places. The ambiance upstairs is limited but the windows which open out onto the street give something to the otherwise plainness. There is no dessert menu but the cheese plate (which we didn’t order) had 3 good selections. Instead, we opted for a second round of lobster salad.

The service was exemplary, the waiter completely conversant with food & drinks, and managing to pace the meal well despite the fullness of the restaurant and the size of the kitchen.

Overall we can't imagine why we haven't been to Bar Crudo before and are eager to return.

What we had:

Oysters at Bar Crudo - Kusshi & Beausoleil
A dozen oysters (Kusshi and Beausoleil) and a prawn – two other varieties also available but were changed from the menu. The oysters were extra fresh, nicely halved with little shell and served on ice with a seaweed garnish, lemon wedges, cocktail sauce and mignonette. The sauces we usually pass on were finely made and worth a visit. The prawn was firm, plump and sweet.

Crudo for 2
Crudo for Two: 2 of each crudo
A great plate to share as a course. Four of the six Crudo are offered on the sampler.

  Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Cubes
Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Cubes with ginger, soy, sriracha, green onions
Slightly spicy but nicely so.

Rhode Island Fluke
Rhode Island Fluke
The crispy pancetta married with the tomato in the sauce and really worked.

Dayboat Scallops
Dayboat Scallops
Jack liked the freshness of the scallops and the pea puree beneath. I loved the colors of the tiny purple chive blossoms and the fresh green-ness of the peas underneath creamy white scallop.

Rhode Island Fluke
Tombo Tuna
A strange and wonderful combination. Like music that you like – you can’t quite put a finger on why it works it just does. But you must like vanilla.

Lobster Salad
Lobster Salad
This salad made Jack see the merit of burrata (which I have long heralded) and made him wax poetic about how perfect a match burrata was with lobster. I loved the use of basil oil with striped heirloom tomatoes. We liked this dish so much we reordered it to finish our meal.

Steamed Manila Clams & Sweet Maine Shrimp
Steamed Manila Clams & Sweet Maine Shrimp: Troubadour Blonde Ale, fava leaves, pea shoots, beech mushrooms, green garlic
Our little diner was entranced with the tiny clams. The small shrimp were firm and sweet (a lot more clams than shrimp). This would be a great dish to share but you must like clams as there are a ton of them.

Red Trout at Bar Crudo
Red Trout
The boquerones were integrated into the dressing as was the mustard and rosemary. The cherry tomatoes were really good. The fish was fresh and well-cooked.

Brasserie St. Feuillien Triple Ale - Belgian
Brasserie St. Feuillien Triple Ale - Belgian
We liked this one.

Kiuchi Brewery's White Ale from Japan Hitachino Nest
Kiuchi Brewery's Hitachino Nest White Ale from Japan - it was hard not to not just "keep them coming".

Menu at Bar Crudo

Wine List at Bar Crudo

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