October has been a crazy month, as the holiday season starts to kick of. Ugly holiday sweaters are just around the corner! I decided to condense my whirlwind of eating out down to one that blew me away and one that left me disappointed.
Let's start with the good news first. I had a friend* in town two weekend ago and I knew she was adventurous enough to come with me to one of my bucket list restaurants, Bar Crudo. Bar Crudo is located on Divisidero in the heart of NOPA. Bar Crudo serves, as the name suggests, a modern raw bar with only a few cooked dishes. After going a friend was disappointed I didn't get the clam chowder, which according to her is the best clam chowder you'll ever have. However, I am a fan of raw seafood (sushi addict extraordinaire) so I wanted to take full advantage of the raw fare Bar Crudo has to offer. After ordering a refreshing bottle of cava, we started out with a plate of various oysters at the recommendation of our server. They all delivered on their promise and tasted like they'd just come out of the ocean. For our main course we had the crudo sampler for two. The sample included four different kinds of fish: ahi tuna, arctic char, scallop and butterfish. The ahi tuna tasted like poke, with it's sauce of soy, lime, ginger and green onion. The arctic char, which was topped with horseradish creme fraiche, wasabi tobiko and dill. If only I could recreate this, it would be the perfect horderves for parties. The scallop was a nice pop of flavor, with blood orange, olive, fennel and tarragon accouterments. The sampler finished with the butterfish, which I was wary of but was actually delicious. It's a very smooth fish with little flavor, so it was almost like dessert when they served it with apples, pear vinaigrette and beet saffron caviar. We finished our mean with the artisan cheese plate, with fruits, pickles, honey and marmalade for pairing. This may be one of my new favorite restaurants in the city. The space is smaller and minimalistic with pops of interesting sea-related artwork. The kitchen is open so you can see all the fresh fish. The wait staff was very nice and extremely knowledgeable. I can't wait to go back!
The worst restaurant of the month was an unfortunate surprise as it came highly recommended by several foodie friends. It's the Beast & the Hare in Mission on Guerrero, which looks adorable and cozy from the outside. It called itself an American style restaurant with an emphasis on meat (as the name would suggest). I would more classify it as American with a very strong Italian influence.We started with the avocado toast topper with boquerones. The bread used for the toast was hearty and had a ton of avocado on it. Unfortunately we did not know what boquerones are, which is fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar (a popular tapas in Spain). We then went to a samplers of meats and cheese. We got the coppa (cured pork neck) and the smoked duck, along with the feia (sheep/cow milk, semi-soft, Italian). This came on a plate with pickled vegetables, marmalade and honey. The coppa was "meh" (yes, I'm clearly an eloquent writer). The duck was really good but not what we expected. It was served as more of a paste in a jar. I think what makes the difference if you like or hate this restaurant is the level of service you receive. We had a reservation and got there right on time, but had to stand and wait an additional 30 minutes. The place is super small so you just have to stand in the entry way. A girl at work who liked this restaurant said she had a very informative server, who explained everything on the menu and made recommendations based on their tastes. We had a server who was clearly slammed and spend a brief amount of time with us. That's too bad, as that could have potentially changed my view of this dining experience.