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For our monthly museum outing, Art Buddy Bill and I ventured to Hoss Zaré's new restaurant in SoMa, Zaré at the Fly Trap. I was a big fan of Zaré when he opened a restaurant in Napa (ill-designed and poorly located, it closed several years ago, but I always admired the food being served). It is upscale with a Persian flare.

 

With an incredibly intriguing wine-by-the-glass list, I ordered a Domaine Skouras Viognier Peloponnese, 2005 from Greece. I was very intrigued with a Grecian Viognier and it proved quite interesting; some voluptuous stone fruit which was well-integrated with complex minerality and structure. VERY nice. We decided on a large order of appetizers so that we could taste as many flavors as possible and ordered the following:

 

~ Slow-cooked lamb tongue served atop a large cinnamon stick with a perfectly bound cluster of white asparagus and mango chutney. Perfectly cooked lamb tongue which was so tender as to be fork-tender. The cinnamon was an immediate but not pervading flavor with the cluster of white asparagus a bright, clean complement to the richness of the meat. Great dish.

 

~ Spice-roasted bone marrow with bergamot preserve and Persian baby pickles. I could not detect any spice in the marrow and we were both surprised that there was a lack of salt on either the dish or the table. Once requested, the addition of salt heightened the unctuousness of the marrow. As far as marrow goes, it is fairly standard but the quality of the bones that Zaré is cooking are hefty with a LOT of marrow contained within.

 

~ Grilled sardines with Persian cucumber and heirloom tomatoes. For $13, I was a little surprised that only two sardines were offered, but their preparation and plating was impressive enough to dismiss my concerns. The sardines were large and grilled to the much-desired black crust served with stunning heirloom tomatoes of purple, orange, and yellow. I am one who consumed the entire sardine while my Buddy delicately filets the meat off the carcass; I like the crunchiness of the bones and he likes the pure flavor of the delicate meat. Very well done dish.

 

~ Grilled Italian eggplant with sun-dried yogurt, walnuts, and crispy basil. Ordering this dish was an afterthought as I was concerned we had all this meat and few vegetables. Served in a cazuela, this was my Buddy's least favorite dish. I was not blown away, but I liked the creaminess of the sauce even though the eggplant itself was limp (but eggplant usually is).

 

~ Ménage a foie; duck foie with grilled peach, sheep liver with pickled jalapeno and roasted Roma tomatoes, and chicken liver with onion marmalade and aged balsamic. A beautiful presentation, there is no question that the duck foie was clearly the most elegant although contrasting three different types of liver with three imaginative presentations shows Zaré's inventiveness.

 

Dessert; Not Your Grandma's Pie - A changing dessert (as the description on the website is different than what we were served), a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. To clean our palate from the final liver course, we decided on the less-sweet offering this dessert which both of us were really impressed by; the lemon curd was delightfully tangy, but it was the addition of a stunning gelato that surprised both of us. Sorry, I'll come back and edit when I remember the flavor...

 

Great service, beautiful setting, and as we were finishing, I saw a shank and a short rib entrée come out which makes me want to return and try more.

 

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  • 3 months later...

From today's Eater:

 

SOMA—In some of the more creative deals in town, Hoss Zare, maker of giant meatballs, has released a bevy of new promos at the Fly Trap, including a new bar bites menu until 1am, a weekday happy hour, and something called "Ten after Ten," wherein parties of ten that dine after 10pm for a special occasion get 50% off the food tab. [EaterWire]

 

 

So, can we find ten late-night diners to venture out for the fabulous bargain? I know I can bring two or three people along....

 

C'mon, people!

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If it doesn't happen til March, I'm in. We move to SF on Feb 21st! I'm counting on lots more taco crawls and other get-togethers!

 

(By the way, Carrie, your website looks great. What gorgeous jewelry.)

 

The ad doesn't say how long the deal is going on, but I'm heading there on Monday for his Zare's famous meatballs and will ask and report back.

 

And thanks for the encouragement; the site is going to be updated this weekend and I have been accepted to the Contemporary Craft Show at Fort Mason the weekend of March 12th.

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If it doesn't happen til March, I'm in. We move to SF on Feb 21st! I'm counting on lots more taco crawls and other get-togethers!

 

(By the way, Carrie, your website looks great. What gorgeous jewelry.)

Do tell! This is great news.

 

Hope Mr. Merlin won't mind too much, but he'll have a much shorter commute then, right?

 

Looking forward to seeing you in town!

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Guest Aaron T
If it doesn't happen til March, I'm in. We move to SF on Feb 21st! I'm counting on lots more taco crawls and other get-togethers!

 

(By the way, Carrie, your website looks great. What gorgeous jewelry.)

 

Congratulations! That is great news. Good luck with your move. :cool:

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If it doesn't happen til March, I'm in. We move to SF on Feb 21st! I'm counting on lots more taco crawls and other get-togethers!

 

Woo Hoo Merlin, that's awesome! Paul and I are coming down there in March - either the weekend of the 14/15 or the 21/22. I hope we can get together while I'm there. I want to see you again and I'd love to meet those of you I haven't met yet!

 

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I am certainly a lucky person this week; a variety of visiting friends are insisting on taking me out to eat so I will have lots of reports this week...

 

Monday's adventure was (finally) experiencing Zare's Monday Meatball Madness with the Divine Miss Spieler. We got to experience a variety of tastes before the meatball arrived, including several appetizers;

 

Smoked trout on cucumber "linguini' with dilled creme fraiche. This was an early favorite, both Miss S and I adoring the coolness of the dressing with the smoked fish and lovely cucumber strips (we are both cucumber fans).

 

The "pistachio meatball" is a small appetizer but with a huge taste; a harrisa/honey/pomegranate glaze which is just divine in its sticky sweet-spiceness.

 

The cinnamon-braised lamb's tongue with apple chutney and chestnuts. God, I love this dish.... Perfectly tender tongue and the flavors of fruit and spice juxtaposes what becomes umami in the chestnuts. Lovely.

 

Spice-roasted marrow bones served with bergamot preserves, Persian baby pickles, fresh greens and toast. You know, Bix's marrow bones used to be my favorite, but these have surpassed that. The spice is very subtle and the bergamot preserves, which could be sickly sweet is just a great, clean taste that helps cleanse the palate to the Persian pickle which has quite a bite.

 

One entrée we shared was the Moroccan-spiced Salmon with toasted fregola, seasonal vegetables, and cucumber raita. Again, the brightness of cucumber and dill complemented the ras al hanout compote with some of the best Salmon I've had in ages. I admit to saving a rather large portion of this to have for breakfast the next day and was not disappointed.

 

Then there was The Meatball. Six- or eight-inches in diameter, ours was stuffed with two small lamb chops. Barely swimming in a light broth, the meatball was surrounded with a few slices of oven-roasted tomatoes and wild mushrooms. The Meatball had pinenuts, spices, and was so tender and flavorful. There was obviously going to be leftovers and the neighboring table advised eating it cold, on a sandwich. They were right.

 

Two desserts were shared; a goat-cheese cheesecake and ..... wait for it ..... Fried Dough! Hoorah! Sing praises to the heavens.... What are called "fried milk torrijas" these long, rectangle delights might be the second best hunk of fried dough I've found in the city (Piperade's is a nudge higher on my Fried Dough Scale of ecstasy, but not by much).

 

What a grand night -- and what encouragement for me to get there more often.

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