DATE NIGHT: April 27, 2012 @ 4 PM
I admit that what brought me to Zare was the desire to check out 7x7's 2012 Big Eat To Try Before You Die:
# 25. PISTACHIO MEATBALLS at Zaré at Fly Trap $13
These giant and meaty meatballs were almost as good as I imagined them to be. The savory-sweet honey-pomegrate sauce complimented the beef and pistachio meatballs. Delicious but they now belong to "been there, eat those" food memory file. I prefer the traditional Italian meatballs.
DECOR/AMBIANCE:At 4 PM, booked through Opentable, my man and I were the first ones at Zaré. The restaurant is elegant and old-wordly. The burgundy walls, wood accents and comfortable nail studded beige leathers chairs provide a romantic venue for date nights. A communal table is also available for groups.
FROM THE BAR:
CARDAMOM MY DEAREST $10: St. George's, Cardamom and Lemon.
*I was warned that this is a sweet drink which exactly what I wanted. Strong, sweet with a very nice hint of cardamom. Fabulous and I loved it!
BREAD SERVICE:For $6, we got few slices of sliced bread and toasted lavash bread with 2 small dips of olive tapenade and another herb dip. We enjoyed this but I really thought this should have been complimentary. I cannot remember the last time we have been charged for bread. For example, Cotogna's (which I will forever refer to as "crackbread") and dip were plentiful, generous and FREE!
BRAISED LAMB SHANK with bean stew, pickled carrots, spring onion $30 Generous portions. Enrique also reported as tender and good.
It came with complimentary olive dip and lavash bread for wrapping. This was indeed a BIG meal!
CRISPY SAFFRON RISOTTO with black trumpet mushroom, herbed emulsion $21The trumplet mushrooms were so juicy and fluffy. Oh soo delicious. Nice texture contrast to thehot crispy fried risotto slices. I really loved it that I took the last piece of risotto home with me.
TOTAL: $120 including 2 Perriers and tip
VERDICT:The Pistachio Meatballs might have been what brought us to Zaré. Although meatballs did not "wow" us but the totality of the whole meal and dining experience did. The variety of Mediterranean flavors and textures provided for an exotic yet highly enjoyable meal.
Service was superb--friendly, attentive and efficient. A total gem in itself.
There are so many restaurants in SF that I still would love to try. However, if I ever find myself again on the corner of 2nd and Folsom at SoMa and wanting a splendid cozy dinner, Zaré will be it for me. Satisfying, filling, delicious and comforting food--something I imagine I will think of again on a rainy, cold evening in San Francisco.
GOOD TO KNOW:
1. Plenty of parking on Folsom
2. Happy Hour 4 PM to 7 PM
3. Zare opens at 4 PM for dinner which makes it a perfect early pre-dinner for movies, theatres or other date night activities.