Restaurant: Acquerello

Debbie and I went to Acquerello with Stan and Julia. Going to a restaurant in San Francisco with Stan is a unique experience and this was no exception.

While the main room of the restaurant can seat up to 50 – 60 people, on this night it was set for 44 people.

There is substantial room between each table, which means you can hear the folks who are at your table without straining and you are not interrupted by overhearing the conversations from other tables.

Acceptable dress seems to be anything goes. The night we were there we saw a couple with the woman in a beautiful cocktail gown and the man in a three-piece suit and at the next table to them a young woman and man in what has been described to me as California casual.

Our table for four was at the back of the restaurant with Julia and Debbie on a banquette.

I cannot recall a restaurant at which we have had better service. And I wondered whether the service was special because of Stan. But as I looked around, other tables were experiencing similar service.

For reasons that remain unclear, Stan ordered a steak knife. The knife was provided in a manner that I had not seen before. A small wooden holder was placed on the table and the steak knife was placed in with the cutting edge placed in a slit at the top of the holder.

The following is what each of us ordered.

First course:
Julia – Brassica and spouted chickpea salad with black shallot and preserved lemon
Debbie – Aged Liberty duck cured under red wine pomace, heirloom carrots and vin cotto
Stan and Mike – Grilled Spanish Mackerel with “Giardiniera” of pickled vegetables

Second course:
Julia – Dungeness crab risotto with asparagus, cured egg yolk and oxalis (Julie only ordered two courses)
Debbie passed
Stan and Mike – Rabbit “Culurgiones,” artichoke, candied olive, green garlic and guanciale

Third course:
Debbie – Spring Hen with rhubarb, speck, fava bean, pink peppercorn and herb velouté
Stan – Willamette Valley lamb with grilled sunchoke, sweetbreads, brioche, and mustard
Mike – Olive poached ocean trout, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, red onion, pancetta

We shared three additional dishes that were not on our menu, but two of which were on the Seasonal Tasting menu. From the tasting menu: Baked bufala milk ricotta, summer squash, cherry tomato and basil and Ridged pasta with faux “foie gras”, black truffle and Marsala. The third dish, which was not on any menu, was Lobster Ravioli and Lobster sauce.

Then there is dessert:
Julia ordered Bourbon-caramel semifreddo, Amaretti crust, chocolate, and caramel sauce.
Debbie ordered Vanilla gelato with 25 year aged Balsamic and roasted strawberries.
I ordered Buttermilk panna cotta with Apricot and almond.

No hard liquor is served but the wine choices seem to be endless. The sommelier is a big Stan fan so throughout the night he was offering Stan tastes (as if he knows the difference from one wine to another).

The restaurant is not inexpensive but worth it. There is a prix fixe menu; Three course – $105, Four courses – $130, Five courses $150. Of course, wine is extra.

There are two private rooms, one that seats 8 and another that seats 16.

The restroom is quite dark with both walls and floor covered with large tiles. There is a floor based white ceramic commode and a wall hanging white ceramic washbasin with a mirror above it. An open metal rack near the washbasin has a neat pile of cloth towels. There is a small table with a light configured marble top. It holds a burning candle and holder, sprays and tissues along with two leather backed chairs. The décor of this restroom fits the restaurant: classy.

1722 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Fax 415-567-6432