Butterfat was definitely used to smooth the pat of mousseline potatoes that accompanied the Devil's Gulch pork ($36) two slices of roasted loin, two slices of garlicky sausage along with a pair of deep-fried okra knobs and some braised baby carrots and pearl onions. But slices of Liberty duck breast ($37) were fanned out over a bed of plump farro grains enriched not with butter but slices of nectarine and a five-spice gastrique (which also formed an elegant glaze at the edges of the meat).
And a sautéed filet of bluenose sea bass ($36) came to rest like a piece of tender driftwood on a bright beach of crispy sunchokes, Lucques olives, and almonds lightly bathed in a lemon emulsion possible butter there, but in a modest amount. The saucings generally suggested lean sophistication, and, in a mild anomaly, the main courses struck us as being at least as inventive and nimble as their smaller precursors.
The dessert menu has a greatest-hits flavor, with a strong subtheme of seasonality. Ingredients are immaculate and execution flawless. It's hard to find a dessert menu now that doesn't offer bread pudding; Jardinière's ($10) was made from brioche and plated with a pat of muscat sorbet (which had a singular and haunting flavor) and an almost impossibly fine dice of candied white peaches. Chocolate mousse tarts, too, are hardly unusual, but Jardinière's elongated wedge of hazelnut marjorlaine ($10) was distinguished by a smooth, dark-chocolate intensity subtly enhanced by espresso oil. For a seasonal touch, there was a cherry tart ($10), about the circumference of a golf ball and complete with latticework; it was escorted by a scoop of Tahitian vanilla gelato and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
In an important sense we know sublimeness, like art, by its flaws. One of our water glasses was cracked, and the service staff, while attentive and knowledgeable, occasionally seemed overeager to remove plates we weren't sure we'd finished with. Jarring. I wondered if there were a connection.
Dinner: Tues.Sat., 510:30 p.m.; Sun.Mon., 510 p.m.
300 Grove, SF
Well-muted noise, especially upstairs
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