Monday, June 27, 2016

Terrapin Crossroads

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San Rafael, June 23, 2016—
OUF, THIS IS NO WAY to prepare for a strenuous week. Don't get me wrong: I do not complain about the kitchen. We like this restaurant. But I was seduced by a menu item, and ordered it without heeding the description…

First, though, I started with a very nice salad, described by our waitress as "compressed watermelon" with cucumber and feta cheese. The chunks of watermelon had probably been set under a weighted plate for a while, to drain them of superfluous fluid; it's a nice way to deal with what can be a recalcitrant ingredient.

The lemon cucumbers were firm and meaty, no compression needed. The salad was strewn with sprouts of some kind — after all, this is a restaurant whose roots are in the 1960s. (It's owned by Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead). Thankfully not too many sprouts, and just the right sprinkle of feta crumbs. And a few Padrones, my first of the year…

My temptress was steak-frites. The fine print: "12 ounces." It was grilled just to my specification — rare, not slimy — and needed only a bit of salt. The asparagus was also perfectly grilled, still crisp but definitely cooked; and the fries were tasty as well. But three quarters of a pound of rich beef is too much for me these days…

Which didn't keep me from driving the nail home with dessert: "doughnuts" — lacking the central holes, they were in fact crullers, I say — with an excellent texture and very cleanly fried, and accompanied by chocolate sauce, caramel, and a fine pastry cream. As I say, we like this restaurant.

Pinot gris, Acrobat (Willamette Valley), 2013: fresh, light, pleasant; Zinfandel, Steele (Mendocino), 2010: note the vintage — mature, fruity, rich, alcoholic

•Terrapin Crossroads, 100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael, California; (415) 524-2773

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating:  2016   2015IMG 7906

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