Monday, November 14, 2016


IMG 2567
San Francisco, November 13, 2016—
FOR QUITE A WHILE, I told the Contessa as we drove down to the city, I've been thinking fondly of Sweden. Constant reader will remember a number of reports on this site just a year ago, from restaurants we'd been visiting in Stockholm. So when a couple of friends asked for ideas of a place to meet for dinner my thoughts turned to this Scandinavian place I'd heard of, several years ago now, but had never visited.

We got there a little early, after a brutal two-hour-plus drive in standstill traffic, and I calmed myself with a delicious little akvavit. Then, after our friends arrived armed, as always, with a bottle of red wine, we turned to the menu.

The menu offered plenty of attractive items; it was unusually difficult to choose, but I came to a quick decision: smoked fish croquettes with horseradish cream and trout roe; then grilled elk saddle with cipollini, lingonberries, and juniper berry sauce, with broccolini on the side. I have rarely tasted such succulent roast meat: soft, buttery, but rich and deep. The horseradish and cress set it off perfectly, countering the sweet fruit of the lingonberries. This was an elegantly conceived dish and a beautifully executed one.

Dessert: apple quince "pie" with lavender granola crust and bay-leaf ice cream. I set the word pie in quotes; this seemed to me more a crumble cake than a pie. The texture was rich and chewy; the flavors again deep and lasting; the ice cream very well made. I would and will return. IMG 5328

Akvavit, Linie (Norway), 41.5%; Barolo, Vigna dei Dardi, 2001: also deep and rich but elegant, at the peak of maturity, a perfect complement to the elk (Thanks, John)
•Pläj Restaurant, 333 Fulton Street, San Francisco; (415) 294-8925

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating: 2016
(2015 restaurants)

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