Baker & Banker – San Francisco, CA

I thought the name was a tad peculiar until I read up their introduction on the homepage – Baker & Banker are the last names of the husband-wife owners who opened this restaurant back in 2009. They serve what they call “Farm to Table New American Cuisine”. I had to look up on Wikipedia what New American cuisine actually is: a term for upscale contemporary cuisine that features in season produce.

Baker & Banker’s fan base has been growing steadying in the past year and gain recognition by the local press and foodie community.

The restaurant is not very big and gets really loud as the evening wears on. I have to admit, we definitely contributed to the noise level – I don’t know if we were just loud because of the 2 bottles of wine OR to compensate for how loud the restaurant was.

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Menu is short one pager – with a prix fixe option and ala carte.

We ordered:

Coriander crusted Ahi Tuna $15

w Tempura avocado, Sriracha aioli & Yuzu vinaigrette

I was quite confused by this dish. The ahi tuna was great – seasoned, seared well and tasted really fresh. The avocado tempura was a surprise – crispy without being greasy with amazing creamy avocado. That is where the pluses end and it gets strange. The pickled carrots and daikon along with the Aioli and vinaigrette was a whole mix of different flavours that were not good together. Independently everything tasted fine, but if if I made the perfect bite with a bit of everything together – it was weird.

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Rabbit and Foie Gras Sausage $16

w Warm lentil & Radichio Salad, Pickled Ramps & Black truffle vinaigrette

As bea

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House smoked Trout $14

w Potato latke, Horseradish cream, Pickled beets & Shaved fennel

The trout is smoked in house and tossed w Horseradish cream. It was creamy, rich and smoky with a nice edge – seasoned really well and paired nicely with crispy fried potato latke. Latke made with shredded potato that is mixed with egg & flour and fried till crispy into a nice pancake. I liked the shaved fennel that added a fresh and textural element to the dish. I didn’t care much about the pickled beets but that is because I have never been a fan of beets. It was sweet and tangy, which did give the dish a much needed acidity to cut the richness.

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4 orders Soy & Mirin braised Black Cod $29.50

w Foie Gras Shiitake sticky rice & Grilled Bok Choy

This dish as amazing as it looks and sounds. The Cod was cooked beautifully – it was moist, flaked off easily and very delicate. I didn’t care much for the skin that became quite gelatinous but that is just me nitpicking. The sticky rice was cooked with chunks of shiitake mushroom and foie gras – it was rich and heavenly and went really well with the sweet salty sauce that the fish was braised and served in. Best dish of the night!!

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Glazed Sonoma Lamb Shoulder $28

w Pan fried Gnocchi, Roasted root vegetables & Natural jus

Another hit! The lamb shoulder was tender and had just the right amount of melt in your mouth fat. It was rich and sitting in the umami packed jus that was seasoned well. The root vegetables were roasted nicely and added a nice sweetness to the primarily salty dish. I didn’t care much for the greasy sweet potato chips on top. The gnocchi was not bad – seared nicely to give it a crispy crust but a tad gummy in the centre.

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Liberty Farm Duck Breast $27

w Brussel sprouts & Sweet potato hash, Caramelized apples, Toasted pecans & Whole grain mustard sauce

Duck was seasoned well and cooked to a nice medium ( alittle more towards medium rare). It was tender and moist with the skin left on. The only issue I had with the dish was that the skin was really fatty without the fat rendered off and quite soggy. The sauce was good and went well with the meat while the caramelized apples added a nice sweetness to the dish. I didn’t care much for the oily brussel sprouts & sweet potato hash.

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Extras:

2 bottles Franz Karl Schmitt Riesling, Germany @ $40 each – Pretty good riesling. Not as good at the Dr. Loosen that they also offer but a good second for $14 cheaper.
6 Cake Cutting fee @$3.50 each
Coffee

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Total Damage: $418 (including tax & tip); ~$70 each

Personal Rating: 3.25 out of 5 (Pretty darn good)

The appetisers were quite disappointing BUT entrees were excellent. I find the flavours of all the appetisers to be very muddled – it was trying too many different flavours and they come off confused. The entrees ha cleaner and simpler flavours that work really well together.  Actually the Miso Cod & Foie Gras Sticky rice is one of the best things I have tasted all year! I would go back just for that one dish.

Service was OK, not top notch but still good. We got seated fairly shortly after arriving, we were a very indecisive bunch and our server was quite patient. Her recommendation for the Riesling was great. The kitchen (or so our server said) did have a little fumble, by serving us one too many Cod dishes and the duck dish took quite some time to get to us.

We brought a cake for dessert and it got cut and plated nicely at $3.50, which I did not mind BUT when I asked for a second slice -it was another $2.50 charge instead of just including that in the initial $3.50! Not impressed.

I definitely have to make a trip back to try their desserts, which is always highly praised but we didn’t get to try.

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Baker & Banker

1701 Octavia Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

(415) 351 2500

Baker & Banker on Urbanspoon

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