Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rich Table - Rich in imagination and flavour

Sardine Chips
When I visited Rich Table last year, it was on a whim. No reservation, I just happened to be in the neighbourhood of Hayes Valley and thought I would check it out. I sat at the bar and ordered some items recommended to me by the bar tender, since I would never order something call sardine chips on my own. This year, I made a point of going back, this time I got to take both my humans, not just the female.

Chicken Liver Mousse with Black Mission
Figs on Warm Brioche
The sardine chips were literally a large, light, crispy potato chip, with a sardine threaded through it. Surprisingly enough, it was really enjoyable! The sardines were fried and acted as the salt for the potato chips. The creme fraiche dip that accompanied it was light, with a mild horseradish taste so it didn’t overwhelm the flavour of the sardines or the chips. We had them again this visit and I still loved them! We also ordered chicken liver mousse with black mission figs on warm brioche. I was afraid the chicken liver mousse would taste too strong, instead it was mildly salty, balanced by the sweetness of the figs. The mousse was airy, light and surprisingly smooth, while the brioche was toasted so that it broke off easily with each bite. The humans also inconsiderately enjoyed a feeb tartare with fried peanuts, mint, cilantro, and sansyo peppers in front of Moo. They said the acidity in the dish was not overwhelming, just enough to elevate the natural feeb flavour. I glared at them as they savoured every morsel of their feeb tartare.

Poached King Salmon, Flageolet, Roasted Corn
and Grilled Lettuce
Last year, I had a pork belly panzanella with charred strawberry vinaigrette was lightly dressed, and a generous amount of poor belly covering the entire bottle of the dish. This year, I opted to give seafood a shot and was glad I did! The scallops, summer squash, muskmelon, country ham and lemon-thyme were expertly cooked, plump and buttery with the perfect amount of acidity to make the dish feel light, and small, juicy melon chunks to make you salivate, yet satiated. Meanwhile the poached king salmon, flageolet, roasted corn and grilled lettuce was so incredibly tender that the salmon melted in my mouth, with little done to the dish, allowing the natural flavour of the salmon to shine.

Bittersweet Truffle Ganache with Almonds,
Marshmallow Fluff and Strawberries
For dessert last year, I had a beautifully light and delicate panna cotta, although the texture was softer than I was used to as it was served in a bowl topped with crumbled graham crackers, a surprisingly tasty combination. This year, I had a bittersweet chocolate ganache with almonds, marshmallow fluff and strawberries. The chocolate ganache was very rich and dense, but was the strawberries helped to cut through the richness and the almonds added much needed texture to this decadent dish. The ice box pie consisted of peaches, graham crackers and chantilly cream and was heaven! The combination of all three items in one bite was the perfect balance of fruity, lightly crispy peaches, smooth and creamy chantilly and big crunchy graham crackers.  

Ice Box Pie
Both visits, the service at Rich Table was quick, but not rushed. It seems every time I visit, I end up meeting two random gentlemen. Last year when I was sitting at the bar, I got to meet two British ex-pats dining there who chatted with me the entire meal and shared their food with me, which made the time fly by. This year, we met one man from San Francisco, who we managed to get some restaurant suggestions from, another from Boston who wanted to take me home with him to Boston, and recommended a Steak restaurant to the humans if they ever had a chance to travel to Boston - EEEEKKK!!!! (Moofaint!) named Moo to them if we ever had the opportunity to visit.

I would definitely recommend Rich Table for anyone looking for some casual fare that’s quick, delicious, unique and unpretentious.

More photos at PhotoBucket!

Rich Table
199 Gough St (at Oak St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
415- 355-9085
Twitter: @RichTable

Rich Table on Urbanspoon

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