I’m going to try to keep this brief, but thought I’d write it up because I have the world’s worst memory about these types of things.
Had dinner last night with my trusted food compadre, Manish, at Alta Ca restaurant here in San Francisco. Alta Ca is a relatively newish restaurant that was opened up in the odd (but growing) mid-Market twitter area. It was started by Daniel Patterson (Coi, Plum, Haven) who took home the Best Chef in the West at the James Beard awards as we were dining.
We had no trouble getting a reservation on Open Table for 6.30pm on a Monday night. There were lots of slots, but I like to eat early these days so I can sleep.
The space is modern, casual and cozy. Lots of dark woods and a nice bar is the centerpiece of the room. There are floor to ceiling shelves covered in bottles that we were sat next to which look through onto the kitchen.
I arrived a little bit early and got started on a Cherry Jubilee which was served up in a julep cup. Delicious and refreshing. Kind of like a Cherry Slurpee with alcohol. I was dying for the beef tendons which are essentially chicharonnes. They came out in a flash and were actually crackling when they were set down. I ate the entire serving alone before Manish arrived. Then I ordered up the dill pickled deviled eggs. They were just OK. Served a little too chilled and I’m not terribly into the pickled part. I prefer my mom’s classic deviled eggs over these new fangled ones.
Manish finally arrived and we ordered another serving of the beef tendons. For dinner we went sharing style and ordered the Andante fresh buffalo milk cheese on toast with leeks and sherry. This was again good, but nothing terribly special.
Then we opted for the pierogi stuffed with peas, celery root and potato. I actually quite enjoyed this dish. The fresh peas and the creaminess were delicious. Calling it a pierogi was kind of a stretch as I’d go ahead and deem it a ravioli, but whatever when you are trying to be all fancy and shit.
The one thing that we both agree to try was the smoked pork trotter with a slow egg, brussel sprouts and mustard. Sadly, this actually turned out to the be the biggest disappointment. It was doused in vinegar that completely overpowered any other flavor on the plate. I barely touched it. Sad.
For dessert they have a bunch of ice cream so we went for two different flavors. I went again for the cherry option. This one might have been named the cherry jubilee now that I think of it. Mine had dried cherries with a hard-shelled chocolate. I enjoyed this one, but I wish that they had a more extensive dessert list. The only other option are 3 warm chocolate chip cookies. I’d also like to point out that from the menu it is not clear that the options are ice cream or soft serve. They have the descriptions all sans mention of ice cream which was sort of weird.
Overall: The service was excellent. The prices were ok. The space is cute and cozy. The food was just meh which was disappointing because the menu seems so promising. I’d go back again for the beef tendons and cocktails for sure. There are still a few things on the menu that I’m interested in trying and given the reputation of the group I’d give them another chance.
Another notable thing is they stay open until 2am where it is basically impossible to get food that late in SF. I would probably enjoy the food a million times more if I were drunk… just sayin’.
1420 MARKET ST
MON-FRI 11AM–2 AM
SAT-SUN 5 PM–2 AM