Cortez Restaurant: A Wonderful Close To a Week of West Coast Eating

Next time you’re in San Francisco, forego the easy, obvious and egregiously overpriced restaurants of Union Square. Walk a few blocks the wrong way to Cortez Restaurant , and you’ll be rewarded with higher quality, much lower prices and enough love to make you think it’s 1967 without the patchouli.

1) Stellar Service: Affable, attractive and knowledgeable front of house. Fire alarms went off a few times at start of evening, so desserts were comped, and, at server’s suggestion, we “didn’t skimp.” Pacing was fabulous and intuitive, turning five small plates into a three course meal. Never felt rushed, never felt sluggish.

2) Top Dog Desserts: Pastry chef Nick Torres is heading for the big time. These were some of the most memorable selections I’ve enjoyed in a long time. All the beautiful plating of Michael Mina, but way more flavor. These were sweets to savor with the eye then lick and lap from the plate. In less polite company, I might have considered a repeat.

3) Fabulous Foie:Canadian foie from Champs Elysees Farms was served cold with fleur de sel and grilled bread and warm as a sweet dessert like mousse. Would have redeemed a bad meal. Here it only confirmed a great one. Order it soon before foie gras goes the way of the after-dinner cigar and between meal trans-fat taste treat.

4) Half-bottles and other small serving delights: A Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, a Quinta do Crasto Tinta Rouriz and a glass of tawny port complemented all the generous small plates and left me tipsily within budget and sobriety limits for a luggage heavy redeye flight later that night. No fat sweats, just a tiny hicky of a hangover the next day.

5) Farmers Market Fun: Heirloom carrots usually look better than they taste; here the colors almost caught up to the flavors thanks to a delightful crème fraiche accompaniment. Rucola and a variety of other market fresh lettuces helped stave off the crise de foie that I’d been dodging all week.


2 Responses to “Cortez Restaurant: A Wonderful Close To a Week of West Coast Eating”

  1. NYC Food Fiend Says:

    Seriously hot servers!

  2. Oyster Addict Says:

    Try their bar popcorn next time.

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