Sunday, February 23, 2014

1601 Kitchen & Bar

sooo you're looking for a nice place to take someone to dinner but are tired of all of the 'californian' cuisine that has taken over San Francisco? need something a little different? how about Sri Lankan? now thaaat's different, right? but i can't actually promise that you'll feel it's strayed away from the whole 'californian' thing too much. they still present dishes with that certain type of plating of which i just can't pinpoint what exaaaaactly makes it look 'californian,' but it's there. and also, to my knowledge they use pretty local and fresh ingredients with the farm to table concept. still, how many times can you say you've had Sri Lankan? i know i've never had it prior to the other day. i made reservations without really looking into the restaurant very much aside from the high rating they have on yelp. when i realized it was Sri Lankan i was unsure about how i'd receive it because i feel like embarking in a Sri Lankan meal requires a certain mood. the spices are bold and the flavors distinct so you almost have to be prepared for it. i'm happy to report that i was oh so very pleasantly surprised with my experience. the food was delicious and the spices weren't too overpowering. the ambiance was nice and the service was well paced (though they did come to refill our water a few too many times. like, it's cool if my glass is only 3/4 full, guys.). definitely find your way there if you're looking for something a little more unique! 

poached octopus with iced tomato chutney and amaranth 
yum! they prepared the octopus just right with just enough bite and no excessive chew. this was served extra cold with the tomato granita. refreshing and tasty.

halibut "ceviche". coconut milk and serrano chilies.
this seemed like it was salt cured. matched with the cool creamy coconut milk and heat from the serrano chilies, this was a well balanced dish. i loooooved this! 

egg hopper, Jidori egg. sambols.
this was suuuper different! it's like a crisp crepe with an egg baked (medium) inside. you mix up the sambols (carmelized onion, coconut and red chili flakes) to place on top. we cut it into three servings and sort of folded it over to make quesadilla triangles. there was something homey about this dish but also very unique and different. a definite must for something new!

lamb and pork meatballs. Sri Lankan cinnamon, cilantro-almond relish and Straus yogurt
holy yum these were good! there was just enough gamy lambness so that you knew it was a significant component to the dish but it wasn't overpowering. the almonds added another dimension to the dish with some very welcomed texture. 

sturgeon. black curry. crispy maitake mushroom. red basmati rice
cooked well and pretty tasty. this dish sort of had the least amount of "pow" but provided for a nice change in pace with all of the heavily spiced dishes. 

bavette steak with coriander and roasted shallots
a simply well cooked, flavorful steak dish. 

chocolate custard with toasted curry and coconut lace cookie
decadent and smooth. you can only really have a couple of bites. the lace cookie was a bit too crystallized for my liking but it provided for a nice end to the meal. 

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