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Bar Crudo

December 13, 2006

Bar Crudo is a small restaurant, located on top of the Stockton Tunnel, on the border between Nob Hill and Union Square. It occupies a narrow storefront on Bush Street. The first floor of the restaurant has enough space for a kitchen area and about 10 bar seats. Upon entering, one is almost immediately confronted by a staircase leading onto a second floor, which only contains a handful of tables. Bar Crudo only has seats for about 30 people, so reservations are recommended if one is dining a bit later in the evening. Bar Crudo concentrates exclusively on creative and delicious presentations of fresh seafood, but within this focus, the menu features a handsome and varied collection of shellfish, four exquisite choices of crudo (which are tastefully creative sashimi preparations), and a collection of cold and hot entrees. One of the choices for hot entrees is a popular seafood chowder, featuring applewood smoke bacon, which Short Exact has not yet had the opportunity to try. The menu also has a number of wines and beers, including a nice collection of Belgian beers.You may have heard about the recent unfortunate events that have deeply affected members of the Bar Crudo team. Due to the accident (described in the linked article from the San Francisco Chronicle), the restaurant closed for several days, but it has since reopened! The restaurant is still in a transition period, and so to show our support for what is really one of the Bay Area’s most unique eateries, Short Exact thought this would be the perfect opportunity to drop in. We would certainly recommend that you do the same, if you get a chance.

Of course, we began with the crudo sampler,

tb_barcrudo_crudo.JPG

which featured a tasty morsel of each of the four crudo offered on the menu. From left to right in the above picture, these were the crudo:

  • Scallops orange with mint, olive, and fennel
  • Arctic Char with creme fraiche, wasabi tobiko, and dill
  • Fluke with apple, ginger, chile oil, and jalapeno
  • Yellowfin tuna with soy, sriracha, and green onions

The yellowfin tuna on the far right featured a very fresh chunk of tuna, but flavor-wise, we found this crudo to be the most ho-hum of the four. The slight sweetness of apple and the spark of heat provided by chile oil and jalapeno were both very well-suited to the light, delicate fluke. Meanwhile, the fennel, dill, and tobiko enrichened the Arctic Char to create a deliciously unified flavor. The Arctic Char and the scallop crudo were our two favorites from the sampler, but all four were executed well. Notably, the balance was perfect in each sample; none of these preparations overwhelmed the fish that they were adorning; instead, they subtly complemented the fish, while still allowing the flavor and freshness of the fish to shine. Nota bene: a double portion of this crudo sampler can be ordered for two people; in addition, one can order a whole plate featuring just a single type of crudo. The sampler is a nice way to try to all of them first, and then you can specialize on subsequent visits.

For an entree, we ordered the San Sebastian,

tb_barcrudo_san_sebastian.JPG

one of the cold dishes; this entree featured a tuna confit, roasted red peppers, half of a soft-boiled egg, olives, asparagus, a slice of manchego cheese, and tomato bread. An interesting assortment of ingredients, but upon making our way through it, we discovered it to be a well-chosen set. The fun part is testing out different combinations of ingredients: for example, a bite of the rich tuna confit with olive oil, nutty manchego, and sweet roasted pepper turned out to be quite delicious.

One thing to keep in mind (and, we believe, appreciate) about Bar Crudo is a unity of focus: that is, serving creative and tasteful presentations of fresh fish. The menu is not particularly flexible for those diners who do not enjoy eating fish, and as it turns out, the dessert menu is not particularly broad or varied, either. One can choose between a cheese platter or a truffle spread. Although the slice of manchego cheese was a great addition to our San Sebastian entree, we ended up choosing the truffle spread,

tb_barcrudo_truffles.JPG

which was a satisfyingly sweet way to close the meal.

In light of the accident, now is certainly a very good time to show this small but valuable restaurant the support it really deserves. In any case, Bar Crudo rests on its own merits, as its service is courteous, and its food is fresh and delicious. Bar Crudo is a very unique restaurant in the Bay Area, and the obvious love and care the employees show towards their work carries right over onto the diner, to amplify and enhance the dining experience. As one of our favorite restaurant openings in San Francisco in 2006, Bar Crudo is definitely a recommended spot for fans of delicately and tastefully prepared seafood.

RATING:

COST:

603 Bush Street (at Stockton St.)
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 415.956.0396
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 6:00 – 10:30 pm; Fri-Sat, 6:00 – 11:00 pm. Closed Sundays.

Cuisine: Seafood
Neighborhood: Nob Hill

How to get there: In addition to being 1-2 blocks from the cable cars running on California and Powell streets, Bar Crudo is within five blocks of Muni lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 9X, 30, 38, 45, 76, F, J, K, L, M, N and T. The restaurant is five blocks from the Powell BART/Muni subway station.

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4 comments

  1. Great idea about ordering samplers. I “do” like to try as many items on the menu as I can, and I agree that the sampler is always the way to go. Also, I love the new header of the Bay Bridge and I never told you, but I absolutely adore that you provide us SF folks the travel itinerary on how to get there with the MUNI!


  2. Hey, PE! I’m glad you enjoy the Muni itinerary. I did that because in restaurant reviews, you often hear about the parking situation, but only rarely about the transit options. I was debating whether or not it was worth keeping for future reviews, so thanks for the comment!


  3. i’ve eaten at Bar Crudo a few times. for SF, it’s pretty good. however, their menu *never* changes. my very first review (from over 1 year ago) reads the same as yours:
    http://chuckeats.com/blog3/2005/10/10/bar-crudo-sf-fresh-fish-in-sf/

    i’ve been back 3-4x since and the menu is still the same.

    – chuck


  4. Chuck, this is a really good point, one which I should have mentioned, so thanks for posting it. Perhaps the smaller-scale operation poses some issues, but it would certainly be nice to see a larger selection of (even seasonally rotated) dishes.



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