The Square – North Beach, San Francisco

Time: Saturday. August 16, 2014. 8:00 PM. Reservation.
Address: 1707 Powell St
Website: thesquaresf.com
Cuisine:  American (new)
Party Size:  3 (M&V&B)
Order:  1 side, 1 salad, 1 appetizer, 3 entrees, 1 bottle of wine, 1 corkage (waived)
Cost: $177 [$163 food & drink; $14 tax]
Verdict:  Sons & Daughters have a nice new member in the family.

The Square is a recently opened spot from the team that brought the critically acclaimed Sons & Daughters (the place that could be restaurant zero from which my love of food has spread).  They bill The Square as having the same focus on local, fresh ingredients while being slightly more accessible.

The Square, filling in the old Bottle Cap location, derives its name from the local park, Washington Square and the logo is well designed as it incorporates Columbus Ave that transects the park.  It is also a convenient walk from La Trappe, a great Belgian beer bar worth stopping at beforehand.

square_sign

The Square has a casual feel from the first step in the door and onto its black floors.  On the left are a few high top tables with a chalkboard on the wall detailing the story of their farm, the fresh picked ingredients, and some drink specials.  The bar is further back on the left with two long tables that were claimed by large groups.  The rest of the interior has an open feel with 20 tables, if I had to guess, that were at 75% capacity.

square_harvest

We brought a bottle of wine, subject to their corkage fee of $25.  The waiter also offered still or sparkling water and made it clear that both were complimentary, something I appreciated.

Warm Olives marinated in orange zest and chili flakes

square_olives

The olive bowl had a wide variety of olives, all of which were meaty, salty, and zesty.  The name is a little misleading, they were actually served (temperature) hot!

Beef Tartare with salt and vinegar chips

square_beef_tartare

It is no secret that I love beef tartare and this an “all-startare.”  The meat and egg mix was delicate and buttery while the chips were a fabulous delivery vessel; firm and crispy with a perfect salt and vinegar balance.

Bread

square_bread

The tear drop of butter was a nice, creamy touch.

Baby Kale salad with avocado, pepitas and roasted garlic

square_kale_salad

The kale salad was a roller coaster of flavors.  One moment the kale is refreshing, next a burnt seed flavor takes over, the cheese had goat edge to it, and any minute a blast of pepper arrived on the scene.  A really fun dish to eat.

Squash with chillies

Pappardelle Pasta with wild mushroom, truffled egg and poblano cream

square_pasta

The pasta had nice noodle flavor and the dish overall had a mild taste (for the one bite I was able to wrestle away).  M was of the opinion that it could use a touch more sauce.

Bavette with porcini tots, creamed spinach and caramelized shallots

square_steak

Bavette is a form of flank steak that has tender, juicy flavor with a noticeable level of stringy fat.  The porcini tots were decadent.

Crispy Chicken Thigh with potato puree and little gem lettuce

square_chicken2square_chickenOf all of the diner courses, this is the one that  I ate the most of because it was placed in front of me.  The chicken was crispy and moist.  Swabbing it in some of the potato and chili pepper was my preferred method of eating.  The grilled greens were a perfect side.

2010 Syrah: Silene from J.L Chave

square_wine

We ordered a bottle of wine because it waived the corkage fee.  We ordered this particular bottle because French syrah from the Crozes-Hermitage region is my current wine boom.

The Square is a nice alternative to Sons & Daughters for those looking to experience what that team is about without shelling the $100/person for the tasting menu.  The Square serves comfort food, done well with quality.  It is a well served market in San Francisco but one that The Square should have no problem sliding into.

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