Acquerello – Nob Hill, San Francisco

Acquerello

1722 Sacramento Street
acquerello.com

With the recent the gastronomy boom in San Francisco it is easy to overlook some of the stalwarts that have been paving the way over the last couple of decades.  At the center of these classic institutions is Acquerello – the Michelin two star Italian juggernaut  that is worthy of every accolade received. Acquerello was, in short, one of the best meals we have eaten…ever.

Acqurello has two dinner options.  A prix fixe menu with the choice of three, four, or five courses at various price points or the seasonal tasting menu –  a ten-ish course journey that visits vegetables, pastas, meats, and dessert. The wine list is extensive as well, earning the Wine Spectator grand award, with a heavy focus on Italian varietals.  The decanter selection on display was equally as impressive.

The table is initially set with a lovely plate. We were also offered our choice in napkin color, in case coordinating it with our clothing was a point of concern.

Acquerello Plate

For dinner, we ordered the seasonal tasting menu which had nine on menu plus a few extras.

Amuse Bouche and Small Bites

A few off menu snacks to get the night started.

Acquerello_02_Juice

The first palate cleanser was an orange juice and sweet vermouth beverage.  Crisp and refreshing.

Acquerello_03_Calamari

Next off was a spoon served calamari that was stuffed with scallop and shrimp.

Acquerello_04_Puff

Which was followed by a delicate pastry that was filled with a melted cheese.

Parmesan Budino with Truffle Perlage

Acquerello 05a Budino

Acquerello 05b Budino

Fluffy with a hint of cheese and truffle.  The caviar ring was an aesthetically delicious touch.

Truffle Leek Torta

with seasonal mushrooms, walnut, sunchokes, and vegetable glaze

Acquerello_06a_TortaAcquerello_06b_Torta

A four or five bite sized tower of in-season vegetables and mushrooms, topped with the glaze table side.

Seared Scallop

with Perigord truffles, potato, and Ostera caviar

Acquerello Scallop

The scallops were cooked to a soft and chewy level and were not overly oceanic in flavor.

Off-menu Course

Acquerello_08a_Lobster

Acquerello_08b_Lobster

A thinly sliced white fish with some lobster inside.

Cocoa Caramelle with Duck Confit

black trumpet mushrooms, butternut squash

Acquerello_09_DuckConfit

Poor picture, solid dish.  A hearty transition from the lighter vegetable courses into the pasta phase.

Ridged Pasta with Foie Gras, Black Truffle, Marsala

Acquerello_10a_PastaFoie

Acquerello_10b_PastaFoie

Acquerello_10c_PastaFoie

This was one of the best dishes I have ever consumed.  The pasta was firm, the sauce was layered throughout, and all the flavors were in perfect harmony.  A real eye-closer/knee-buckler of a dish.

Veal Loin and Braised Cheeks

shitake mushroom, cipolline onion, prosciutto, and veal jus

Acquerello_11a_Veal

Acquerello_11b_Veal

The veal was the main course of the evening and was a nice treat for me, considering I don’t have a history of ordering veal.  The server did note that it could be substituted.

‘Ol Sciur’ – Cheese Course

berries, candied radicchio, Manuka honey, toasted pinenuts

Acquerello_12_Cheese

A blue goat cheese loaded with berries that was a little disappointing. I wish I could have gotten a crack at the cheese cart which is an option on the prix fixe menu.

Burro e Marmellata

Acquerello_13_Burro

Fruit and gelato, a nice recovery from the cheese.  The plating here was pleasing.

Chocolate Trunk

candied orange Chantilly, pistachio, and hazelnut

Acquerello_14_Chocolate

This tasted like an Italian dessert.  The orange and chocolate pairing, the spongey nut cakes.

Dessert Cart

Acquerello_15a_Cart

Acquerello_15b_Cart

At the end of the meal, they send over the famed dessert cart which carries a selection of chocolates and and other small, sweet bites.  At this point, we were stuffed but managed to still sample some of the wares for research purposes.

At the end of the meal, we reflected that Acquerello lived up to and proceeded to crush our expectations. This was a fantastic meal that was worth the price of admission.

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