Finding your signature cocktail may be equivalent to finding your stride and for the last month mine has been off. I have moved to a new city and left a project and a mindset behind. Perhaps it is the sluggishness of summer or my own letting go that has halted me on the updating of Mission Fruition. Don’t worry folks, I have been having foodgasms left and right around this fine city but I have been lacking on the discipline of sitting down and writing about them…I also blame this on the tropical vacation I was on last week. Anyway, my new dining partner that has walked me through these food adventures is no other than The Dapper Diner. We share a mutual hatred of hugs, a love of fine food, and he impresses me every meal with his bow tie and food/cocktail knowledge. Our most recent fantastic foodie experience happened at Prospect. I would say that it’s the long-awaited new restaurant of the Boulevard restaurant team, but the first time I heard about it was when I was asked to go with Double D (Dapper Diner). Beforehand, on a cocktail outing, we had discussed signature cocktails and while I agreed that I needed one I wasn’t sure which one to go with. I am a whiskey girl with a hankering for citrus, so perhaps a whiskey sour. The Dapper Diner took that up a few notches with a cocktail suggestion that I had never heard of: The Last Word. I would like to say that he suggested this because he knows of my love of words but alas I think it is the character flaw known as stubbornness. Regardless I was intrigued and he told me it should be my cocktail but with rye substituted for the traditional gin base. A cocktail with a cool name, a special request, and prohibition era. Cherry-Cherry-Cherry we have a winner and I had a new signature cocktail. Here is the classic Last Word:
- 3/4 ounce gin
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 3/4 ounce green Chartreuse
- 3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
When I arrived at Prospect on a Friday night, DD had already cased the bar and assured me that Chartreuse was there and tonight was the night I would try out my special drink. The waiter was so very official and took notes on my special drink order and substitution. My cocktail arrived with no problem and it was love at first sip. Carina got her signature cocktail and got her proverbial groove back. The menu at this hip, modern, and packed restaurant was exciting and I wanted to order it all. My ever shrinking wallet decided that we should limit ourselves to three appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts. That may not seem like cutting back but DD and I have hit the town harder ordering entire menus, and then there was the dinner at Frances (coming soon to Mission Fruition). With “restraint” we began the meal with Buffalo Carpaccio, Yellowtail Crudo, and Black Cod.
All of our appetizers came from a series of suggestions. The buffalo carpaccio was something of my own suggestion. I had the most amazing venison carpaccio once that was such a brilliant red that I checked with the waiter that this meat was also as red as can be. The waiter assured us that it was stop light red. I don’t know what color has to do with anything, but for me on this night it was of the utmost importance. The carpaccio was served with fried oysters, aioli, and basil. The carpaccio was perfect “melt in your mouth” meat and the oysters added this delicious salty and smoky quality.
The Yellowtail Crudo was another melt in your mouth dish. The dish ordering recommendation came to the DD from a well-known SF chef’s wife. Clearly that woman knows how to marry and how to order. The dish was phenomenal. White miso, pickled cucumbers, and more topped the thin piece of yellowtail and a perfectly salted seaweed cracker accompanied it.
The appetizer that was the real show stopper was the Black Cod, which was served in a curry sauce with a shiso shrimp fritter and shitakes. The flavors were all perfectly layered and I kept wanting more and more to have the lingering taste of lemon grass. A big thanks to Kels Eats for declaring to us on Twitter that this is a must have dish. It truly was.
The appetizers were all so appealing that I wasn’t all that into any of the entrees. They didn’t look bad but let’s just say that it would be a shame to go to this restaurant and not indulge in at least a few of their appetizers. For the main course I finally decided on the Halibut and DD had the Pork Cheeks.
I was pleasantly surprised by my halibut, which was served with carrots, pistachios, cioppolinis, and basil butter. It was a nice light dish and the fish was so perfectly cooked and moist that it lead DD convinced that they sous-vide it. It was another just perfectly balanced dish. I am always the first to complain that every dish is too salty, thankfully, this was not. The only strong salty component I got was from the pistachios, which added an unusual richness to the dish.
The pork cheeks with grains, fennel, kumquats, garlic and radishes may have been the richer counterpart to my light entree but it still was not that heavy. The fennel was the perfect touch and after seeing it grown wildly all over my neighborhood I have been waiting to see it pop in dishes. After all, everything about San Francisco points to local. The two entrees may not have been quite as imaginative as the appetizers but they were both solid dishes that showcased the quality of ingredients beautifully.
For dessert we had the Caramel Popcorn and the Peach Pie with Muscovado ice cream and brown butter crumble bourbon. The popcorn was a gourmet fiddle faddle of sorts with Cacao Nibs and Salt. The dessert was fine but more of a snack when you can’t quite indulge in a real dessert. I indulged and the peach pie was delicious. Fresh peaches, good pastry, and the perfect end to a delightful meal.
I can’t say that Prospect was totally my kind of restaurant. It didn’t have the character or neighborhoody feel that say somewhere like Frances had but everything about the meal completely hit and exceeded the mark. Service was on point, all of the dishes were delicious, and I got served my first new signature cocktail. I have yet to go to Boulevard but it is clear to me that these people know exactly what they are doing. They know how to create the dining experience for all of your senses and I am sure it doesn’t hurt to be that close to the Ferry Building. I have zero complaints. Anticipation met and exceeded expectation. My last word on Prospect is “Mission: Fruition.” Okay, I know that is two words but I have to start branding.
Prospect 300 Spear St
(between Folsom St & Harrison St)
San Francisco, CA 94105