01 January 2009

Oola in San Francisco

When I go to conferences, fancy restaurants are not high on my list. Conferences are usually in big cities (or at least bigger than Ann Arbor--which is not hard), which tend to have cheap food that is much better than I can get in Ann Arbor--and that is good enough for me! I am always open to a fancy restaurant though, if others are into it. So that's how I ended up at Oola.

A fancy grown-up (aka a professor) was planning and I was told that anywhere she picked would be expensive, but probably worth it. I think I can mostly go along with that.

First off, this is a fancy restaurant in an unfancy neighborhood. Five inch rats (plus the tail) running around in the street and all. Yikes. Being done with my job interviews and on my last night in town, I was not too bothered by dropping $10 on a fancy cocktail. It had gin in it and was reminiscent of a mojito. It was great!

We ended up crowded around a table slightly too small for our group and I don't think the staff made too big a stink about it, so props to them.

Again, I was sort of disappointed by the menu. I don't know... maybe I am just not into the gussied-up "simple" American food in so many restaurants these days? Anyway, I had the Chicken Grandmere... something... I remember the waitress said it meant "chicken like your grandma used to make it." Presentation was pretty cool--little potato balls on the bottom, the size of pearl onions, a bone-in piece of chicken on top, some delicious mushrooms (shiitakes maybe? If not, something with a similar firm texture) and madeira wine sauce filling it out. I was worried about eating bone-in chicken in a fancy restaurant (um, I suck at cutting food gracefully) but it was mostly okay. Just a bit of meat at the end that I gave up on.

My friend CC ordered the house-made pasta with house-made sausage. I think he was a little disappointed. The waitress was really sweet in explaining to us that the presentation was great, with the pasta coming out of the onion, but when it came, JR commented that it looked like the onion was throwing up.

For dessert, I had a bite of the grown-up in charge's lemon cheesecake. It was light and yummy, but overall... not that special. And I think that would be my overall summary: pretty good, but nothing really special.


At 2:12 PM , Blogger Julie said...

Ha ha, I'm not good at cutting up food in a graceful manner, either! And I love your friend's description of the onion looking like it was throwing up! :)


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