Food, Drinks, Movies, Travel, Attraction and Book Reviews

Verbena (Eat/Drink)

Verbena

Rating: Decent
Where: Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA (2323 Polk Street)

Review: New American Californian cuisine restaurant that is just open a couple days ago.

This is on par with similar spaces/style such as the recent openings Stones Throw and 1760, or popular Frances. Nowadays in San Francisco scene, there’s a trend of using herbs and spices in the cocktails for the purpose of pairing food (in addition to be a good shock factor.)Verbena

Leviathan cocktail (squid ink with gin, blood orange liqueur, anisette and bitters) was a great drink with good flavors and on the non-sweet side. It paired well with their meat dishes (if you had not finished the drink by the time the entree showed up with their extremely slow service, that is.) Verbena fog cutter (vodka with falernum, stregga, lemon and sparkling wine), on the other hand, was a refreshing pre-dinner drink, light and sweet.

4 sections of food (4 sections of prices.) The price reflects on the ingredients, not the portion. The third and forth sections are in similar potions.

Chicories with pumpkin seed milk (with Asian pear and persimmon) was a decent palette cleanser salad. The taste was clean and crisp. The milk part was really more like a salad dressing.

The duck meatballs with black mole, collards, hominy and whey was okay. Not a big fan of black beans despite the nutritional value and the sauce was a bit heavy and surprisingly overwhelmed the strong duck. Fortunately the duck meatballs were properly seasoned to balance out.

The Koji quail with grains from Sonoma, hedgehog mushroom and pumpkin juice was fairly good with the bird tender and juicy but the skin totally crisp. The 2 birds were seasoned well (not salty) and sat on a good bed of farro rice. Could not taste much of the mushroom but the chopped celery was a nice touch. The side pumpkin pieces were good fresh.

Service was courteous but it was just really slow after the appetizer. The entree wait time was about 30mins, if not longer. Thus the dinner took 2 hours. But overall the server and the front girls were nice. They have an upstairs (attic style) so this place has a fairly high ceiling, making it more airy and less congested.

They keep about half of the tables for reservations and the other half for walk-ins. Excellent way to attract locals. A full deep wide bar area that serves dinner and comfy chairs. Obviously the tables are way better if you want to chat with your friends without twisting your back while you are eating.

Keywords: russianhill, sanfrancisco, decent, dinner

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