bluestem brasserie

When Bluestem Brasserie opened on Yerba Buena Lane in San Francisco some years back, I was so excited – both for the menu it advertised and it’s location next to the mall and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  I dined there during the first few months it opened and remember not being that impressed.  The food was clean and well made but not very interesting or creative.

Later on, I read this article by Michael Bauer, food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Since it pretty much confirmed what I had thought when I went, I didn’t feel the need to go again.

Some time ago, I heard that Jeffrey Baker of Banker and Baker (a respected San Francisco establishment that I never had a chance to dine at) was brought over to Bluestem to spruce things up.  After reading about that, I decided that going back would be an option but wanted to give it some time first.  Then I read this article:

Chef shuffle at Bluestem Brasserie

Baker was leaving!  So, I went back to Bluestem last weekend for dinner.

My friend got their seared black cod with brandade (emulsion of cod and olive oil), manilla clams, and tomato-fennel broth with a shaved fennel-citrus salad.

image  The broth was so beautiful – flavorful and bright.  The cod and clams were perfectly cooked and tender.

I got the seared duck with green farro and brussel sprout hash, duck confit, spiced butternut squash puree, dried cherry-port sauce:

image   The balance of this dish was beautiful – all the textures and flavors really worked well together.  Yummy.

While I have seen (and eaten) these dishes at restaurants before, these were done really well.  Not so creative but well done.

To finish our meal, we shared a “Snap, Crackle, Pot de creme”:

image  Who doesn’t love a reference to one of our favorite cereals of childhood?  Made with milk chocolate custard over a almond macaroon at the base of the pot, there are shavings of candied kumquats at the top with whipped cream.  This was delicious.  There is a generous helping of their “rice crispies” brittle on the side and broken brittle in the pot, adding a salty note and crisp to each bite.  Probably one of my favorite desserts in a while.

A solid meal for sure.

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