Sherman's Food Adventures: Absinthe


After a day of endless eats, you might be wondering why I was at Absinthe at 10:00pm. I wasn't particularly hungry. In fact, I was dead tired from being up since 5:00am. Was it because Jamie Lauren, from Top Chef fame, is the executive chef? No, not particularly, even though I do have a love for scallops. In reality, it's a restaurant that is highly spoken of and I just wanted to try it. My cousin Sal was picking me up and we were going to head over there together. However, it was a bit mind-boggling that she really wasn't sure where we were going. Watching Sal navigate the streets of San Francisco was akin to watching someone trying to escape from a corn maze in total darkness. Eventually, we finally made it albeit a little late; but the staff were pleasant and understanding.

If you were looking for a quiet place to eat, then you'd better move on. Don't get me wrong, the place does have class; but it's a bit noisy. That didn't really bother me all that much, so it was a non-issue. Sal decided to order 2 items which were the Chestnut & Mushroom Soup and the Poached Quince. The soup was actually not too heavy and exhibited strong mushroom flavour. Definitely earthy and creamy, this soup was a winner. The quince was accompanied by escarole, cinnamon toast croutons, goat cheese and pear vinaigrette. The salad and quince were nice; but the croutons were much too heavy. It was like eating cinnamon cake. The pear vinaigrette was gentle and aromatic.

Alright, guess what I ordered? If you can recall, there was one dish that Jamie consistently made on Top Chef. Yes, it was scallops. The judges even went as far to declare that it wasn't "Top Scallop". You know then I had to order the Pan Seared Scallops. Hey, if that's in her comfort zone, I'm all over it! The perfectly seared scallops were accompanied by bacon (yum!), wild mushrooms, braising greens, caramelized onions and black truffle oil. These babies were tender, sweet and cooked just past the point of raw. The mushrooms and truffle oil gave a nice earthiness while the bacon just did what bacon does best.

I wasn't really all that hungry and the scallops did the trick. Moreover, Sal is not a particularly big eater; thus between the 2 of us, we really didn't order a whole lot. We didn't even order drinks! Yet, the service was still friendly and prompt. I personally liked the ambiance, it was bustling and lively. Absinthe is definitely a hot spot for eats any time of the day - even good for 2nd dinner late into the night.

The Good:
- The dishes we tried were executed well
- Lively atmosphere
- Good service

The Bad:
- If you wanted quiet, then it's not for you
- Seating is a bit tight

Absinthe on Urbanspoon


Chris said...

I'm with you on the simplicity of scallops, and those look yummy. You ordered the perfect dish for a man who had been eating all day.

Anonymous said...

LOL! So Jamie DOES make pretty good scallops. TOP scallops! >.<

Sherman Chan said...

Chris, I don't think I could've eaten red meat, so you are right...

Jamie does make good scallops!!! Hehe...

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