(Continued from this earlier installment)
Bar Crudo is a tiny jewelbox of place, with of a raw bar on the ground floor with a narrow counter, and an attic-like upstairs dining room. It looks like one of those European buildings from the time when people paid taxes according to the width of their houses. The decor is modern and fanciful, with zinc topped tables, and an artistic installation of lights designed to look like jellyfish dangling at the end of the room above the staircase.
Crudo roughly translates to the Italian version of sushi, and at Bar Crudo, the thinly sliced raw fish are composed with inventive accompaniments to compliment the flavors. In addition to the raw bar items, there are a number of salads and hot dishes on the menu - including their made to order seafood chowder, and a whole grilled fish.
We tried nearly every raw dish and shared everything. As you might expect, some of the combinations were more successful than others, and some of us liked them more than the others did. The Arctic Char with creme fraiche and dill was universally adored - it was melt in your mouth buttery and sweet. (It was recommended to me by at least two respectable foodies when I told them we were dining there.) The selections change frequently, but many of their flavor combinations are consistent - we liked the accompaniment of sprouts, daikon and citrus with the hamachi - but I was less impressed with the lobster oil and pineapple vinaigrette that came with the tombo. If I were to go back, I frankly might not order the raw fish at all - I was so thoroughly captivated by the heirloom tomato salad with lobster and burrata and the sublime house-made chowder that it would be difficult for me not to order both.
The lobster salad, pictured above - was a inventive but thoroughly appropriate combination of large wedges of heirloom tomato, fresh arugula, basil - mild, creamy burrata and chilled poached lobster. The only off note in the whole thing was that the peas on the plate were completely raw. While I believe that most vegetables do taste better uncooked - peas are not in that category. They were hard and starchy, and would have been far better blanched.
The chowder is a bacon-accented bisque, loaded with fresh seafood. Each bowl is made to order, ensuring that nobody winds up with the overcooked rubbery stuff at the bottom of the bucket. It's extremely rich and a large serving - two could easily share it.
We had a great time at dinner - I really enjoyed introducing Sam to Tracy and Tommy and they loved her as well of course!
(Next up, day two - lunch at Pizzeria Delfina and Bi Rite Creamery with Joy, the De Young Museum and Boulevard!)