Bar Crudo. The first of many things we ate up in Northern California, but by far the one I have the most mixed feelings about. I found the place somewhere on a list of places to eat in SF and there tons of reviews raving about the chowder and the happy hour. Chowder and seafood were on my must-do list so I figured we could check them both off at the same time. Our reservations were initially at 7:30 but we got there early enough to get seated for happy hour pricing.
Half a Dozen Mussels. Half a Dozen Oysters. Oysters, mussels, and a couple other on-the-half-shell options were only $1 each for happy hour. So we got half a dozen of each. The mussels were marinated in herbs and jalapenos, which gave them an interesting kick. Not sure if I would get them again, but it was an interesting try. Oysters were on the small side, I felt, but standard in quality. Some of them are missing up in the photo because I dug straight in before thinking about pictures at all. That’s how hungry we were after the six hour drive.
Seafood Chowder. Oh, this was heavenly. Rich and creamy, but not too heavy. Plenty of seafood and the pops of bacon were so delicious. We got the smaller happy hour size but I honestly wish we had skipped the rest and just gotten a ton more chowder. We even thought about taking some to go. Yuuuuum.
Crudo Sampler for Two. This is where dinner took a turn for me. I did not like the crudo. It was pretty expensive too, but heck, the place was called Bar Crudo. We felt like we should at least sample it. Starting from the top left and going clockwise, here’s what was on the sampler.
Arctic Char Salmon with horseradish creme fraiche, wasabi tobiko and dill. Tobiko is flying fish roe. I felt like all the flavors were overwhelming and they didn’t fit together well. The tobiko was salty but with a bite from the horseradish. Then slight herbiness from the dill.
Scallops with celery root, kumquat and chervil. This was the best one for me. Flavors were subtle enough to taste the scallops and the kumquat was tangy and fresh. I love me some kumquat.
Tombo Tuna with citrus, chili, fennel, black tobiko. This was my least favorite. Textures were all over the place. A graininess from the small tobiko to strips of crunchy fennel. The chili and citrus sauce made the tuna a little too slimy. I couldn’t even finish my half of this one. Sorry Alan.
Butterfish with chorizo oil, fennel and orange. All the toppings on this? Yum. But that slice of butterfish was far from a bite size. The chorizo oil made it super slick and rich. Once you swallowed the oranges, there was nothing to offset the richness and it got to be too much.
In general, the flavors weren’t really crafted to the fish. I felt like the restaurant was trying to make something really trendy and artsy, but totally forgot that food is for eating. So thank you Bar Crudo for my cool instagram pic, but I’m skipping the crudo from now on. Maybe I’m just too used to sushi and its subtle approach to raw fish. Anyways, for our first dining out experience, I was a little disappointed. Should have just stuck to that chowder!