Range - Valencia - Mission - San Francisco - CA
Range, 842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 282 8283
|Emphasis on Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients, Reasonable Prices, Modern, Stylish Space.||< Upsides||Noisier than noisy. Don't come here for a quiet, romantic dinner.|
Sleek, modern space where you scream for your supper
The restaurant is divided into three sections. The front room, with the bar and and a few tall tables where walk-ins can eat is joined to the back dining room by a long corridor which houses a single row of dining tables. Although brighter and less cosy in atmosphere, the corridor might be the best place to eat, because once you move in to the back dining room the noise is almost unbearable. The main, rear dining room is simply but stylishly furnished with a couple of tables in the middle, where we were seated, banquettes to the right and the rear, plus a couple of 4-seater prime position booths to the left.
Our waitress was friendly, smart and helpful, and explained, when asked, that all ingredients, apart from the halibut, were local. (A quick browse of the menu suggests her statement was not entirely correct because non-local items such as hawaiian salt, coffee, pecorino and balsalmic are also in evidence.) I would have liked to converse with her a little further about the food sources, but the ear-deafening din meant that barking our orders to her was about all we could do. The bread was ciabatta and I did find out that the butter came from Gilt Edge Creamery, a San Francisco Dairy that supplies restaurants, hotels, and food service operations with butter, milk, and a variety of cheeses.
Goat Cheese and sorrel stuffed pasta with lime butter and chives $10.00 was a rich but simple, perfectly balanced and utterly delcious starter that led to me further investigating recipes for this less well-known leafy, green, unique-tasting vegetable.
Romain hearts, radishes and fried capers with roasted garlic vinaigrette 8.00 sounded like a dish that would show off the best of the season's bounty. Indeed, the vegetables were crispy and fresh, but their personalities were completely cloaked by the over-generous dredging of strong, salty parmesan-like cheese that covered every surface. Disappointingly, nothing of the capers, radishes or roasted garlic shone through. The Pepper crusted seared venison with cherry tomatoes, pecorino and rosemary vinaigrette 12.00 was a succulent fan-shaped display of thick-cut rare-cooked meat. The subtle pepper crust added a good flavour but the pecorino, in the form of a couple of very strong, salty 'cheese crisps' clashed with the meat, overpowering its more delicate flavour. Had they not been on the plate, the dish might have been close to perfect. Fred was quite pleased with his pan roasted bavette steak with young leeks, spinach and yukon gold potatoes $19.00 but a friend from work who was dining at a different table on the same night remarked that she thought it was disappointing and tough. It was maybe a little thicker than you would normally expect a bavette to be which made it denser but, in Fred's case at least, still tender.
NEWSFLASH: Updated August 16th with some interesting words from the chef/owner of Range, Phil West
Between us we ordered a couple of desserts, all priced at $7 each. The Brillat Savarin souffle with strawberry salad and balsamic reduction was pounced on by my friend who isn't keen on sweet things. For her, the opportunity to eat a more savoury dessert was welcomed. I had to battle it out with the other sweet-tooth for the hazelnut butter creme caramel with toasted brioche and raspberry chambord preserves which had a haunting, unusual flavour that I found intriguing and moreish. Quite delcious, but the texture was a bit baby-foodish and I imagine it would not be to everyones' taste.
The bill worked out at about $65 per head before tip, but we did share two bottles of Pinot Noir between the four of us and indulge in a full round of after dinner drinks too. Overall, we had a fun time at Range. The food was mainly pretty good and the quality of the ingredients shone through, even where the combinations worked less well for us. But, oh, the noise, the deafening racket - it was almost enough to deter us form returning again anytime soon. It really was a problem... along with the girl seated at the table next to us who somehow seemed to think that vacantly chewing gum in a restaurant is quite acceptable behavior these days. Call me old fashioned, but I disagree.
PS. This review was a First Impression
Yesterday's eating local challenge went pretty well. We ate out in Marin, for lunch, at a place that features food from the local markets. More about that as soon as they answer my email queries about some of their ingredients. For dinner we shared a Marin Sun Farms New York steak which we cooked on the BBQ and then served with corn from G&S Farms in Brentwood, little gems from Star Route Farms in Marin and tomatoes from Balakian Farms in Reedley.
|Here are some other early reviews of Range Yelp - Chowhound - Citysearch|
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Range - Valencia - Mission - San Francisco - CA