Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Myth - Pacific - Downtown San Francisco

Myth is located at 470 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133 415 677 8986
Visit the Myth website here
View Myth's location on a google's groovy new map site here

After reading this glowing review of new San Francisco restaurant Myth on Alder's Wine blog, I put it close to the top of my list of places to try.

We eventually got around to checking it out a couple of weeks ago, shortly after it received raves from San Francisco's Chronicle newspaper. It wasn't easy to get a reservation because of all the accolades. We settled for a 10pm on Saturday spot. As we tend to eat quite late every night, this wasn't a problem.

Both previous articles have done justice to the beautiful design so I won't dwell on it here. It really is quite something, very modern and very classy, warm and inviting. When we arrived I wasn't surprised that our table was not ready. We grabbed a drink at the bar before sitting at one of the lounge seats close to the entrance. I felt sorry for the two people next to us who had apparently elected to eat their dinner in this spot. Their little bar-stool table was about the size of a postage stamp and they were struggling to share an entree, perching the plates on their laps, couch-potato style, and totally at odds with the eloquence of the rest of the restaurant. Twenty minutes later, we were happy to be rescued from the spectacle of watching the poor couple's balancing act and the chilly drafts blowing in through the door. We were led to our intimate corner table near the back of the restaurant.

We shared an appetizer of foie gras mousse with pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Despite this detailed description of accompaniments, the menu entirely failed to mention the addition of truffle. The truffle's presence overpowered everything else on the plate. Despite the beautiful presentation and visual evidence of all the other ingredients, all we could taste was the darned truffle. I am not a fan of truffled foie gras, and had the menu been clearer I wouldn't have ordered it. It tasted good, of course, but it masked the foie gras too much and wasn't what I was expecting. I love truffles, I love duck liver, but preferably not together.

I was finding it difficult to make a final entree choice from all the tasty-sounding things on the menu so the waiter helped me out. He recommended the beef cheeks. Whilst he suffered my pondering, I mentioned I didn't like brussel sprouts, a component of the beef cheek dish. He offered to swap it for spinach and so my mind was made. I could barely detect the horseradish in the creamy bed of mashed potato, a more generous grating would have perked it up. I would have liked a little more than the fleeting appearance of tasty, tangy gremolata that was confined to just one mouthful-sized area on my meat, too. The beef cheeks themselves were perfect, soft, flavoursome and succulent.

The bearnaise sauce on Fred's steak was inedible. Something was clearly wrong. It tasted chemical and bore no resemblance whatsoever to bearnaise. Fairly embarrassed (but maybe not quite as embarrassed as the moment when I asked the sommelier if he agreed with me that our bottle of Crozes Hermitage smelt like a urinal) we sent the steak back. They returned quickly with a fresh plate of steak and fries minus the offending sauce. The staff were profusely apologetic. Several different people came to acknowledge the error, one of whom who made a point of mentioning that the chef had agreed with our prognosis. In case it's not your cup of tea, it should be noted that Myth's steak has an over-powering smoke flavour from their use of a wood-burning oven. The meat was juicy and cooked exactly to order. Fries got good reviews from Fred too.

When it came to time for afters, we were informed that they were out of a couple of desserts (notably the chocolate cake, of course, no surprise, diners can be so unimaginative). Thinking about other peoples' lack of imagination quickly put me in an adventurous mood and I jumped at the chance to try a ginger creme caramel, despite not being a huge ginger fan. I was so glad I made the leap of faith. It was wonderfully eggy with just a subtle spicing. This pudding was marvelous. A large and lacy sesame tuille on the side was fabulous too. It was a sticky, toffee-like, delicious, crunchy, biscuity, sticky in your teeth kind of affair with the sesame flavouring it with desirable nuttiness. It paired perfectly with the sauternes suggested by the sommelier. Perhaps he had forgiven me for my earlier faux pas.

For the record, our bottle of Crozes Hermitage tasted good, despite it's peculiar nose. In future I must remember not to make my enthusiastic, and obviously amateur, attempts at learning how better to appreciate wine, by making my innermost thoughts on its aroma, so public. I would like to return to Myth and give it another try, but with my now wine-stained reputation, I am not sure if I dare...?

The bill came to about $165 after taxes and before tip.
Myth - Pacific - Downtown San Francisco


  • At 9/2/05 15:26, Blogger Ziz said…

    Hey Sam!!

    Just a quick hi and a note to let you know you've been tagged to continue on the music meme thats going on! Check out my page if you are wondering what is up... :D

  • At 9/2/05 16:04, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We called Myth for a reservation and there's a recording of someone instructing callers to press "3" for hours and reservations. Having done that, another recording informs the caller that reservations are accepted ONLY between the hours of 11 and 5:30. It does not ask one to leave a name, phone and desired date and hour for a table. We called three or four times during the prescribed hours and never once did anyone pick up the phone.
    We are happy for the positively glowing reviews of the restaurant, but as far as we are concerned, Myth is a good name for the place.
    We are dining elsewhere until they resolve their reservations issues.

  • At 9/2/05 20:44, Blogger Sam said…

    San Francisco Culinaire - truffled foie gras isn;t bad - far from it - it is delicious. it's jsut that two ingredients taste so good separately, I find they dumb each other down when paired. In particular the impact of the foie gras is lost. Hit or Myth is a good way to describe it.

    Gibby - I found a google map mistake! check out tomorrow's blog.

    Spice Tart - isn't it great having a blog!! - unlike a newspaper, you can write about a place without having to form a set opinion. I just told it how it was. We certainly had a fun time there, but the food? I am just not sure. My jury is out. I would give it another try but it isn't at the top of my list. I have also decided I love ginger these days, but as for the poor old brussels - the jury is out on those too.

    Alder - the wine tasted ok, so the smell wasn't too much of an issue. I wish someone had the presence of mind to give us a free drink to make up for the bearnaise sauce incidence though, that really was rotten. they apologized well, but a little freebie would have made me feel a little better disposed towards them. I won't hold it against them, anyhow.

    Arthur - look forward to seeing your pics. Ill remember the pasta rec if we go again.

    Alicat - I love you. Not only do you have the best language of any food blog I know, you also called me gorgeous. I will do the meme at the weekend. I was already taggedd by Viv and I promised , but hey, I can be tagged twice can't I? I hope you don't mind sharing.

    Anon - I understand that those kind of attempts at making a res can be upsetting. I've had those experiences before too - the worst at La Suite whose phone message kept saying they were open for sunday brunch. So we'd go down there and find them closed. Then a member of staff would tell us they were opening the next week, so we'd do the same thing all over again a week later and they would still be closed. They didnt change their message correctly over the holidays either and we got caught out again. grr.

    I recommend you use opentable. You can see exaclty what times are available without having to talk to a soul. You don't need to be a member to do it even. That's how I made my Myth res in a couple of seconds flat.

  • At 10/2/05 07:52, Blogger Ziz said…

    Of course I don't mind sharing. ;) Honestly I figured everyone I picked probably was tagged already, but who the fuck cares right? :D Good to hear from you as always, keep kicking ass sister.


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