Stones Throw San Francisco
With only four nights in San Francisco and hundreds of great restaurants to choose from, we knew many tough decisions were upon us! After some serious menu stalking and consulting San Francisco’s Eater website, we settled upon a couple of restaurants, one of which was Stones Throw. Located in the Russian Hill neighborhood and actually near where we were staying, it was a great choice after a very long day of walking! When we walked in the staff was friendly and I loved the urban-rustic décor of the exposed rafters and overall atmosphere as it was hopping on a Thursday evening.
The menu is comprised of three sections: snacks, starters and mains. We decided to order two starters and two entrees for the four of us and were pleasantly surprised when the chef sent out two complimentary snacks to sample as well!
The first thing to arrive was the mushroom ragout with leek custard, confit egg yolk and firebrand bread. The ragout tasted like an out of this world version of cream of mushroom soup and the crispy bread was the perfect accompaniment. This was one example where the addition of an egg really elevated a dish.
The next snack to arrive was the puffed potato and eggs on top of a cauliflower mouse with chives and crispy chicken skin. These guys were basically tater tots on steroids, especially with the great addition of molten egg once the potato ball was cracked open. I was so impressed with how the hidden egg inside the potato ball was still runny after being fried up. In the past I haven’t been a huge fan of cauliflower but I loved the puree in this dish so much I kept scraping at the bowl with my spoon after everything else on my plate was gone.
Our first starter was the grilled octopus and Okonomiyaki pancake with bacon dashi, spicy turnips and marinated mushrooms. Chef Jason cooked the octopus tentacle perfectly; cooking it through without creating a rubbery texture. The pancake had the perfect amount of crunch on the outside and with the addition of more bacon, it was soft and fluffy on the inside.
The next starter we tried was the warm pork belly with Brokaw avocado, Thai Basil-cilantro puree, candied peanuts and a charred scallion vinaigrette. The pork belly was rendered so well that certain bites almost tasted like you were eating chicharron’s (pork cracklings). I loved how the acidity of the sauces cut through the fat of the pork belly giving it a well-balanced bite.
We also ordered one of the menu favorites; the squid ink conchiglie pasta with spicy capers, clams, calamari, shrimp and tender greens. The pasta was perfectly al dente and I loved the pop of spice the capers gave the dish to cut through the richness of the seafood and sauce.
Taste Tester #1 and I decided to split the truffle stuffed roast chicken with creamed cabbage, savory bread pudding, chestnut puree and chicken jus for our entrée. The chicken itself was moist and the skin crispy. The truffles were the perfect addition to this dish to make it a little bit special but they also weren’t overpowering. I loved how the chicken jus soaked into the savory bread pudding and pulled the whole dish together. I’m not usually one to order chicken at a restaurant but this dish proved to be the exception to the rule.
We finished out the meal with two different desserts from Chef Jason’s super creative kitchen. Their dessert menu was all items that originated from customers favorite childhood desserts. The ‘Nilla wafers and banana pudding (pictured below) and the peanut butter and jelly donuts were amazing and the perfect sweet ending to our meal.
Upon first glance the menu might look like many familiar “shared plate” menus but, honestly everything we tried was totally unique and next-level creative. I (if you couldn’t tell already!) especially loved the playfulness of the dessert menu. The snacks and starters were a good size for sharing amongst four people with each person getting a substantial bite and the entrees are perfect for sharing between two people. With a seasonal changing menu I would definitely come back next time I’m in town.
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