Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Essanay Café from the outside looks much like it belongs in another time. Small and rustic, it is exactly the sort of establishment that belongs in Niles, with it’s original wooden structure intact, and it’s picture windows facing along a street that still looks as though horses should come marching down it pulling buggies. Quaint squared.
The food was really impressive. A nice combination of down home and upscale, without really hitting either too hard. They don’t serve hard liquor, so we all started with variations on a champagne cocktail, a nice fizzy opener to a hearty repast. After I downed my champers, I had a glass of Merlot that was delicious.
The other appi we tried was Essanay’s take on crab cakes. Not as perfect as the asparagus, as they were a bit on the salty side, but they were good nonetheless. The patties had a nice fluffy consistency, and the crab itself was sweet and tender. I think if I hadn’t just had the world’s best crab cakes at Sea Salt still ringing on my palate, I would have been more impressed with these. They were a solid effort and definitely worth eating.
Since it was a special night we ordered desserts. The two we chose to split were a chocolate cake recommended by our hostes, who said it was the owner’s mother’s recipe. The slice was really moist, and came accompanied by a lovely mint-chocolate-chip ice cream. Our second offering was a “s’mores” prepared as a creme brulee. It’s bottom layer was graham crackers, layered over that was a covering of marscarpone cheese, and cremy marshmallow, with the final layer being a healthy topping of melted chocolate.
If you are in the Fremont neighborhood, you really ought to come by and check it out. They have a gorgeous back bar where live music is featured often on weekends, and it’s very Disneyland and yes, also quaint. See for yourself, check it out. Bon appetit!
37533 Niles Boulevard
Fremont, CA 94536
Table size: adequate
Noise: One Bell (quiet and romantic)
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
My sister-in-law came with, as did my niece. When my New Yorker said she was craving actual Mexican food (which is apparently impossible to get in NYC) Sis-in-law suggested we check out Zazil, the Mexican place upstairs in the Westfield mall. Upon arriving at the top of the escalator, we found that Zazil was closed. Permanently. A victim of the recession. Apparently, as the hostess for Lark Creek put it “it’s pretty hard to compete with high end Mexican food in a mall, especially in a City that is known for really good and inexpensive Mexican food.”
So when we found ourselves at that moment, hovering in the doorway to Lark Creek Steak, we opted to go ahead and eat there. We were all pretty hungry and after all, shopping IS hard work! I started with a Sazerac, something to take the ache out of my legs and back. It was perfectly blended, a nice whisky flavor with just enough sweetness and the suggestion of licorice wafting up from the absinthe used to rinse the glass. I was pleased. My sister-in-law loves a Margarita. Theirs was done using a nice silver tequila, overall a crisp citrus cocktail that I found refreshing.
My NYC Makeup Artist ordered something called the “Black Island,” it was a Johnny Walker black label with a hint of lavender. It was evocative of elsewhere, and pretty tasty. Overall I’d say that much to my surprise, Lark Creek has a kick a$$ bar.
The food at Lark Creek Steak was steady comfort food. It was nothing unusual, but what they offered was done really well. The drinks were really outstanding. So, if you’re in the mall, and you need a bite, go for it. Check it out, and Bon Appetit!
Lark Creek Steak
845 Market Street
4th floor, Westfield Mall
San Francisco, CA