- Note, this review is from notes taken from a August 28, 2005 meal -
Tonight, the choice was to try somewhere new: Winterland, a new eatery at the corner of Sutter and Steiner. The chef hails from one of the truly innovative restaurants of the Northern Hemisphere - El Bulli, and he has his work cut out for him, as this space is the location of the damned. For 4 years in the late 1990s, I worked out at the Gorilla Sports down the street, and that space changed names (and cuisines) at least twice. Why? The location is just horrible, not close enough to anything to get either foot traffic or cars driving by. If you go there, it's a singular destination, not as a place to go before walking somewhere for drinks or any other sort of entertainment.
Since our table was almost ready, I first started with a Free Man in Paris (whisky based) while my wife gravitated to the Campari Cooler because, well, it had Campari in it.
After the Amuse Bouche (a melon soup with lime foam), we ordered a carafe of Grner Veltiner for our appetizers - Tai Ceviche with jalapeno and watermelon for me and White Corn and Dungeness Crab Soup for my wife. The soup service was exactly what you expect from a Michelin starred restaurant - the crab placed into a clean bowl and then the soup poured tableside from a serving pitcher. The ceviche's fire from the jalapeno was balanced by the sweetness of the watermelon juice and was one of the better renditions of the dish.
Since the restaurant offered Goesser beer from Austria, I decided to switch to that with my main course, a fantastic duo of pork belly with amaranth grain and edamame. The simplicity of the grain and soybeans were a perfect balance for the richness of the pork belly.
Dessert started with cappucinos, though I couldn't pass up a glass of 2003 Lillypilly dessert wine to compliment my carmelized brioche with olive oil ice cream.
My belly full and my liver pickled, it was time to go, but I will be back. Hopefully San Francisco's palate can appreciate the unique stylings of Winterland, as this is a cuilinary treasure that needs to be cherished.