: views from the Hill

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Free beer! and bushi-tei

Went to dinner last night at bushi-tei in Japantown. ... for the third time.

Those who know us know that we seldom eat anywhere more than once, maybe twice. We must think bushi-tei is yummy. We do. It is. There are so many good restaurants in this town, that eating anywhere more than once or twice is absurd unless we think the restaurant is a keeper.

bushi-tei's appetizer to die for is /Seared fresh foie gras, pumpkin pot de crème, pistachio, red onion marmalade/. The pumpkin pot de crème sounds like it would be weird with the seared foie gras (the foie is settled in the middle of the pot de crème), but the pairing is perfect. Delish. Mine!

His nibs had /Lobster and Crab, Chrysanthemum leaf, papaya, bacon, ginger cream, curry oil/. A salad of sorts only there's very little greenery and LARGE CHUNKS OF LOBSTER! Tasty dressing. The bacon and papaya bits add intriguing shots of flavor. The salad is more crab and lobster than anything else. Tasty. We swopped our plates halfway through.

For the main course I had /Pan roasted Sonoma duck breast, spinach, mascarpone-mustard, dried chutney/, cooked medium rare. I figured if I had duck liver for the appetizer, it was only fair that I should carry on with the rest of the duck for the main course. The duck was cooked perfectly. The mascarpone-mustard was smooth and mellow and didn't overwhelm the duck.

His nibs had /Pan seared Maine scallop, black rice tabbouleh, eye berry- cucumber yoghurt/. Delish as well. Have we ever had anything not delish here? No. For dessert his nibs had an apple dumpling served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkling of crushed pistachio. I had a glass of Ichinokura Himezen saké.

LaWand Mathern wrote a fine review of bushi-tei last August that I won't even try to compete with except to say the food is great, the setting is calm and serene and the bathrooms! Well! We have friends with toilets that do everything but sponge the spilt wine off your shirt. These are those kinds of toilets.

But wait! you say. What about the free beer?

Well, Muni cooperated (don't say it never does) and we walked down to Washington Square Park where we were whisked off on the 30Stockton which dropped us at Union Square just in time to catch 38LGeary and we found ourselves at Bushi-Tei a half-hour before our 7p reservation. (Early reservation because his nibs was due for a conference call concerning raises and staff bright and early this morning.)

The early start to dinner meant that we finished at an unheard of early hour and (backtracking on the 38 and the 30) found ourselves back in North Beach, getting off the 30 at Panta Rei some time around 8:15p. We were walking up Green from Columbus when his nibs decided that the night was still young and we should stop into Maggie McGarry's for a pint of Anchor Steam before making that last push up the hill.

The barkeep said, "You here for the trivia?"
"No," we answered. "Just stopping by on the way home from dinner."

And yet ... we were still there when the trivia contest (every Tuesday!) started 'round about 8:30p. The quizmaster gave us a pencil and an answer sheet booklet. The night was still young. Why not try our luck and our smarts -- the luck being in the quizmaster asking a question we knew the answer to.

His nibs won a free pint at a drawing mid-session. The session went on for six rounds. We were totally skunked for the music round. We made unexpected points in the hip-hop 'round. We were lagging behind, but made it up in the last "last call for know-it-alls" round and wound up in third place out of maybe eight teams competing. We were clearly a couple decades older than the rest of the contestants. Yay, us!

One of the youngsters came over ostensibly to get another round of drinks but in actuality to ask his nibs if he could tell her who sang Leader of the Pack (one of the answers in the music round). She must've figured we were old enough to know, but we couldn't help her. Did I mention total skunkage in the music round?

Our third place finish earned us chits for two more pints of beer.

Free Anchor Steam. Can't get much better than that.

No comments: