Thursday, April 2, 2009

Contigo, or, Kitchen & Cava

Last night in an attempt to boost my somewhat dampened spirits, Kenneth took me to a new restaurant in Noe Valley, Contigo. Contigo, which means "with you" in Spanish, offers a strictly Spanish wine list, and an array of Spanish style small plates, flatbreads and entrees.

Noe Valley is fast becoming one of my favorite neighborhoods in SF for hidden, locals-only flavor dinning, and Contigo is a welcome departure from the norm of "throw one stone hit 10 California-French fusion type places in the city."

We started with two different Cava's, my favorite was the rose, the Mont Marcal Reserva Brut Rosado 2005. It was tart with a slightly bitter undertone which reminded me a bit of Campari. I'm always a sucker for the pink fizzy drinks, let's be honest. The Sanstrave "e", Gran Reserva was also sampled. Not pink, but a bit less dry than the first. Both unique and refreshing.
Onto the small plates. Starting with the Esparragos-Asparagus with Jamon chips, green garlic and sieved egg, the Octopus, and the potatoes with chorizo and onion. We also ordered a flatbread with asparagus, crispy bacon and a farm egg on top for good measure. The flatbread was the highlight of the meal for me. They have a large wood-fired oven in the front of the restaurant, and the flatbread and egg on top were cooked to perfection. The asparagus was still brightly verdant and the bacon was delightfully salty and crisp. Though I must warn you, once you've had an egg cooked in a wood-fire you're ruined for life. The subtle smokey undertones are what's been missing from eggs all these years!

The octopus was good, though could have used a bit more acid (that seems to be my normal complaint) some sort of citrus or vinaigrette to compliment the flavors. We ended with the sheep's milk cheese which was extraordinarily soft, stinky and went very well with the hazelnuts it was served with.

All in all this is a fun place with the friendliest service I've encountered in San Francisco. Kenneth and I remarked to each of the staff members we came in contact with that they were all a pleasure and made us feel very welcome. I'd be more than happy to come back for a glass of wine at the bar or to split small plates and flatbread with a few friends. And my spirits have grown considerably, especially after a pink and bubbly glass of rose!

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