This summer, when chef duo David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher suddenly departed from Marlena, the Bernal Heights restaurant that rocketed them into the Michelin stratosphere, San Francisco food fans wondered what the couple would get up to next.
The Fishers teased the name of their new restaurant and its location in Pacific Heights but, about the menu and even the cuisine it would feature, the team remained tight-lipped.
So when 7 Adams opened in November, even those who’d been following their transition weren’t sure what to expect—not that it mattered. In just a few years, Fisher and Chow Fisher have managed to amass an army of fans who would follow them into just about any culinary foray.
The new venture, it turns out, is an intimate look into the craft of two chefs in their prime, a restaurant that, despite its pedigree and quality, is more neighborhood bistro than splashy showcase. In a narrow space on Sutter Street, the team and their partners Hi Neighbor Hospitality have created something comfortable yet classy, with wood paneled walls and black leather banquettes, a softly glowing honeycomb bar, and petal-shaped pendant lights. There’s an enclosed, heated back patio and subtle nods to Fisher’s childhood home, for whose address the restaurant is named, woven through the decor.
The prix fixe menu ($87/person), a little more extensive than that at Marlena’s, gives the chefs more room to stretch their creative wings. The first two courses are set but there’s a choice to be made in the three that follow, among which are supplements with high-octane ingredients like wagyu and truffle.
The second course from 7 Adams' current menu, charred broccoli di ciccio with gribiche, pickled kohlrabi, and mullet roe.(Liza Johnson)
The season will help dictate what appears on the plate, which means that 7 Adams’ first menu is full of warm, cool weather eats. The meal begins with a crudo of kombu-cured kampachi in a lightly smokey sesame dashi, accented with bright pops of refreshing yuzu jelly. A veggie course follows, a dish of broccolini charred to nutty perfection and served with pickled kohlrabi, mullet roe, and gribiche, a cold French egg sauce that comes across like a decadent aioli.
Both dishes are ambassadors for the restaurant’s eclectic culinary inspiration, an aesthetic that seamlessly integrates the flavors of Japan, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and California as if they’d always been meant to go together in the first place.
The third course is dedicated to a skill Fisher’s been honing: housemade pasta. In coming months, it may be rolled into noodles, chiseled into sculptural shapes or stuffed with surprises but, for now, on Marlena’s first menu, it comes in three forms.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the first, caramelle, a candy-shape filled with red kabocha squash and bathed in a rich sauce of smoked chives, crunchy sesame seeds, and chanterelles, is the kind of dish you’d want for your last meal on Earth; its beautifully contrasting fall flavors and chewy pasta is just that good. The supplemental pasta dish, dumplings stuffed with ricotta and topped with truffle, poached chestnuts, and parmesan, and the lamb tagliatelle with matsutake mushrooms and oregano, are both beauties in their own right—and just as autumnal and satisfying.
The fourth course on 7 Adams' current menu, roasted black cod with mussel butter, creamed Brussels sprouts, and finger lime.(Tara Rudolph)
The Fishers follow up the pasta course with the “main” dish, a savory, meaty choice between cage-free chicken breast with leg farce, salsify, and a buffalo wing; or roasted black cod with mussel butter, creamed Brussels sprouts, and finger lime. There’s also a supplemental option of A5 wagyu ribeye with beef tongue, green garlic miso, and bone marrow sauce. Despite the prix fixe format, the chefs craft this course into a family-style feast. Whichever dish you choose, it comes accompanied by a well thought-out complement to their varied flavors, a smoldering skillet of farro verde and a plate of charred arrowhead cabbage with a sweet and sour glaze for the table.
The fifth and final course doesn’t just showcase the 7 Adams team’s baking skills, it’s an opportunity to integrate Chow Fisher’s side hustle, Jack and Remi, an artisan ice cream company with unique chef-driven flavors like sourdough toast with raspberry jam and shiso mint chip. On their first menu, they pair an apple crumb cake with Jack and Remi’s orange-bay leaf ice cream, a flavor that’s delightfully reminiscent of old-school creamsicles. The hojicha opera sponge, a confection made with green tea, chocolate glaze, and compressed pear, is also accompanied by a small scoop, this one a lightly caramelized complement to the delicate cake.
Although there are no cocktails at 7 Adams, its wine list is a well-curated combination of 50 small-scale and family-owned vineyards, many of them using sustainable farming techniques, from the old world and new. A handful of California beers and ciders are also on offer.
In addition to this regularly changing menu, the Fishers also plan to add a chef’s tasting experience to the mix. At the six-seat bar counter, they will serve a dynamic and continuously changing seven- to nine-dish meal crafted before patrons' eyes. Until then, events like an upcoming white truffle dinner (December 7)—a seven-course menu of unparalleled riches for $195—will give the duo the chance to go beyond their regular menu.
Both are exciting prospects, but don’t sleep on the nightly five-course prix fixe in anticipation of what’s to come. 7 Adams is David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher at their best.
// 7 Adams is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30pm to 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 10pm, and Sunday from 5pm to 9pm; 1963 Sutter St. (Pac Heights), 7adamsrestaurant.com.
The chefs behind 7 Adams, David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher.(Tara Rudolph)