From Atkins to Paleo, 7x7 editors are no strangers to fad diets. Having failed at each of them, we've finally found a nutrition regimen that suits our discriminating lifestyle: The Michelin Diet.
I view the extreme and all-too-rare moments of luxury that come into my life not so much as special treats, but more like times when a deep-seated default setting has been pinged. Absurd indulgence, I’d like to believe, is both my biological and sovereign birthright. So when 7x7 senior editor Leilani Marie Labong and I were escorted to our table on a chilly Wednesday night at Spruce, I felt right at home. Like I belonged there. Like I always belonged there. Like this joint is my Cheers. And that, in part, is the beauty of Spruce. This Michelin one-star eatery manages to give off an opulent, polished vibe while making you feel right at home.
Spruce sits in an open and airy space along Sacramento Street in Presidio Heights. The foyer, dark and alluring, is punctuated by a Baccarat crystal chandelier. The dining room, lowly lit (no tiresome Edison bulb trend to be found here, thank you) and spacious, the tables are separated with just enough space for a romantic night out for two. Or, in our case, a night out of gossip and unrestrained laughter.
Starting out with three kinds of bread and two types of butter (regular and cinnamon-kissed), we held off on devouring the entire basket of bread in order to focus on main courses. “Put down the bread, Brock!” Leilani admonished. I ate two more pieces.
We started out with sweetbreads and carrots, burrata, and seeded lavash. Both dishes were downright glorious. The burrata came off like a massive slab of butter, which I mean in the best way possible, and the sweetbreads were perfectly crisped. Never one to savor, I devoured my portions in less than a couple minutes time. Not that Spruce's portions are small, mind you, but I have always and will forever eat like a hungry 16-year-old boy.
The pasta course was sheer insanity. Chef Mark Sullivan personally came to our table (because, in the esteemed words of Katy Perry, this is how we do) to shave white truffles onto our housemade tagliatelle. One rib eye plate and a Liberty Farms duck breast later, we were ready for dessert.
Chef Robert Vallejos, who mans the pastry program at Spruce, makes what I now consider to be one of the finest olive oil cakes in the city. Broken into chunks (so clever) and dropped onto lemon verbena ice cream and strawberries, it proved the perfect sugar rush. Also of note? The cheese plate (we downed the entire magnum opus of dairy in minutes), the trio of ice cream and sorbets (six scoops of ice cream, if you please), and the chef’s treat, white truffle macarons. Truffles are mostly used for scent, but Vallejos somehow made us taste them. Sweetly so. Delicious.
Amped on two espressos and two chocolate chip cookies to-go (pst, Spruce’s cookies are the stuff of legend), Leilani and I waddled back to her place for a nightcap, the perfect dinner behind us.
Hey, Michelin gang, it’s time to slap Spruce with another star. Granted it’s not situated in the tiresome Mission District, nor do they offer small tasting plates which are so popular these days, but its comfort and grace merit it at least another star come 2015, yes? Yes.
SPRUCE (one star): 3640 Sacramento, SF; 415-931-5100
Previously: The Restaurant at Farmhouse Inn