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Terzo was one of the high points of our visit to San Francisco. It was yet another high energy restaurant, but this one had great food and a welcoming staff. The noise level was under control, and we had a big table off in a corner where we could enjoy the liveliness, but still have a sense of distance from the festivities. Terzo actually had some of that old time, 1980s San Francisco feel. Maybe it was because of the good food.
The menu is Northern California with a lot of Italian and French influence. The service is informal, with no specific appetizers and entrees, so we just ordered a la carte and kept the food coming. We started with a wonderful halloumi cheese with roasted red peppers and toasted almonds. This old fashioned dish kept us from collapsing with hunger. More food arrived presently: a spicy arugula salad with chervil, pear slices and hazelnuts, the savory boudin blanc, a French white sausage, with mashed potatoes and celeriac, a charcuterie plate with a wonderful ciccoli crostini, and a host of other dishes. The grilled steelhead was fresh and nicely cooked with fennel, olives and aioli. While the warm chicory salad with a poached egg, bacon, reggiano cheese and anchovies was not a patch on the poached duck egg at Marinus, it was a tasty treat.
As part of an old fashioned Northern Californian meal, we indulged in a big plate of finely cut deep fried onion rings, a plate of olives, and a plate of toasted mixed nuts. With the mixed nuts, the chicory salad and a calzone stuffed with mozzarella and bacon, we were back in time. It was the 1980s, and something new was on America's tables. We remembered just why California cuisine led to such a rethinking of the way we eat now. Things have changed since the great revolution, but we are old enough to miss the glory days.
For dessert, we had the bread pudding, a dish currently in vogue, and one of our favorites. At Terzo it was full of apples and mascarpone. Before we left the our time machine, we stopped for a cookie plate. That's right, Terzo has an old fashioned cookie plate with coconut macaroons, lemon cookies, little chocolate meringues, spice cookies and rich shortbread squares. Our evening was complete, we were ready to face the new millenium again.