“So…I’ve pretty much tried most of the things on the menu. What would you recommend then?” – my friend Jason to the waitress.
Oh, the pretentious friends I have!
15 friends and I had an 8pm dinner reservation at RN74, a restaurant by Michael Mina that’s connected to the super expensive Millennium Tower apartment building in SF (apparently Joe Montana lives here). It seems like the place to be on a Friday night as the bar/lounge area was packed with hip 20 and 30 somethings boozing the night away. The decor is modern and the design makes it a fun place to eat – not uptight like I would have imagined. With the booze flowing and the Giants game showing (bench clearing brawl during the game and all), it was definitely a fun atmosphere.
The menu is not too extensive – a couple appetizers, a few first courses and a handful of main courses. And the menu doesn’t change so once you’ve tried everything (like my pretentious friend apparently has), it’s tough to find an incentive to come back often.
BUT that being said, it was the first time at RN74 for most of us and we wanted to take advantage of the large party to try as much as we could. Two friends and I shared two appetizers – the Maitake Mushroom Tempura and the Bone Marrow.
The mushroom was much lighter than I had anticipated. With tempura batter and deep frying, I expected greasy and heavy. Instead, it was light and much more delicate than what I imagined. It came with an aioli type sauce on the side and gave it much more flavor than just the mushroom itself. I was very pleasantly surprised by this dish and would get it again.
The bone marrow was definitely the better of the two appetizers though. Great flavor, great contrast with the bread and it even came with a little meat to give texture to the whole combination. It’s too bad that the bread was a bit burnt and the burnt taste overpowered some of the bone marrow. I would get this dish again, but I would also recommend the bone marrow at Wayfare Tavern more as that one really melts like butter in your mouth (more so than this one at least).
For the main course, I ordered the duck breast as I always seem to do. It’s my weakness. My kryptonite. The Liberty Farm Duck Breast “Abricot et Moutarde was quite an excellent dish. The duck was prepared a good medium rare, the spinach was buttery, and the sauce was a good flavor pairing with the duck breast. But the best part of the dish was the grilled apricot. Yes, they grilled apricot! I really like apricot but never thought of grilling it before. Definitely a must try for when I cook duck breast next.
The dish was also served with a flageolet bean cassoulet, which is just a fancy way of saying a slow-cooked white bean stew/casserole. I’ll be honest and say up front that I’m not a fan of beans. When I go to places like Chipotle, I always get “no beans” with my burrito. But I have to say I didn’t mind this cassoulet. It had some duck meat in there along with some spices and bread crumbs. It was also very filling – if the duck breast didn’t fill you up, this definitely would. Still not totally sold on beans though.
All in all, a great, albeit bittersweet, dinner as it was a going-away dinner for the first of various friends moving away to begin the next journey in their lives. The food was pretty good (I wouldn’t use amazing to describe it because frankly it wasn’t at that level). The atmosphere was great for our dinner party. The staff was friendly and helpful, always checking to see if our water glasses were filled and if our food was to our satisfaction. And the bill wasn’t crazy either – I shared two appetizers between three people, had the duck breast main course, and split two bottles of wine between 10 people to pay $65 after tax and tip. Not bad and close to what I expected, but for that price I would recommend a a ton of other restaurants in SF before RN74.
I just re-read this post and answered my own question. Definitely pretentious written all over it. Thanks RN74…
Big humungous THANK YOU to Stephanie for providing all the photos from this meal for me to post. Good look to Joe (the star of the dinner) as he begins his new endeavors on the East Cost. And thank you to Jason for making me feel like it’s ok to be pretentious!