Bar Agricole | Food | Wine | Cocktails | Chef Brandon Jew | San Francisco Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Bar Agricole HeartHeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
San Francisco
Location: 37.771325, -122.41308
Open: Dinner Mon - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +1 415 355 9400
Address: 355 11th Street
San Francisco, California, 94103
Country: United States

Bar Agricole is a very smart bar and restaurant in San Francisco where all aspects of the experience including the food, the service, the cocktails and the smart wine list come together to provide a perfect dining experience.
We dined here only a few months after it opened and already it was working like a well-oiled machine. You will find Bar Agricole in 11th St a few blocks below Market St in between Folsom and Harrison. There is a fence protecting the outdoor dining area from the street. As you enter the high-ceilinged industrial space there is a friendly greeting and a professional air. A bar lines the left of the space and tables are arranged to the right. Blue denim serviettes are placed on the table.
The food is cool and the wine is even cooler. Everything is carefully planned for the dining experience.
We started the evening with a glass of the stunning Francois Pinon Vouvray zero-dosage sparkling wine. This lovely Chenin blanc was as good as sparkling wines get. Francois Pinon is a really gifted winemaker and he doesn't use any chemicals and also eschews the use of commercial yeasts, allowing the natural yeast to carry out the fermentation of the wine in their own time.
We then ordered the Paolo Bea Arboreus Umbria Bianco IGT 100% Trebbiano Spoletino which is made from vines that are over 100 years old growing near the village of Montefalco just below Perugia. We were delighted with the honeyed overtones on the nose and the gradual development of stone-fruit characteristics in the glass along with the very long finish of this wine. The liveliness on the palate comes from the use of only natural yeasts and an added bonus is no chemicals in the vineyard and no additives in the winemaking process. It is also one of those wines categorised as an orange wine due to the extended time that the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the grape juice.
It went rather nicely with a very good dish of fried okra with a lovely aioli and even stood up to a dish of chopped liver on toast with excellent watercress as a foil. Apparently many people leave the watercress which is a small tragedy.
We moved on to a delicious dish of puntarelle (similar to chicory), endive and anchovies. The bitterness in the leaves was most appealing and the anchovies provided depth of flavour.
Feather-light kabocha squash gnocchi with hazelnuts and strong, robust dandelion greens was a very nice combination.
Deep, deep flavours in a braised squid dish with chilli, tomatoes, kale and chick peas. All the right elements came together in this dish from the kick of the chilli to the crunch of the breadcrumbs on top to the amazing flavour that the long, slow cooking of the squid had produced to the softness of the chick peas as a contrast.
By this time we had moved to a red wine because we noticed a Pierre Gonon Saint Joseph on the wine list. We love the wines of Jean and Pierre Gonon who toil on the steep slopes to tend the vines planted by their father in the 1950s. Even though 2008 was a difficult year this vibrant purple wine exhibited great cherry and liquorice flavours and had a very long finish.
A dish of lamb leg with a couple of lamb sausages lying languidly over very good tzatziki with chard and scallions was a fine example of cooking technique which was incredibly tender and also very, very tasty.
For dessert we relished a light-as-a-feather peach upside-down cake with fig leaf cream and an equally light apple-huckleberry cobbler with vanilla pouring cream to finish of a great meal in a great space. This teamed very well with a glass of the Bea Moscato which would have been a refreshing way to end the evening.
But then we spotted an 18 year old Camut Reserve de Semainville Calvados! When temptation is placed in our way we seize it. This is a beautiful Calvados made from a 4000 tree orchard where the apples are never sprayed with chemicals. The results are amazing.
So Bar Agricole is our sort of place. It is a restaurant we will likely to be found on every trip to San Francisco. The food is prepared with passion and skill and the list of wines is amazing.
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