The story: Trestle has been regularly packed since opening its doors back in April, partly because of the food coming out of the kitchen, but mostly because of its $35 three-course prix fixe dinner price point at a time when dining out often empties one’s pocketbook.
Why I went: Who doesn’t like a deal? I wanted to check out if the $35 price was worth the constant online checking I had to do to secure a reservations. Because of its popularity, decent reservations are available if you check at least a month in advance (reservation window opens two months in advance). I invited my niece Margot who works nearby in the Financial District and went for a weeknight dinner.
The vibe: On the edge of San Francisco’s Jackson Square area, there’s a definite after-work financial district crowd. The restaurant, the latest from the Hi Neighbor group that brought us Stones Throw and Fat Angel, is on the small side. So despite the polished, contemporary lines of the decor, it’s the typical layout of two-tops side by side along the walls. We sat in one of two tables taking up the available space in the center of the room, which makes you feel like you’re on an island being watched by the entire restaurant.
The menu: As stated earlier, the menu is a prix fixe three-course dinner for $35. The menu changes slightly daily, and you’re provided two options for each course. On our night, we had the choices of appetizers being roasted red and golden beet salad (me) or roasted sunchoke soup (my niece); entree of pan-seared salmon (my niece) or sausage-stuffed roast chicken (me); and dessert of pumpkin cheesecake (both of us wanted this) and chocolate Devil’s food cake. There’s also an option of ordering a pasta course for an extra $10 per person. We decided to share an order of the butternut squash risotto with rock shrimp. Everything was cooked nicely; my chicken was tender and moist and the risotto had a perfect soft but slightly al dente bite to the rice. But none of the ingredients were especially innovative although the final course of pumpkin cheesecake was the most sophisticated with an artfully plated dish of spice cake, cranberries, maple cream, pepitas and pumpkin cheesecake.
The booze: There’s a decent menu of wine and beer options, but I actually had just come back from a vacation of dining and drinking (in Montreal) so was taking a break from alcohol.
My favorite dish: Like I mentioned, the pumpkin cheesecake was my favorite, both for the taste of all the elements but the sophisticated nature of the presentation. It demonstrated more creativity on the plate than the earlier courses.
The last bite: While I enjoyed the meal, the menu sometimes seemed ho-hum (roasted beet salad? roast chicken with Brussels sprouts? yawn). Still, there’s no denying that $35 for dinner (or in my case $45 for four courses) is quite the deal for a meal in San Francisco of this level of quality ingredients, execution in the kitchen, and professional service in the front of house. Trestle is like the sure thing in dining when you want to have a nice meal without risking much in costs.
The deets: Trestle, 531 Jackson St., San Francisco. PH: 415.772.0922. Open daily for dinner from 5:30 p.m. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. trestlesf.com
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