Marlowe: A Review
After having a drink at Bar Basic tonight (you'll have to visit Yelp for my review of the ear-splitting experience at Bar Basic--so much potential, so much volume), Rand, Lee and I went to Marlowe in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. Housed in the space formerly occupied by South, Marlowe offers an intimate dining experience in a rustic and cozy environment. The space is pretty small, but it didn't feel cramped. I really enjoyed the service in the restaurant. Our waitress was just cheeky enough and seemed to be having a good time. And, of course, an accent always wins over the American diner. Just think of Marlowe as your neighborhood bistro with a Australian flair.
We began with a drink at the small community table. I had a Czech dark lager that I enjoyed, but it didn't blow my mind. I'm amazed how my beer expectations have grown over the past couple of years. After drinks, Lee abandoned us and we were seated at our table.
Based on Lee's earlier suggestion, we started with the brussel sprout chips: crispy, oily, salty. If you like brussel sprouts, you will undoubtedly like these light crunchy leaves of salty goodness. For dinner, we ordered the black cod with fennel and spinach, the burger with bacon and horseradish aioli and a side of cauliflower gratin. The cod was subtle but good. The broth was definitely dunk-worthy (which reminds me that the bread was nice and soft). I think the spinach could have been a little richer or spicier, but it was a solid dish. The burger was good (ordered medium rare) and the bacon added the touch of umami that I expect. I definitely missed the pickled onions that I can get at other places (shout out to NOPA), but the horseradish aioli was a good compromise. The cauliflower was a dish of smoky cheesy veggie goodness--I recommend it. I would like to try the brown butter brussel sprouts next time, too.
For dessert, we had the Tcho Dark Chocolate Bar Pudding with creme fraiche and maple pistachios. Much like a pot de creme, it was thick and rich and chocogasmic. All the other desserts looked quite good, too. I would have been happy with any of them, but chocolate is always hard to pass up.
For dinner, I chose the Husch Pinot Noir. After it breathed a bit, it really opened up and tasted quite good. At $13 a glass, it lived up to my expectations.
All in all, Marlowe is a great addition to the neighborhood, and it really appeals to me more than South ever did. I'm looking forward to trying out several of their other dishes and stopping by for a drink (or two) after work. Here's to the beginning of a beautiful friendship.