Absinthe is located at the corner of Franklin and Gough, usually hustling and bustling with the pre or post Opera crowd. The exterior of the restaurant with large glowing windows at night reminds me of a scene straight out of a Meg Ryan’s romantic comedy movie.
Picture this: the dark night with the rushing blur of car headlights, the big store front windows emitting a warm glow and customers animatedly chatting with big goblets of red and white wine. The scene speaks for itself: a young woman waiting alone with a rose clipped between the pages of a worn out book…
Uploaded by soldeace on 10 Sep 05, 11.49AM PDT.
I’ve been to Absinthe for dinner and it was a wonderful meal, a selection of buttery escargots, cured meats to roasted chicken. I arrived at Absinthe on a Friday afternoon for their $16 3 course pri-fixe and the hamburger.
I started my weekend early with #45 $9 Galapagos cocktail on The Big 100 Eats List, quoting directly from Absinthe’s menu,
“Kaffir-lime leaf muddled in pepper syrup, Alto del Carmen Pisco, lemon-lime juice, & a splash of grapefruit juice. Shaken & served up with sunken brandied cherries. This is a Xanadoozle creation, named in honor of Kurt Vonnegut’s eponymous modern classic.”
My friend took a sip and thought it was very strong, I thought it was sweet from the brandied cherries (which reminded me of Chinese dried salted prunes) and a little bitterness from the lime leaf and grapefruit juice. This might be my signature cocktail (keep them coming sir!)
The $16 Pri-fixe lunch menu changes everyday and it is usually a salad, sandwich and sorbet. Our selection for this particular Friday was a chick pea salad with thinly slices of fresh mozzarella, salami and roasted bell pepper sandwich on a baguette and a raspberry sorbet. For a sit down, linen cloth restaurant and served a 3 course lunch for $16 is a good deal, and don’t forget the bread and butter too.
I was really looking forward to the $12.50 hamburger cooked medium rare served with pickles. There is a selection of extras such as cheese, grilled onions, mushrooms, or fried egg for $1.50 each, I opted for the Swiss cheese. I really enjoyed the brioche bun on the burger and the grass fed Estancia beef felt like I was biting into a steak, the beef was delicious.
I found the burger too pricey compared to other upscale burgers. The kennebec fries are sold separately at $6; and $1.50 for each addition topping, the burger could easily turn into a $20 ticket. I’ll be back to try the homemade hot dog and secretly wished I did order it for lunch because the smell from the table next door was making me drool.
Chef Jamie Lauren is on Top Chef and she was setting up a shoot (not for Top Chef) as we were leaving lunch.
398 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102