Monday, October 19, 2009

Aziza, now a Michelin Restaurant in 2010

I grew up in the Richmond district, practicing volleyball at Alamo elementary school for our recreation team, standing in line at the Cornet theatre for Mrs. Doubtfire (now gone) and ice cream with my teammates at Baskin Robbins (also gone.) I noticed a new sign “Aziza” in 2001 when I was visiting home from college. It was a mystery, heavy curtained windows and a colorfully painted exterior.

Upon entering Aziza, the room is painted in beautiful purple, blues, greens and yellows, high ceilings, warm glowing chandeliers and a cave-like feel. There were couples dining with parents, couples on dates, girlfriends and singles eating at the bar. Our server greeted us with the specials of the day and recommended some of his favorites on the menu.

We started with the $12 Humboldt squid with fennel, tomato and celery. The calamari was thick, sweet and tender on caramelized fennel sauce.

I was looking forward to the #63 $10 Meatballs and Grapes from The Big Eats List, served with a jimaca salad in a herb vingerette. The meatballs is the same size as the grapes, definitely made with a mix of lamb meat. The sweetness of the grapes added more juiciness to the meat.

The server guaranteed we would like the $11 Flatbread and Spreads dish and I agree. The spreads included chickpea, piquillo-almond, and yogurt-dill. The grilled flatbread was porous and crispy, the flavors from herby, sesame-ish to smoky was a nice flavor awaken for our palates.

I couldn’t make up my mind about the $12 hen egg, charmoula and crispy beans and the server assured us it was a delicious and won’t push us over-the-edge on fullness dish. The pot was warm with wrinkled beans and a soft poached egg. The wrinkled skin added texture to the fibrous beans. A gooey drippy egg is always food porn for my eyes.

The table next to us was raving about the $18 Eggplant farro, baby carrot, pickled raison and cilantro with their eyes flickering in a satisfied way. We wanted the same sensation and follow suit, the eggplant was cooked perfectly, tender but a still retained a thoroughly crunchy bite. The pickled farro was my favorite, a tangy cross of a broccoli and asparagus flavor.

I ordered the $24 Couscous with chicken, prawn, lamb sausage and vegetables because it had a mix of everything. The couscous was fluffy, tiny and fragrant from the dripping juices of the meats. The server brought over a hot sauce for the couscous, it was thick like tapatio, a little sweet, tangy and spicy.

All of the desserts sounded interesting and I narrowed down the choices to the Napoleon and Hibiscus. The $9.50 Yogurt mousse napoleon, walnut nougatine, fig and blackberry. Despite David Chang’s recent comment, about San Francisco and bloggers (he hates them)

“Fuckin' every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate. Do something with your food,”

the fig and blackberries gave the dessert a textural layer to the light mousse.

The $9 hibiscus granita, rose parfait, citrus tuile and black mint is one of the more unique and exciting dessert I’ve had in a while. The dessert had a perfumy quality with the floral scent of hibiscus, rose, and citrus. The cold shaved ice with a creamy parfait and lastly a thinly crispy flaky bite into the tuile. A pretty tasting and looking dessert.

I ended the night with a hot foamy latte the house made marzipan came with the check. I watched Chef Mourad Lahlou on Iron Chef and it further intrigued me to come to Aziza. Congratulations to Aziza for earning a well deserved Michelin star for 2010. After dining at the restaurant, I felt like I was finally in on the secret I was wondering about for years…

5800 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 752-2222
Aziza on Urbanspoon


Jo said...

i had exactly what you had! i felt like i was reading my own blog post. haha! that yogurt dessert was PHENOMENAL! =)

foodhoe said...

I still haven't been to this restaurant, everything looked good especially the desserts.

Lolia S said...

You sure make it sound good!

Erika said...

The cave-like feel makes me think of Rainforest Cafe. Have you ever been to that restaurant? :)

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