New to my San Francisco list of dining experiences is Parallel 37, which is nestled inside the Ritz Carlton‘s ground floor on Stockton Street.
Truth be told, we’ve stayed at quite a few Ritz Carlton properties over the years, many of which we have reviewed, including their delicious fare. San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton sits high on a hill, so if you’not staying there or planning to taxi it over, the walk will remind your leg muscles why they’re there. The view will be worth it however and the architecture is quite majestic.
Recently, Christopher Parr, who is founder of luxury site The Pursuitist breezed into the city for a few days, so we decided to catch up over dinner at Parallel 37 after a quick drink in the chic Ritz Carlton lounge.
The Chef’s Tasting Menu at Parallel 37
The chef and team suggested we sample their Chef’s Tasting Menu, which changes regularly. I love surprises and trust chefs, so we gave a nod to Chef Michael Potondo and team and dove into a five course meal accompanied by wine pairings.
Before the official courses came out, the chef started us off with an amuse-bouche or as one French friend calls a amuse-gueule. His choice? Carrot hummus, mandarin granite and crispy basil. It was small, light and heavenly.
The meal itself was fabulous, starting with one of my favorites, Scallop Tartare, which they serve with blood orange sabayon with a dash of dashi. On top was a mix of frisee and cranberries, which resulted in exquisite balance. Let’s just say my palette approved.
We paired the first few seafood dishes with the 2015 Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay (one of my favorites) and the 2016 Patient Cottat with Sancerre. They also brought out oysters (not typically on the tasting menu) which they served with mignonette, lemon and hot sauce of course. It’s hard for me to ever pass up oysters and the Sancerre was the perfect accompaniment.
Next, they brought out a Black Cod with sea urchin (this addition really made the difference — it literally popped in my mouth). They serve the fish over a bed of homemade barley risotto, which was light, fluffy and I’d add, balanced.
It was time to move to red meat, which also meant we migrated to a Pinot — the 2015 Merry Edwards RRV Pinot Noir to be exact. Apparently the chef is a fan of duck, which I was thrilled to hear, as it’s one of my favorites as well.
Tasty and ever so tender, their free range duck from Liberty Farms was prepared with oxheart cabbage, heart and pineapple, the latter a surprise for me. The pineapple was an unexpected addition as was the apple butter (YUM!!), so I can see why they chose a Pinot over some of their bolder and heartier red choices by the glass.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Silver Oak wines so I was thrilled to see a 2013 Silver Oak on the Parallel 37 menu. Rather than stick to the Pinot since we were moving onto a Tenderloin, I said “bring out the Silver Oak please!!”
The choice of the day was a Bison Tenderloin, which they serve with beet spaetzle and shaved perigord truffles (so so delish!). Seriously, who doesn’t love truffles? We even have truffle mayo at home and yup, it’s as heavenly as it sounds. On the plate to accompany this scrumptious bison was red onion jam and wild mushrooms from southern France.
When you do as many restaurant reviews as we do, you begin to panic when dessert comes out. Why? Because they’re often so plentiful and decadent that it’s fairly easy to gain weight easily if you always say yes. And, it’s hard to say no.
In this case, I loved that the Parallel 37 tasting menu dessert option was so light. In between the Bison and dessert came a Pear Sorbet with a nutty granola to cleanse the palette and then came the divine Fennel (I absolutely LOVE Fennel) panna cotta with grapefruit and pinenut prailene.
The panna cotta was indeed as decadent as it sounds, but also fairly light — fennel as the main driving force was a unique addition to my culinary repertoire for desserts. Added to this wonder was both candied fennel and candied pineapple with a tad of dill and pine nut butter. More wow, right?
They opted to pair it with a Sandeman’s 20 year old Tawny Port, which was a wonderful way to end a meal on a chilly February evening in San Francisco.
If you don’t want to sign up for the lengthier Chef’s Tasting Menu, you can still splurge with a Black Truffle Pasta or Japanese Wagyu, one of my favorites especially when paired with Matsutake mushrooms. Pure perfection, right? They also offer a Family Style Bone in Short Rib which is incredibly tender, and serves 2-4 people.
Other fun things on the menu include Local Black Cod with nori, prawn dumplings and melted leeks, a Berkshire Pork Chop with quince mostarda, radishes and butter beans, Niman Ranch Lamb in an olive infused lamb reduction, and Diver Sea Scallops with spigarello kale and broccoli de ciccio.
Because I’m such a coconut fan, I have to give a call out to their Butternut Squash Soup which we didn’t have a chance to try. They serve this decadent appetizer with poached lobster and coconut. I must return to try this tempting soup, perhaps with their Pumpkin Agnolotti, which is prepared with brown butter, Fuji apples and Nueske’s bacon. Can you say yes please?
Those who wish to keep it lighter or are visiting during the summer, can go for their Ahi Tuna Tataki or their Yellowtale Sashimi with Oro blanco and blood orange sabayon. In other words, plenty of choices to keep you happy.
For vegetarians, they have a vegetable ragout with artichokes, cauliflower and lime yoghurt, and a few salad options. Conceivably you could also get a pasta minus the mussels or other meat additions.
The ambiance of Parallel 37 is modern and chic with clean lines throughout, including the square bar seating area in the middle of the room.
If you’re a Ritz Carlton fan, be sure to check out Michael Potondo’s cooking at Parallel 37 on the hill. Yup, one of those high San Francisco hills that will leave you breathless but happy.
For more information on Parallel 37 including their menu, visit their website.
Parallel 37 @ the Ritz Carlton
600 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Note: we were hosted by the restaurant, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.