Postrio’s: Little Jewel Close to Union Square
Postrio’s on Post Street was the perfect spot for my sister Cherie and I on Saturday evening. The picture to the right really doesn’t do it justice. We actually sat on a rather cozy mezzanine level looking down on the dining room you see in the picture.
Actually, we thought we were going to end up at a different restaurant that evening. However, when we got there – we saw almost no diners inside and so we decided to keep walking and find something else. A few doors away – we stumbled upon Postrio and walked in.
When we walked in my first thought was “expensive.” A sparkling bar, brass, red brick, white linens and gracious crown moldings. All add to a sense of cozy elegance. After all, it’s a Wolfgang Puck restaurant with a second location in The Venetian in Las Vegas. But as I discovered, it doesn’t have to be.
Our waiter, Ifal, pictured left was warm, friendly and knowledgeable. I haven’t visited the Postrio’s in Las Vegas – I will now after dining at the San Francisco location. I call the cuisine where we ate “California Southern.” Well, mostly.
Cherie and I shared a salad of arugula, peaches, red onion, rye croutons and chevre in a light lemon-poppy vinaigrette ($10). What you see is half a salad after a couple bites. Ifal had our salad divvied up onto two plates so we could both enjoy without picking at one plate. The sweet Georgia peaches made a piquant contrast to the tangy chevre (goat cheese). Just right.
I wanted something homey and not to horribly adventurous, honestly. I ordered the Roasted Eggplant Gratin ($14) for dinner because I love eggplant and it sounded somewhat similar to Eggplant Parmesan. Served up in a gratin dish this was a medley of eggplant, diced tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach.
The menu said the dish was topped with a Bechamel (white sauce) and Mozzarella. I only tasted the Mozzarella. Who’s arguing? If I was in my kitchen I’d top a dish like this with Mozzarella so I was happy with that part of the Roasted Eggplant Gratin.
Taste is such a subjective thing. I’m sure the chef feels this recipe is just right. It was tasty and homey, exactly what I was in the mood for, but for my taste – I would’ve liked more garlic in the Gratin. When I think about ingredients like these – my thoughts go to Italian food and in my humble opinion, you just gotta have garlic with Italian ingredients. If you’re not a big garlic lover, my Mom for example, you’ll love it as is.
Cherie, ordered the House Smoked Baby Back ribs ($17). On her plate were four meaty, tender ribs in a spicy, not at all sweet, sauce. The sauce wasn’t overly spicy but it did deliver a kick of pleasant heat at the back of your throat a minute later. Her plate also included Haricot Verts (French green beans) and a flavorful salad made with sweet potatoes and an acho-sherry vinaigrette. Never met a sweet potato I didn’t love. A great way to enjoy ribs without going hog wild.
There were also wood-fired pizzas available ($13-20.), a lobster club sandwich ($26), a braised lamb shank ($22) and several other selections.
I felt the prices at Postrio were very reasonable for the quality received. Especially when you consider we were dining in Union Square, a very pricey area. Heck, I can go to Chili’s in my neighborhood in Las Vegas and a half rack of ribs (4) is $17.99 (I know – I know, Puck would probably be offended and disturbed if he knew a writer was comparing one of his menu items with Chili’s.) Hey, I’m just being pragmatic here. Everything on our plates was of far better quality then that chain restaurant with the plastic chili pepper on the sign. Clearly, I’m not a fan of Chili’s - but I know somebody’s gotta eat there or they couldn’t keep the doors open. This is real food like your Mom or Grandma would make. It’s not jacked-up with a bunch of cloying, overly sweet sauces on top of deep-fried meat parts.
I’m just saying there is good food available at a moderate price point when you get away from the big chain restaurants and seek out something just a little different.
After we paid our modest check and walked out the door at Postrio, Cherie and I felt we made a good choice.
The food was honest and tasty in reasonable portion sizes – not huge platters. Although the menu is clearly American the portions are more European in scale, rather than the American massive that’s become the norm. We both appreciated that. Postrio’s is a great find as you walk up the hill away from Union Square toward Nob Hill. If you’re visiting San Francisco, or live there, it’s a lively, fun, enjoyable stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
545 Post St
San Francisco 94102
(In the picture above I’m wearing a couple of my Chinatown finds – the hot pink pashmina and the brooch. Fun!)