Once a month or so, I go to the theater with some of my girlfriends. We have season tickets to one of the theaters in San Francisco. These evenings are always an adventure, beginning with dinner. Generally, we get up to the city, and then wander around the theater district until we find a restaurant that looks interesting. This time we planned ahead, and found a restaurant online and decided to go there. But when we got there, it was closed (as in, closed for good, not closed as in we just forgot to make sure it was open on Sunday)
So we wandered. Mildly expensive was okay with us, but we weren’t really looking for what we call “capital E expensive” where you’re like, “wow, this place looks Expensive”.
We found a restaurant called Cortez, located in the Hotel Adagio. That was my first clue that it was going to be an Expensive place. But the menu posted outside the door listed prices that were quite reasonable, and the food looked like it’d be good. We walked in, and the decor was quite modern- pastel globe lights designed to look like huge mobiles, clean sleek lines on the furniture…. We got a table (which was amazing since we didn’t have a reservation) and started looking at the menu.
Our waiter came over, and he was just the cutest thing ever and we wanted to tie a little bow around him and take him home. He reminded me of someone, and it just right at this very moment occurred to me who it was- Jules’ husband Remy. But the resemblance was looks only- our waiter was gay as a May morning, which was quite possibly the basis of his appeal. He explained to us that the menu was a collection of small plates, served family style, and came with 3 pieces or sliced into 3 or four pieces (translation- 2 to 3 bites per person per dish). He recommended that if we were really hungry we should think about ordering 2 to 3 dishes per person.
Dinner had just gone from “quite reasonable” to “Expensive”. But we were okay with that. It ended up coming out to $45 a person, with drinks. I was having sticker shock last night, and actually until I began writing this post. My general feeling is that restaurants like that are too pretentious for their own good, but, while I think it was somewhat overpriced I do have to admit that the food was amazingly good, even if they did seem rather fond of making food into foam.
This is what we had for dinner:
-Soup shots (yes, that is what it sounds like- soup in a shot glass) The soup was a broccoli puree with parmesan foam.
-Acorn squash salad with pinenuts and manchengo cheese
-Prawns a la plancha with lemon garlic butter & creamy crab rice
-Warm wild salmon & chiodini mushrooms with clam and garlic foam
-Lavender honey glazed Long Island duck breast (I don’t remember what came with this but I think it was fancy mashed potatoes)
-Date & mint crusted Australian lamb sirloin with garlic chive purée and cumin scented carrots
We also had a drink each, and I had something called a cucumber gimlet, which was incredibly good, and I now want to learn how to make cucumber infused vodka so I can make my own cucumber gimlets. YUM. (I also had a berry berrytini with dessert (after the play), so I was on a roll with good drinks that came in fancy glasses.)

3 thoughts on “Cortez

  1. jo

    Sounds like you were at a tapas restaurant. One of my favorite places to eat and yes, it can get expensive with a capital E.

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