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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

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My fin-de-year confession: I can do without necessities, but I can't without luxuries. Just give me shiny. Chaya Brasserie on Embarcadero in SF could not be beat for this New Year's overnighter with their Brazilian carnival dancers entertainment and firework views from every seat in the house. Add to that an elaborate menu and some absinthe-soaked-sugar-cube cocktail, and that's what I call celebrating the biggest night of the year in style. Even amuse buche came in a threesome--blue fin tuna tartare, hamachi carpaccio roll, and crab temari sushi, followed by a trio of appetizers--Wagyu beef and lobster roll, scallop with lobster coulis, and blue prawn cocktail. After that, a fish course of halibut with Dungeness crab and artichoke gratin seemed like it could benefit from less work on its porcini champagne fondue, which beautifully covered the white fish as a thin layer of brown velvet. Every porcini lover will attest that this mushroom must be treated with respect, and never reduced to a paste for whatever reason. A meat course of filet mignon with foie gras mousse (very nice touch), creamed spinach, and always appropriate potato puree, was flawless if not fully enjoyed by anyone of normal shape and weight after all those delicacies that preceded it. Need I say that I made a New Year's resolution right then and there to start a vegetarian diet for the rest of my life? Yeah, right.

Chaya Brasserie is located at 132 The Embarcadero, San Francisco. 415-777-8688.


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