By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov
A tiny Nob Hill restaurant, named after a French village (of sentimental value to owner Jean-luc Kayigire) is fittingly located in a cozy basement of Alliance Francaise offices in San Francisco. Intimately darkish mirrored interior with coppertone highlights and red-glass candleholders on white tablecloths, vintage posters on the walls, live guitar, and a well-lit granite countertop, separating dining room from an open kitchen, set the scene for delicious French tapas and great wines – all in starring roles.
Chef Nathan Ivry – tall, dark, and handsome, and clad in black is a pleasure to watch when he moves between the stove top and the oven, tossing up searing greens or pulling out grilled oysters not one second later than necessary for perfection.
When I asked Chef Ivry, how did he make the staple of French cuisine – steak frites –so memorable with soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside potato sticks, he replied simply, “I’m Irish. I know potatoes.” Not just potatoes, mind you. I always pay attention to the sides that can make or break a foie gras presentation. No, scratch that, foie gras by any other name… However, embellishing a foie gras torchon with a little garnish of mission figs, pistachios, and honey thyme gastrique instead of often overplayed and overwhelming sweet berry preserves to me was a testament to Chef Ivry’s impeccable taste.
His spice crusted ahi in a fragrant tomato-shellfish broth was accompanied by a smart tonnato crostini, and was ocean-fresh, meaty and full of flavor. Ivry most recently worked at Jardiniére as well as Flying Saucer and Grand Café.
Our server and volunteer wine consultant John Prudenti made this excellent dining experience complete with some keeper wines from the Moussy’s well thought-through list. Gosset Brut and Marquis de la Tour sparkling rose from France made a great ménage-a-trois with those Washington Skookum oysters, lightly grilled and dusted with garlic breadcrumbs. Sancerre sauv blanc 2007 was refreshingly crisp and smooth, followed by funky Paul Jaboulet Aine Cote du Rhone 2007, composed of grenache and syrah (and close to being addictive), and a full-bodied beauty – Chateau Cazat-Beauchene Bordeaux merlot/cab sauv 2007, with a tiny new rubber aroma and a great satisfying taste.
Moussy’s dinner menu is deceptively short and simple, but far from ordinary in a nice price range from $4.00 to $16.00. The restaurant also serves a weekend brunch and offers happy hour specials Tuesday - Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Closed Monday.
Moussy’s is located at 1345 Bush Street, between Polk and Larkin, San Francisco. For more information and reservations call (415) 441-1802 or visit moussys.com.