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Friday, December 2, 2011

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By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri KrasovDobbs Ferry restaurant, newly open in the San Francisco Opera-Symphony district, is named after a close to the proprietors’ hearts New York town overlooking the Hudson, and is decorated with black-and-white photographs of the said location.The ambiance is dark-wood simple and elegant, and the food, orchestrated by the executive chef Mike Yakura, is familiar, yet inspired and creative. I would call it inviting.Start with the original house cocktails mixed by Evans Horn – Flight of the Bumble Bee (rather symphonic) and Elderflower Rickey.The former smoothes out Hedrick’s gin with honey and lemon, and the latter is delicate and refreshing with Belvedere vodka, St. Germain, and lime.
Out of the Smaller-ish Plates (that’s how they are cutely called on the menu) pizza frites is a great example of a familiar food creatively rethought.Pizza dough stripes, redolent of Parmesan, are bathed in chili- and roasted garlic-enhanced marinara. They are as addictive as potato fries, and as satisfying as a perfectly baked pizza.
A never-to-be-missed house cured salmon comes with all the necessary regalia – it is placed on a tender potato pancake with a layer of chive cream, and is topped with shaved marinated white and red onions and fried capers.If you know anything better than cured salmon on potato pancake, I challenge you to name it. Dobbs Ferry’s salmon is still a notch above any other.Fried pumpkin is kabocha squash in Panko crumbs, placed over melted goat cheese, and topped with frisee salad and cinnamon-honey vinaigrette – a little plate of pure decadence.Accompany any or all of those dishes with a glass of white-burgundy-style J. Moss chardonnay from Windsor Oaks Vineyard, and you’ll know harmony.
Of the Pizza & Pastas, anything with house-made meatballs is a hit – and you can order a side of meatballs with any pasta plate.Fluffy and flavorful, pork meatballs are made following an old New York recipe with lots and lots of parsley, breadcrumbs and Parmesan, and some water added for lighter texture. They are almost falling apart, but they don’t, and are simply fantastic.
Another old New York masterpiece is the first item on Roasts & Entrees, and is called Chicken Scarpariello “Shoemaker Chicken.”Roasted half-chicken comes with sides of Italian sausage, potatoes, and pickled pepperoncini in a thin sauce created by their brine leeching into the garlicky chicken stock. It is comfort food, but with unexpected sophistication of sharper salty-peppery notes. A great dish for sharing, not only because the portion is large, but also because you won’t be able to abstain from sharing the joy.For dessert, try flourless chocolate cake topped with Strauss Farms vanilla ice cream and drizzled with mint and shaved chocolate.
Besides the cozy dining room with tables for two and four with chairs, the restaurant has an additional more private seating with booths.Both dining areas are connected by a kitchen. The bar area has high tables, banquettes, and counter seating. Dobbs Ferry specializes in group events and off-premise catering.
Dobbs Ferry is located at 405 – 409 Gough Street in San Francisco. Open for dinner nightly, for lunch Monday – Friday, and for brunch on weekends. For more information and reservations call (415) 551-7700 or visit


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