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Monday, December 19, 2011

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By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov

Why go to Skool on winter break? To share a couple of soul-warming cocktails, get some fresh “nightly fish” skillfully seared, grilled, or sauteed by Chef Toshihiro Nagano, and just chill out in the coolest little place in Potrero Hill neighborhood with tasteful décor, warm friendly atmosphere, and attentive service.

This kind of Skool is not to be missed day in or day out.
The new winter menu features more amazing dishes inspired by the traditional Japanese cuisine – healthy, satisfying, and positively umami with all the miso and soy sauces, eryngii and shimeji mushrooms, and house-made dashi.

A definite star on the menu is warm Rock Shrimp Salad with fresh arugula and tiny exotic mushrooms bathed in the most delicate citrus seaweed vinaigrette.

Uni Flan remains the signature dish of Skool, baked overnight, served in a glass jar, and topped with raw sea urchin and miso-marinated salmon roe. It comes with dainty toasts, just like foie gras, only with less fat, more omega-3s, and better coloring.

Sauteed Seabass, succulent and golden-brown, finds great company in charred baby bok choy and nasu dengaku – flash-fried eggplant, marinated in miso and baked the way its skin forms a little dish filled with its tender flesh. I love eggplant, eat it everywhere I can find it, and often cook it myself, but Skool’s nasu dengaku gotta be the king of all eggplant preparations.

The only, or rather the one and only meat dish on the menu of this seafood-oriented restaurant is Schezuan Lamb – probably the best lamb you’ve ever tried. Tender medium-rare Sonoma lamb chops are served with a side of polenta-and-parmesan cake, and ratatouille creating a winning combination of winter hits.

Skool’s comprehensive wine list features some wonderful California wines, among them Alternative Reds, like Pinot Meunier from Domaine Chandon in Carneros, and Alternative Whites, like “Fatto a Mano” Tocai Friulano from Mendocino.

As always, pastry chef Hiroko Nagano comes up with more creative takes on dessert classics. Not to be missed is Blue Cheese Cake made with Point Reyes blue, and surrounded with chardonnay-pouched pear, almonds, and honeycomb on a gorgeous matte ceramic plate.

Marchese Antinori vinsanto from Tuscany, and Robert Mondavi moscato from Napa Valley are the best tasting and the best looking dessert wines – especially upon the Skool’s walnut designer table.

A dynamic duo of husband-and-wife team Olia Kedik and Andy Mirabell are at the helm of the establishment, greeting customers, taking orders, and making sure everyone is well taken care of, in other words, creating that special ambiance that makes people run to Skool on winter break.
Skool Restaurant and Bar is located at 1725 Alameda Street in San Francisco, and is open nightly for dinner, for lunch Monday through Friday, and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Call for reservations: (415) 255 8800, or visit:


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