If you’ve ever wondered what the best seat in the Wine Cask’s magnificent Gold Room might be (short of near the fireplace on a chill evening), that question is easily answered now—at the new Chef’s Counter where the bar used to be. You get a bit of elevation to scan the room, but even better, you get to indulge in Chef Brandon Hughes’s weekly market-driven three-course menus paired with regional wines.
On David Rosner’s farmer’s market tour, attendees check out produce stands with chef, learning about each ingredient before returning to the Chef’s Feasting Bar at the Wine Cask, where Rosner will whip up a customized three-course dinner. One bite of the wild arctic char with dragon fruit and pea shoots, and you’ll understand why in-season produce calls the shots.
Located in the historic El Paseo complex in the Presidio neighborhood, Wine Cask is surrounded by a many other restaurants yet, it stands out with its attention to detail, and the independent and entrepreneurial spirit of its owners, who are very hands-on in their approach. They like to be present and enjoy working with their team. Together, they have created a truly innovative and epicurean menu.
The Chef’s Counter is definitely a fun place for a night out with that special someone, but the counter’s close proximity to the kitchen and one-on-one interaction with the chef also makes it a nice option for dining alone.
Wine Cask pairs impeccable food with a romantic courtyard setting. The expansive cellar accentuates Central Coast selections.
Later that evening, I take my seat at the communal high-top table inside Wine Cask Restaurant. I am served a plate decorated with one large prawn, fiddleheads (the fronds of a young fern), roasted hearts of palm, turnip puree and delicate zucchini blossoms I’d selected at the farmers market. The blossoms retained the complete shape of both flower and stem, yet crunched and melted in your mouth, finishing with a burst of extra-virgin olive oil. The lavender buds I spied earlier that day took the form of an infusion in a decadent creme brulee. In between was Chef David’s Bouillabaisse with Local Sea Bass. The meal was regional, sustainable and delicious beyond words.