Great Scott! (NOW CLOSED)

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Scott Howard was recently named one of San Francisco’s Top 100 Restaurants by the Chronicle.  And after checking out their menu online, I was inspired to pay a visit.

The restaurant’s decor is dominated by warm orange, amber, and brown tones.  It’s just one big room, so if it gets crowded, it gets noisy.  Very warm and classy, but it wasn’t terribly inspired.

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Anyways, my hubby and pal J. Lo started by sharing two appetizers between the three of us.  First up, the Tempura Tiger Shrimp with a spicy chipotle dipping sauce and mache salad.  The shrimp were big, juicy, and the coating crisp, not to heavy, and perfectly fried.  The dipping sauce had the bold flavor of chipotle and enough spice and zest to give it the perfect kick.  What a great dish!

We also shared the Crispy Duck Confit, though there wasn’t much that was crispy on the plate.  The duck meat had a good flavor that was slightly sweet and was accompanied by juicy cherries and earthy porchini mushrooms on the plate.  But the duck meat was slightly drier than I’d like, and like I said, there was no crispy duck skin to speak of anywhere.  It turned out to be the weakest dish of the night, though the presentation was still beautiful.

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For the main course, J. and I both ordered the Short Ribs with creamed spinach and tomato jus.  Talk about tender!  The meat barely needed my knife!  It was marbled with enough fat to make it juicy and succulent.  And the creamed spinach was both fresh and decadent, without being overpowered by the cream.  A simply perfect combo.

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We also ordered a side of Orzo Mac and Cheese.  Oh…my…gawd!  Decadent and creamy gooeyness!  And the tomato jus on top was like a squeeze of really good gourmet ketchup!  If you go, just get it.  Enough said.

My hubby had the Roasted Venison with wild asparagus.  It was cooked to a beautiful medium rare.  The meat was nice and lean, tender, and incredibly flavorful.  Not gamey at all.  And the wild asparagus was fresh and mild.  The perfect partner to the lean meat.

We finished off our meal with the Chocolate Lavender Ice Cream with Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies.  What a great spin on two classic desserts!  The lavender infused the mild chocolate ice cream with a floral note that was fresh and comforting.  Just like lavender should!  And the cardamom flavor was prominent in the cookies.  It made them incredibly different from any other chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had.  Very spicy and earthy.  Ice cream and cookies may seem ordinary, but this was a delightfully different dessert.

My biggest complaint?  The bathrooms!  One had a symbol of a man on the door, the other a woman, and the other two were apparently unisex!  Yet everyone was using all four individual bathrooms as unisex!  What confusion.  And a high end restaurant serving such interesting dishes should definitely do a better job of keeping their bathrooms clean.

Other than that, the service was friendly, pacing perfect, and the food was inventive and delicious.

Scott Howard – 500 Jackson St., San Francisco, 415.956.7040

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