Fresh Off the Press @ Verbena, San Francisco

Shhhh... I'll let you in a secret. There is a new kid on the block. And no, it is not located in the Mission district, and it doesn't take months to make reservations.

Just a few months old, Verbena, the sister restaurant of the successful Gather in Berkeley,  surged to the top of my favorite San Francisco restaurants. Organic, fresh ingredients abound in this California-Asian cuisine inspired restaurant. My food vocabulary increased tremendously since I learned what napitella, cardoons, spedona and benne seed are. Have you heard of any of these? I sure haven't even with my years traveling the world to eat.

I came here with NY-based food blogger, sssourabh. Because of the obvious fact that we were just not one of their regular diners with 2 DSLRs clicking away, the waitstaff asked us for our suggestions at the end of the every major part of our meal. Of course, my dining partner and I were both candid on what we liked - the sprouted seed bread for me and pea tendril cake for him- and what we didn't like- too much jus on most of the dishes, particularly on the cheesecake with strawberries or what looked like a deconstructed parfait.

I wouldn't be surprised if a Michelin star is coming very soon for this contemporary styled establishment. Evidently, SF Weekly named Verbena as the Best New Restaurant of San Francisco 2014. So head there now before making reservations becomes a nightmare. 

Cardoons and rhubarb with caramelized honey dressing, Douglas Fir youghart and nepitella. Tangy and sweet. A unique take on not so popular vegetables.

A better version of a library since it is filled of jars with preserved veggies.

Sprouted seed bread - chevre and beet sauerkraut. Savory and packed with a lot of flavor even sans cheese. I would come back here just for this!

Strawberries and spedona, black-walnut miso, fennel, sugar. Presentation at its finest. This could very well be the second most beautiful salad I've ever seen. The undisputed one in Michelin star Lasarte, Barcelona.

Meaty charred carrots- smoked cashew, lemon verbena, perrine lemon-date molasses. Time to figure out how to charr carrots at home.
Smoked duck wings- kumquat hot sauce, celery, benne seed. I can never make this at home. Thus, must order again at Verbena.
Cheesecake with strawberry, pats, Douglas fir whip. Like the cheesecake in cubes but the strawberry jus overpowers this dessert.
The very leafy Pea Tendril Cake with chamomile ice cream and rhubarb. If you are a veggie eater, this one is for you! Be ready for a major leafy dessert.

A deconstructed chocolate custard with beet-cherry ice cream and Perrine lemon. For chocolate lovers indeed.

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