We made dinner reservations for 8:30 because it was the earliest available on OpenTable, but we decided to go around 8 to have a cocktail at the bar as described in the bucket list. When we arrived, the bar was packed, and when we told the hostess we had an 8:30 reservation, she said a table was currently ready for us, so we decided to just go ahead and skip the bar. It was a nice bar though, with its own bar menu and featuring an old fashioned absinthe dripper (I'm sure that's not the technical name for it) that gave the area a fun, retro vibe which I definitely dug. Oh well, next time for sure.
In accordance with the directive of this bucket list item, one of my goals was to order a cocktail. I'm not a huge fan of the flavor of most liquors, which is why I tend to choose beer and wine over cocktails, but I chose the Galapagos at our waitress's recommendation. Dave, who is on a mission to like Scotch because he thinks it is manly, ordered an Oban 14, neat.
We also, of course, ordered the famous soft garlic pretzels, but it turns out we should have placed 2 orders, or 5, because they were really delicious. These pretzels have the honor of being included in the top 100 things to eat in San Francisco - the 7X7 Big Eat - for the last 3 years, which puts it in a very elite club. I am not generally a huge pretzel fan, but these may help change my mind. The order comes with 5 small rolls with a side of "Vermont Cheddar Mornay." The pretzels themselves are lightly crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and doused in my favorite thing of all time, herbed garlic oil. Dave chose to eat his without the cheese sauce, because he is a fool. I poured some cheese onto my bread plate to dip the pretzels into, and for the rest of the night I kept surreptitiously running my spoon (read: my finger) through the remaining sauce. It was really amazing. If the staff hadn't removed the plate after the pretzels were all gone, I very likely would have eaten the rest of the cheese sauce with a spoon (okay, okay, my finger). Sometimes dishes can't live up to their hype, but for me, these not only lived up to the hype, but possibly even exceeded it. Yum. Definitely a reason to return and visit the bar.
For my entree, I ordered the 7 oz. grilled black angus bistro filet, which came with creminis, sour cream & leek whipped potatoes, Worcestershire jus, asparagus, and fried garlic. I found this to be really delicious; the steak was cooked perfectly, the potatoes were creamy and well-seasoned, and I'm a stickler for fried garlic. I wouldn't say this entree was anywhere near as memorable as the pretzels, but I would definitely order it again and be perfectly excited about it.
Once again, the bucket list delivered. I had been meaning to try this place for years, and I am so glad my blog gave me a reason to finally do it. This will not be my only visit to Absinthe, even if I go back solely for the pretzels, which I know will haunt my most delicious of dreams.
Thank you Absinthe, for a great start to a very fun date night.