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We celebrated my hubby's 60th birthday tonight at Acquerello.

Highly recommended and much better execution than our experience at SPQR which is another place that does "new-style Italian cuisine".

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Orange juice and vermouth

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Smoked mascarpone and herb financiers

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Lobster beignets with espelette pepper

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Savory egg custard, mint and pea puree, white chocolate-almond dust", pea shoots

The custard was lighter than air which told me that someone in the kitchen has serious attention to detail. It made me sit up and take notice.

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Butter is house-made, topped with lava salt. The dish with the sea salt has a mother-of-pearl spoon.

I judge restaurants by the bread they serve. At Acquerello, it's piping hot, fresh from the oven.

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Venetian seafood salad - with mackerel, pickled shrimp, calamari, trout roe and finger lime

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Smoked sturgeon galetta with leeks, crème fraiche, brioche and ossetra caviar

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Risotto with abalone, roasted turnips and seaweed.

B prononced it one of the best he's ever eaten. Each grain of rice was distinct and fused with flavor.

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Raviolo with slow-roasted tomato, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano crema, served with brown butter and balsamic.

 

 

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Turbot with Taggiasca olives, potato, clams and brown butter.

Not very visually appealing but it did taste wonderful.

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Sea scallops, cauliflower, blood orange, candied kumquats.

This was interesting and well-prepared but not something I would order again. Flavors were on point though. FYI, Acquerello's food is "modern Italian". I thought it was operating at a higher level than that of SPQR.

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Cheese cart.

All selections are Italian. The cart is arranged so that cheeses in the background are hard and those in the foreground are soft. Cheeses on the left side are the most intense and those on the right side are fairly mild.

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Vin santo

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Cheese plate.

Clockwise from upper left: buffalo milk cheese; aged cow's milk and sheep's milk cheese mixed with Barolo wine; sheep's milk cheese; hazelnuts and raisins mixed with chestnut honey; apricot marmellata; candied fennel.

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Napoletano - strawberry mousse layered over pistachio mousse, surrounded by chocolate mousse, covered with white chocolate and served with 66% dark Caraïbe chocolate.

When I reserved, I mentioned to staff that my hubby's birthday was the occasion and they pulled out all the stops.

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Birthday dessert plate.

Clockwise from left: lychee-apricot panna cotta with apricot coulis; meringue; dark chocolate truffle over chocolate ganache; chocolate bar.

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Clockwise from foreground: vanilla spongecake stuffed with pastry cream, soaked in Italian liqueur; chocolate caramel; almond cookie.
 
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Wine list - wines-by-the-glass page.
 
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Total bill was $459 (including tax and 20% tip) for two people. 
 
This place is definitely on our "return" list. Simply lovely.

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What a wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing. Having been to SPQR but not Acquerello I certainly want to get to the latter when I am next in San Francisco. That said, SPQR is much more casual in it's design and execution, no?

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24 minutes ago, Keithstg said:

What a wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing. Having been to SPQR but not Acquerello I certainly want to get to the latter when I am next in San Francisco. That said, SPQR is much more casual in it's design and execution, no?

yes, it is

but the difference in quality of service between the two are miles apart

for instance, we were both wearing dark pants and mere seconds after having sat down, were given dark napkins instead of white napkins so that our pants wouldn't be marred by white flecks.

after B made his cheese selections, they plated the cheese, then waited until my dessert was ready before serving both plates. 

we mentioned to the sommelier that we were interested in Italian wines and were given multiple tastings to help narrow down our choices.

it's this attention to detail that I felt set Acquerello apart compared to SPQR. That we loved the food at the former is the literal cherry on top.

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oh, one more thing.

you can actually hear conversations at your table without having to shout to make yourselves heard. this town has very little white tablecloth restaurants particularly on the high-end. we should do all we can to keep such places in business.

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