One of the things I hear most often from fellow East Coast transplants in San Francisco is that they miss is the change of seasons. While I was home for Thanksgiving, I got a taste of a restaurant that changes with each season. Not just the menu, mind you -- come on, isn't everyone doing that by now? -- but everything from the menu to the furnishings and decor, to even the name of the restaurant itself. It's Park Avenue Autumn now, in December it'll become Park Avenue Winter, and so on.
Our family's party of eight was seated at a large, round wooden table and treated to an a amuse of sweet-tart caramel apple pops topped with seasoned bread crumbs. I popped one in my mouth and nibbled on gingerbread while poring over the menu. So many great-looking choices made it very difficult to decide.
I ultimately decided on an appetizer of Ricotta & Spinach Ravioli with Cider Lacquered Grapes, and an appetizer-sized portion of Local Diver Scallops with Red Delicious Apples in Lemongrass Broth for my main. The ravioli were al dente, buttery rich, and topped with toasted pine nuts and parm. The scallops were also beautifully prepared, swimming in a sea of tapioca pearls.
An entree size of the scallops is available, but I wanted to save room for several sides: Haricots Verts; Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts; Creamed Corn, Jicama & Thai Basil; and Broccoli & Cheetos. That's right, Cheetos. The menu even displays the registered trademark symbol, so you know it's the real thing. Cousin Jay thought it was "gimmicky," and I thought it was odd amidst a menu and ambiance that are the antithesis of the Cheeto. But oddly enough, it worked! Like Indian Summer, I suppose.
Dad is usually a very good sharer, and I'd wanted to get a taste of his Lamb Shank with Saffron Cauliflower, Mint & Pistachios -- but by the time I snapped out of the trance my own dishes had put me in, all that was left on his stark white plate was a large naked bone. Mom, on the other hand, saved me some of her Atlantic Cod with Butternut Creme Brulee and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms -- even thought it was her bargaining chip to score a taste of my scallops. It was worth the trade: the smoky cod with the sweet creme brulee was a real winner.
For dessert, I had trouble convincing my tablemates to order any, but a few forks all around ended up digging into the Chocolate Cube (a hard chocolate shell filled with cinnamon mousse and devil's food cake) and the Caramelized Banana Crepe, Frozen Maple Mousse & Crunchy Bacon Crumbs.
Fall is fleeting...in a few weeks Autumn will be gone. Looking forward to coming back to Park Avenue to see the change of seasons.
Fro Fro's FYI: If I have one note of caution, it would be to keep an eye on your wait staff and your bill. They poured a second bottle of wine without asking permission, and put not one, not two, but three bottles on the bill, one of which they removed at Uncle Billy's request.