I snagged a late Sunday dinner reservation at Ernest, a recently opened (for sit-down dining) restaurant from Brandon Rice, formerly the chef de cuisine at Rich Table. I’m a big fan of Rich Table, so was keen to try out chef Rice’s new venture.
Like Rich Table, they have a “let the kitchen cook for you” option available for $95, which is what I had.
SF Bay Anchovies, Kennebec Chips
A bunch of things from the raw bar and snacks part of the menu came out all at once. This was a nice chips and dip. The onion dip was light with a lot of chopped chives and a few cured(?) anchovies on top.
I forget what oyster this was but it was fat, fresh and perfectly shucked. Condiments were a house made hot sauce and mignonette.
I didn’t see this on the menu. Nice deviled egg half with a mayonnaise sauce.
Avocado, Cilantro, Saltines
Basically a coctel de camarones with some nicely cooked shrimp, avocado chunks, a spicy tomato sauce, and a lot of cilantro.
Sushi Rice, Ikura, Toasted Nori
Very pretty presentation, and also delicious. A layer of sushi rice topped with a layer of beef tartare topped with a generous helping of cured salmon roe. It was served with 4 sheets of Nori. I made hand rolls with them. Minor quibble - the nori could have used just a bit more toasting to make it crispier.
Live Scallop Sashimi
Cucumber, HMB Wasabi
Another pretty presentation. Fresh, sweet scallop in a sauce of a bit of olive oil(?) and something acidic, maybe citrus. Topped with thinly sliced cucumber and some flower buds, and a little bit of wasabi. This was really good.
Parker House Rolls
House Cultured Butter & Its Milk
The next series of courses were these rolls and the “Lo Mein.” I’m a sucker for a good Parker House roll, and these were quite good. Warm and fluffy and buttery. I didn’t use much of the butter as I ended up dipping them in the pasta sauce.
Sea Urchin “Carbonara”, Olivier’s Bacon
I’m not sure what makes this lo mein (or Carbonara) but it was very good. And very rich. Creamy sauce with just a bit of uni flavor, with little bits of smoky bacon, and Parm. The noodles were quite nice, I think made in-house. A lot of extra sauce, which I mopped up with some of the Parker House rolls
BBQ Short Rib
Yu Choy, Serranos
Next were even more things! They said that it was a lot of food and they weren’t kidding. I ended up taking about half of the short rib and the fried rice home and had it for lunch the next day. This was a slab of slow cooked short rib topped with some peppers, with some yu choy and some hot Chinese style hot mustard on the side. The short rib was very tender and flavorful, covered with I think a Korean inspired glaze that was sweet and salty.
Koshihikari Fried Rice
Coachella Valley Corn, Cotija Cheese
I’m no Uncle Roger but I think I know a good fried rice, and this was quite good if a bit untraditional. The rice itself was cooked well and not clumped together, nice separate grains. With sweet corn and some salty crumbly cheese on top.
Aged Beef & Bone Marrow Dumplings
Oh yeah and there were also a couple of dumplings. Pretty good dumplings with a sweet and tangy Charcutière sauce, which I looked up - it’s usually made with white wine, demi glace, mustard, onions and cornichons. To be honest I couldn’t really pick out the bone marrow or the agedness of the beef though.
Soft Serve Sundae
Chocolate Magic Shell, Hazelnut
Finally dessert, which was soft serve ice cream covered with some magic shell poured on top at the table. A nice light sundae.
This was an excellent meal with friendly service. The chef’s menu is actually a pretty good value for the price and very generous amount of food and number of dishes to try, just come hungry.