Monday, April 14, 2008

Parent's Pick: Piperade

Dining out with my parents and their friends always proves to be an interesting experience. The conversation is that much more educated and the wine that much more expensive. On Saturday night my boyfriend Ryan and I, met my parents and four of their friends at Piperade, for (as expected) a spectacular meal and intriguing dialogue. My mother’s directions to this restaurant were shaky at best, she told me it was on Green Street between Union and Battery. Basically Green and Union run parallel, so that was impossible, and because I trusted an out-of-towner with the directions, I drove around for an extra half and hour trying to find this hidden gem. Piperade is actually located on Battery between Green and Union, at the base of Telegraph Hill and on the edge of the Financial District.

Piperade is not only the name of a fabulous restaurant it is also the name of a dish from the Basque region, which borders France and Spain. This signature dish combines tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, and eggs. Unfortunately, no one in our party of eight ordered it; however, we did try just about everything else on the menu—all of which were amazing. The menu offers small plates that are great for sharing, and entrée size meals. A few of the small plates include: warm sheep’s milk cheese and ham terrine, piquillo peppers with goat cheese, California raisins and moscatel vinaigrette, and whole prawns with garlic, parsley and lemon. The bigger plate options featured: marinated lamb chops with thyme and aged sherry vinegar, bistro steak with caramelized shallots, gascon fries and portobellos, and (of course) Pipérade with sautéed Serrana ham and a poached egg.

The wine list at Piperade is not at all overshadowed by the delectable food. There are nearly 200 wines on the extensive list, and they are proud to feature Basque wines from France, Spain, and California. Emmauel Kemiji, Master Sommelier at Piperade, seems very passionate about the wine and is proud to serve wines from boutique wineries and artisans. The wine at our table never stopped flowing, between the reds and whites, Roses and Pinots, each sip was as refreshing as the last.

The ambiance at Piperade was fabulous. A huge chandelier, made from wine bottles, lit the restaurant perfectly. The wooden chairs and tables gave it a comfortable feel, while still being upscale. The bar was bustling and the service was great. Piperade is open for lunch and dinner, and there is also a sheltered outdoor patio! I have nothing but great things to say about this place, which as you know isn’t always the case.