Thursday, 7pm: dinner at Ame
689 Mission Street
Ame is billed as fancy-pants New American cuisine, but it has a definite Asian flavor to it (from the sashimi bar to the yuzo and sake flavoring many dishes). Pam and I wandered in here without a reservation but had no trouble getting a table at such an early hour on a Thursday. The staff were a little stiff (it *is* an elegant place with lots of high-backed chairs and heavy drapes) but welcoming enough. I think we may have been a bit of a disappointment to them, only ordering entrees and a single glass of wine (about which the waiter practically insisted that Pam order a Pinot Noir with her Black Cod. Little did he know Pam - she got what she wanted, which wasn't a Pinot).
The food here is very good, with plenty of subtle flavors and interesting ingredients. Pam had the house signature dish, the Broiled Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in Shiso Broth. It was very fabulous - all the flavors balanced just right. I tried the Seared Maine Diver Scallops on Cauliflower Puree with Bacon Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Truffle Sauce. The scallops were sweet, tender, and lovely - and were cooked perfectly. Other elements of the dish were more of a miss. The cauliflower puree, for example, tasted a little musty (and not in the good truffley way one might hope, but in an odd basement-smell kind of way). Also, the brussel sprouts were thin on the ground, as was the bacon.