It’s rare to find a restaurant with good ambiance, good service, good food, good drinks and a good price point. In my small inner circle, we call these places Champions. Several of our conversations before dinner go like this:
Friend A says, “Let’s go out to dinner.”
Friend B might reply, “Regular, Delivery, Drive through or Champion?”
Depending on the circumstance, Friend A might reply back, “Champion. I just got paid and I want to eat something worth my money.”
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, a lot of places have some of those things. Fewer have most of those things. A select minority manage to shine in each and every category.
For the past three years, every Christmas Eve since living in the Bay Area, I have nearly had an out of body experience at Chaya on the Embarcadero. Chaya, a well known Asian – French fusion Brasserie features a creative, seasonal menu that takes advantage of every ingredient the Bay Area has to offer. Definitely a Champion, I enjoy myself thoroughly from appetizer to dessert.
This year, dinner started with champagne (Round 1: Piper – Heidsieck, Round 2: Moët & Chandon) and two appetizers, the Warren Salad (Sliced Pears, Baby Beets, La Quercia Prosciutto, Creamy Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts, Baby Greens and a Cabernet Vinaigrette) and Crab Risotto with Lobster Fondue. It was flawless.
Our entrees were equally pleasing—I had the Soy Glazed Cod with Baby Bok Choy, Brown Rice and Tempura Green Beans; my husband had the Pan seared Bay Scallops with Butternut Squash Mascarpone Risotto, Pickled Fennel and Tempura Mushrooms. We also ordered the Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta for good measure. Rounding out the meal, we shared the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding and a Strawberry Ricotta Tart topped with a Coffee Bean Brittle. Coupled with Espresso and tea, we were in Heaven, on the Embarcadero.
I love and hate when everything on the menu looks interesting because I end up ordering EVERYTHING. Lol. This is a once a year splurge for us, and splurge we did.
Check it out:
Chaya Brasserie SF
132 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
Executive Chef: Yuko Kajino
Photo Credits: C. Collin, Ed W., Carrie L., Lisa I. (Yelp)