Nov. 24th, 2010

25 Lusk: A Refined Lounge in San Francisco

San Francisco Restaurants: Who: 25 Lusk

What: Refined lounge/restaurant meets superb ambiance with cocktails.

It is very rare when I come across a restaurant that is consistently impressive. The bar might have a great cocktail list, or the decor is note worthy, maybe the restaurant has a great appetizer list but the desert menu isn't up to par, regardless it is a rare occasion when there are no complaints. 25 Lusk has managed to create an environment that not only produces great food and cocktails, but makes you feel at home and relaxed. 25 Lusk is a much welcomed addition to the SOMA area.

"A 14 year dream shared by Matthew and I. We wanted to create a warm, unpretentious environment with impeccable food, a sophisticated yet approachable bar and wine program and polished service."Co-Owner, Chad Bourdon

The Space: Tucked away in a side street alley, the design team for 25 Lusk used the elements from the original structure to give the restaurant an industrial yet modern look. As soon as you enter you can't help but marvel in the clever design layout, the decorative details and the friendly staff that greet you. The view from any point is expansive and shows you the distinctive mark that is 25 Lusk.

The lower level is made up a bar and various spaces such as: a private dining area, individual "Make out" rooms and larger seating areas that can be sectioned off for private gatherings. In the middle of each seating area are sleek fireplaces surrounded by couches. Although food is available in the downstairs lounge, the real temptations are upstairs on the main dining room floor. A one-way mirrored kitchen allows you to see right into the action, another bar with modern aesthetics is tucked on the side and a fleet of stylish tables makeup the upper level.

The space perfectly reflects the personality of the restaurant and the vision of the owners.

The Food: Chef Mathew Dolan is the friendly chef behind the delectable menu. The food was flawless and consistent from the appetizers to the desserts. For dinner we opted to trust the chef and go with the chef choices. We simply let the chef know if we had any allergies or dislikes and waited for the plates to come out.
  • Roasted Pumpkin Soup - At first taste the creamy soup was sweet and tasted like vanilla with a bite of spice cleverly hidden as an aftertaste.

  • Foie gras served 2 ways - Not usually a fan of Foie gras, I was impressed with the combination of tastes. The first bite was a sweet version with fig, followed by a more savory version that literally melted in my mouth.

  • The scallops were tenderly prepared with caviar atop. In every bite I got a taste of the sea.
  • Quail was served with a ginger carrot sauce, sweetened onions hidden under a bed of Arugula. Yum.

  • The lamb was accompanied by an apple spearmint demi-glaze. *My favorite item on the menu

  • Dessert was an assortment of yummy concoctions made exclusively by the chef. Tarts, Passion Fruit Ice Cream, and even chocolate, I definitely recommend ordering and assortment of desserts, even if you don't eat your dinner.

The Cocktails: Michael Musil is the mastermind behind the beautifully designed bar space, impressive cocktail list and wine menu. His flair for design and setting up a bar is dominant in the space and adds the style that makes patrons want to come back.

With a full array of spirits and mixes, the bartenders not only have a great cocktail list, they are pretty great at bespoke drinks, just tell them the sprit. My favorite for the night was the Dark and Stormy. They even gave me the recipe to share...

Dark and Stormy - Served in a Snifter with Lime Wheel Garnish
  • 1 ? oz.. GOSLINGS RUM
  • ? oz. SIMPLE SYRUP

A few tid-bits:
  • Chad Bourdon and Chef Matthew Dolan that have known each other for 14 years and had dreams of opening a restaurant together...their dreams just came true.
  • Even the bathroom is well decorated.
  • They make great vodka cocktails.
  • Fresh rolls are served throughout your meal with warm butter on the side and sea salt.
  • Brunch will be served in early 2011 and will include a very "special" Bloody Mary cocktail only available during brunch.
  • There is no desire to turn 25Lusk into a night club, instead the focus will be keeping it a refined lounge with excellent bar food, cocktails and wines.
25 Lusk is a fine dining experience without having to pay the outrageous prices. The menu is diverse and unique yet easily understood and readable. I left completely charmed by the incredible management team, the delicious food and the friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Thank you 25 Lusk for a memorable evening. I look forward to seeing what else you innovators have up your sleeves!

25 Lusk Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Located off of Townsend Street between 3rd & 4th Street
Phone: 415.495.LUSK (5875)
Fax: 415.495.5877
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