Review: Aster.

Well, I’m finally back in California! I can’t believe that I’m officially here in the Bay Area for good…for now. I’ve been home for almost two weeks already and honestly I haven’t gone out to eat much. However last night I went to Aster, a casual restaurant in the Mission District in San Francisco.

The chef, Brett Cooper, along with the Daniel Patterson Group just opened this restaurant back in March which showcases the epitome of Californian cuisine. Brett Cooper formerly worked at Coi, a two Michelin star restaurant owned by chef Daniel Patterson, and Outerlands which are both located in San Francisco.

Aster’s menu is divided into small bites, appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Since the majority of the dishes are on the smaller side, they recommend each person orders one dish from each category.

Sourdough Bread with House Cultured Butter.

Sourdough Bread with House Cultured Butter.

We started off with warm sourdough bread and house cultured butter and seriously, how can you go wrong with bread and butter?!

King Salmon, Peach, Almond, Chili Oil, and Basil (8.5/10).

King Salmon, Peach, Almond, Chili Oil, and Basil (8.5/10).

The King salmon tartare was divine; cured tender pieces of salmon paired with small chunks of sweet juicy peaches, bitter crunchy radishes, almonds, and fresh mint. Definitely a winner.

Cucumber, Cherries, Preserved Meyer Lemon, Avocado, and Coriander (8/10).

Cucumber, Cherries, Preserved Meyer Lemon, Avocado, and Coriander (8/10).

Next, the cucumber salad, which could be boring and bland, was surprisingly amazing. Big chunks of refreshing marinated cucumber with dark red cherries and sour preserved Meyer lemon all nestled on top on creamy avocado cream and topped with cilantro blossoms.

Green Garlic Soup, Croutons, Pickled Fennel, and Lemon (8/10).

Green Garlic Soup, Croutons, Pickled Fennel, and Lemon (8/10).

The velvety green garlic soup was also delicious and comforting with nice crunchy pieces of croutons, pickled fennel, and a plethora of herbs including bronze fennel fronds (anise flavor), mint, and coriander.

Rabbit Meatballs, Morel Mushrooms, Fava Beans, and Vadouvan (7/10).

Rabbit Meatballs, Morel Mushrooms, Fava Beans, and Vadouvan (7/10).

The rabbit meatballs were tender and juicy but could have packed more of a punch of flavor for my liking. However, the accompaniments of earthy morel mushrooms and vibrant fava beans were super tasty.

Black Pepper Potato Dumplings, Maitake Mushrooms, Peas, and Turnip (7.5-8/10).

Black Pepper Potato Dumplings, Maitake Mushrooms, Peas, and Turnips (7.5-8/10).

The only main course we ordered was the black pepper potato dumplings, a solid flavorful dish. The dumplings were slightly heavier and denser than an Italian style gnocchi but still delicious with maitake mushrooms, spring peas, and baby turnips all on top of a creamy lemony sauce.

Beetroot and Rhubarb Cremeux, White Chocolate, and Hazelnut (7.5/10).

Beetroot and Rhubarb Cremeux, White Chocolate, and Hazelnut (7.5/10).

Frozen Chocolate, Kumquat, Cocoa Nib, and Basil (8/10).

Frozen Chocolate, Kumquat, Cocoa Nib, and Basil (7.5-8/10).

They only have three desserts on the menu and all of them sounded extremely creative. The beetroot and rhubarb cremeux, similar to a panna cotta, was silky and topped with white chocolate mousse, pieces of tangy rhubarb, and lime zest. The frozen chocolate mousse had small pieces of marshmallow with sweet and sour kumquat jelly, cocoa nibs, and fresh aromatic herbs.

Aster was a delicious meal showcasing innovative food with beautiful seasonal ingredients.  Overall, Aster was a solid meal especially since the restaurant has only been open for a few months so my rating is a 8/10.

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