Review: Volta.

I honestly can’t keep up with the Bay Area’s dining scene. New restaurants popping up left and right and my bookmarks tab on Yelp is growing indefinitely.

The newest restaurant from the team that created Perbacco and Barbacco (both Italian restaurants in the city) just opened in December near San Francisco’s Westfield Shopping Mall. Unlike their previous restaurants, Volta is a French brassiere inspired restaurant with Scandinavian influences. The new space is pretty swanky and sleek, perfectly fitting in with the downtown area. Volta has a large selection of dishes from the raw bar, charcuterie, appetizers, and main courses.

Amuse Bouche: Radishes with Herb Butter.

We started off with the amuse bouche, fresh radishes with herb butter. Simple but tasty. We also received some bread to go along with the same herb butter which was good but the bread was slightly on the hard side.

Classic Steak Tartare with Quail Egg (7.5-8/10).

The steak tartare was classically prepared with capers, shallots, cornichons, and egg yolk. The only non traditional component was beets which gave the tartare a nice sweet flavor. My only criticism is that I would have wanted a little more acid to bring all the flavors together (salt level was spot on though).

Toasted Bread for the Tartare.

Skagen: North Atlantic Shrimp with Dill Horseradish Sauce, White Fish Roe, and Toasted Brioche (8/10).

The skagen, more Scandinavian inspired, was essentially a deconstructed sandwich with toasted pieces of brioche, tender little shrimp tossed in a dill horseradish sauce, pops of white fish roe, bitter slices of radishes, and aromatic greens. One of their signature appetizers is the herring x5, five preparations of herring, which I would have loved to try but my father is not a fan of that type of fish (anchovies, sardines, mackerel). Another popular appetizer is their house cured gravlax, definitely a crowed pleaser.

Köttbullar: Swedish Beef and Pork Meatballs with Potato Purée, Lingonberries, and Pressed Cucumber (8.5/10).

For main courses, I knew I had to try the köttbullar, Swedish meatballs, and they were one of my favorite dishes of the meal. These beef and pork meatballs were juicy and flavorful served with creamy potato purée, tart lingonberries, and pressed cucumber. Definitely order this.

Dry Aged Duck Breast with Seville Orange Panade, Roasted Turnips, and Mandarins (7/10).

The dry aged duck breast was good but didn’t compare to the meatballs. The duck breast was cooked well, tender and tasty, but the skin wasn’t crispy enough. It was served with panade (similar to a bread pudding texture) topped with roasted white turnips and juicy mandarins. Another main dish that looked delicious was the boeuf bourguignon, a classic French dish of stewed beef in red wine with onions, carrots, and mushrooms.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (6.5/10).

The side of brussels sprouts were yummy but not the best I’ve had.

Toasted Chamomile Tea Crème Brûlée with Mandarins, Lemon Tuile, and Honey Cream (8.5/10).

Éclair with Vanilla Cream, Pecan Butter, and Caramelized Pecans (7/10).

White Chocolate and Passionfruit Ice Cream with Caramel Shortbread (8/10).

Lingonberry Jellies with Honeycomb.

Now their dessert list had more than I was expecting, making it difficult to decide what to order! One of my all time favorite desserts is crème brûlée, creamy custard with crunchy caramelized sugar on top. What’s not to like?! I love pretty much anything tea flavored since I’m a tea fanatic so I loved the toasted chamomile tea flavor. It was served with a lemon tuile (a thin baked wafer), honey cream, and these mandarin flavor bombs that were coated in caramelized sugar on the outside but raw and juicy inside. The éclair was my least favorite out of the desserts, it seemed to be lacking something. The white chocolate passionfruit ice cream was stellar. Sometimes white chocolate can be cloyingly sweet but the passionfruit balanced it out with its natural tartness and was served with caramel shortbread, yum!

For only being open for about a month, the food at Volta was solid. Straightforward and delicious. Overall, Volta surprised me and I liked the fact that there was a choice between classic French dishes as well as Scandinavian dishes that I don’t get to eat as much. From the food to the service, everything was great so my rating is an 8/10.

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