The only Portuguese restaurant in San Francisco resides in quiet Noe Valley.
Being the only Portuguese restaurant I’ve come across in the city, Uma Casa has been on my list for quite some time now. When Bauer’s review initially came out, it sounded like the food needed some finessing so I waited awhile before visiting the restaurant. The menu is divided into snacks, soups and salads, raw seafood, small plates, large plates, and desserts. We tried dishes from almost every category except the raw seafood and large dishes.
Decent chips but the accompanying sauce tasted diluted and a little bland.
There were two types of homemade bread: a white loaf and cornbread. Both were decent but the cornbread could have been more moist. The accompanying butters were tasty (olive and chorizo flavored) and definitely helped amp up the breads.
Nicely browned turnovers were stuffed with shrimp and a creamy béchamel sauce with a spicy piri piri aioli. I would have liked more shrimp pieces stuffed inside.
One of their signature dishes was one of the highlights of the meal. Salt cod was shredded into pieces and made into “patties” and deep fried into delicious fritters. Served with a vibrant cilantro mayonnaise, these are a must get.
A simple summer heirloom tomato salad with crunchy Persian cucumber, creamy goat cheese (they were a little stingy with the cheese) and a sweet red wine reduction which really made the salad.
The pork riblets needed to be more tender; I expected them to be falling off the bone. The spicy passion fruit glaze was one dimensional with just a tart flavor; I wanted more depth with a balance of sweetness, sourness, and spiciness.
Another highlight of the meal was this cornmeal crusted octopus that was tender with a nice crispy exterior. The red pepper sauce underneath was sweet and the various summer vegetables were a great addition.
The puff pastry didn’t taste as fresh as it could have been and the almond mousse didn’t necessarily have an intense almond flavor. Overall a decent dessert but lacked something to elevate the dish.
While none of the dishes were necessarily bad, I felt that almost every dish at Uma Casa could have a been better in terms of flavor or cooking technique. Perhaps my expectations are too high but I expect quality at these pricey San Francisco restaurants. Therefore my rating is a 7/10.