Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bar Agricole: Great place for cocktails in SOMA

Bar Agricole is a great addition to the SOMA bar and restaurant scene. Bar Agricole advertises as a modern urban tavern but it's much much more than a simple bar. It's a blend of San Francisco foodie heaven and an ultra-hip mixologist bar scene. Bar Agricole's inconspicuous outer facade tells nothing of its beautiful and creative use of space. Once you enter the front door off busy 11th Street, you are immediately greeted by an open courtyard of tables, rare in San Francisco let alone SOMA. Past the outdoor drinks area (sadly the don't allow food outside) is the actual restaurant. The restaurant's decor is impeccable. The refurbished wood tables, brushed concrete and savvy shapes of the furniture really make Bar Agricole stand out from other restaurants in town.

I'd say the booze is the main reason people come to Bar Agricole. The mixologists behind the bar are excellent at mixing up delicious concoctions. The drink menu has exotic drinks such as the Knickerbocker Swizzle, Whiz-Bang and Monkey's Gland and some steady favorites like the Scotch Sour and Old Fashioned. It's a real treat to sit at the bar and watch the bartenders whip up these creative drinks.

We had a vastly different experience with the food. We ordered a few appetizers at the bar as we enjoyed our drinks but unfortunately the bartender did not "warn" us what we were ordering. We ordered the king salmon gravlax which was delicious but when the second plate came out it clearly wasn't risotto balls. At this point, the Maitre D' approached us and said, "It's good to see adventurous eaters." We knew we were in trouble as he went on to explain the dish in front of us was boiled sliced cow's head. Yes, cow's head, cartilage and all. We didn't want to crush his heart so we decided to be adventurous and give it a try. It tasted like boiled cow's head, but oddly enough my friend ate it up. All in all, the food at Bar Agricole is too foodie and pretentious for me. I like to be able to read the menu and know what I'm ordering thus Bar Agricole is a drinks-only establishment for me. I do wish our bartender had said something when we ordered, because boiled cow head is just not a normal dish to have on a menu. If you are going to have exotic menu items in another language, the entire staff, bartenders and all, should be trained to discuss (I mean warn) the menu with customers.

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