*By Suzie “Saucy Mama” Barhyte*
Our good friends’ – Ron and Patricia – daughter, Sabrina Matlin, is GM at Verbena Restaurant on Russian Hill in San Francisco. They were singing the praises of the restaurant and said we must eat there while in town for the Fancy Food Show. So, I had Ron make reservations for Colette, Natalie, Melissa and me, and off we went. What a wonderful experience we had…
We entered through tall, heavy antique doors into a space that was simultaneously earthy and elegant with a touch of whimsy. We were taken to our table and got to meet Sabrina. She was as charming as I had imagined.
We ordered house specialty cocktails; everyone had something different so we could all taste. I ordered the Victory and Brightness! cocktail which was an incredible mixture of gin, kina, lime, grapefruit shrub, jalapeno and orange bitters. Deliciousness.
For dinner, we put ourselves in the very capable hands of the kitchen, headed up by Sean Baker, and we were so glad we did. They brought us their favorite dishes (check out some of our photos below), and we loved them all. Some dishes were vegan, yet you would not even know it. We enjoyed everything from black mole meatballs to Koji quail to cardoons and parsnips.
Verbena’s wine manager, Michael Ireland, came over to help with our wine selection. Not only did this fellow know his wines, but he was also very good to look at! The wine he helped us choose was very much like the food served at Verbena- complex, but extremely approachable and comforting.
Verbena, which opened just recently in December 2013, uses all locally sourced ingredients from California farms to create their dishes and is reasonably priced, especially for the quality of the food. If you’re in San Francisco, we highly recommend dining at Verbena.
A special thank you to Sabrina, and all the staff at this wonderful restaurant, whom made our dinner experience so very fun and welcoming!