Verbena is the new restaurant from Chef Sean Baker of Oakland's Gather. The hip Russian Hill restaurant is not a vegetarian restaurant, but its produce-focused menu is certainly vegetarian friendly.
Here, you will find hard-to-find ingredients in unusual combinations, like the Cardoons and Rhubarb with caramelized honey dressing, Douglas Fir yogurt, nepitella ($11)
Beets and Strawberries with black walnut beet miso, ginger, cress, and oxalis ($14)
Again, it isn't just about the vegetables. My favorite dish was the Meatballs braised in black mole with hominy cooked in whey, kale ($16)
Check out the cocktail list, as well. My friend had the Rocket and Rose (gin, strawberry, arugula-pepper syrup, lemon, genepy - $12)
For our entrees, my artichoke-loving friend had to order the Seared artichoke, asparagus, snap peas, black garlic, sorrel-cured lemon vinaigrette ($23)
Chicken thighs marinated in koji buttermilk, Sonoma grains cooked dirty, hot Portuguese pepper brown butter sauce ($25)
For dessert: Pea tendril cake, chamomile ice cream, rhubarb ($9)
I was pleasantly surprised by my dinner at Verbena. Most of the dishes either contain an ingredient that is new to me or bring together unusual components, and everything was done exquisitely. The meal left quite an impression on me and I still cannot forget that seed bread, the meatballs in mole, and the pea tendril cake.
2323 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Disclosure: This meal was partially hosted