Address: 600 Stockton Street at California, Nob Hill, San Francisco
Phone Number: (415) 773-6168
Dining Partners: Mom, Hubby Bubz, Sis, Niecey-Poo Jayla
I love my mom.
That's a given, right?
March is our birthmonth and we always find a way to make it delicious. She called me one night and said she made reservations for us and our family at the newly opened Parallel 37. I can always count on my mom to find a great place for dinner. Parallel 37 and the Ritz Carlton have a special place in our hearts. Before there was Parallel 37, there was The Dining Room. It was known as THE place for fine dining in San Francisco thanks to Chef Ron Siegel. I went to The Dining Room back in 2008 with Cuzzin Star. It was simply amazing.
Well, we all know the economy went downhill...so did the volume of people eating out. Long story short, The Dining Room went bye-bye and Parallel 37 took its place - thankfully with Chef Siegel still in command. What IS Parallel 37? It is the line of latitude that goes through Northern California. Nice.
But! That's not the reason why the Ritz Carlton has a special place in our hearts. My mom was hired at the RC back on March 16, 1991. Yup, on my 7th birthday. She has been employed by them since then...so not only were we celebrating mom's birthday and my birthday, we were also celebrating mom's 21st anniversary at the hotel.
I have been familiar with the place since it's opening. I used to run through the hallways, sneak into the gym/spa, ate until I couldn't eat anymore at the holiday parties held at the grand ballroom, and hid in the showers in the women's lockeroom. I don't do that anymore, but imagine a 7-year-old being a introduced to a spectacular place like the RC.
Well, here we were once again, this time in a new environment. The faces are familiar and the service is still impeccable, but the vibe is noticeably different. How so? Well, let's see what we ate first!
From the moment we stepped in, we were greeted with smiles. We were seated at the far end of the restaurant along the lit tree-decorated wall. The tables are without tablecloths...maybe to let diners see the natural beauty of the wood. Our first taste from the restaurant was a glass of Etoile rose. And yes, the wine list comes via iPad.
There is no tasting menu as there was at The Dining Room. There are 4 sections on the dinner menu: small bites, appetizers, entrees, and sides. Dessert menu comes at the end of the meal. I neglected to save a copy of their menu the day of the dinner, so these are just descriptions from memory.
For our first course, we had a plethora of apps and small bites to try. We only ordered 3 or 4, but more came out. HBD, mom!
1. Polenta Fries with chanterelle relish
2. Bay Scallops with green tea gelee
3. Shortrib Ravioli
4. Carrot Ravioli
5. Spreadable Braised Chicken
FOIE GRAS - they had two preparations that evening - 1 hot and 1 cold. The warm version had brioche and huckleberries. Don't you just love fruit and foie? The cold version was spreadable and was surrounded by a piece of kombu. Keat and I had a field day - eating as much as we could in one sitting. We had to. *shakes fist as stupid ban* Hurry folks, 6/30/2012 is the last day you can have it in California.
Our entrees were simple - I had the young chicken with mushroom risotto and everyone else had the beef ribeye and asparagus. My picture of the beef is really bad, but trust that it was tender as can be. Keaton's plate was wiped clean by his many pieces of bread. Oh, their bread is great too. Honestly, if I could go back, I would ask for the mushroom risotto. It was perfect.
We were treated with some amazing sweets from a peanut butter and jelly macaron, green tea cake, canelle, and of course the chocolate cake complete with a greeting for mom. The ice creams were delightful as well. I finished off the meal with a nice cappuccino and smiled to see my family enjoying themselves.
I swear, Jayla Nicole is spoiled. Everyone smiled and said hello. Foodie in the making. She stole my broccoli from my plate! What a joy she has been to our family and I could see it in my mom's eyes that she was happy with dinner especially since her family was with her to celebrate another year of life...so thank you to everyone at Parallel 37 for making my mommy feel special.
Parallel 37 has a different feel from The Dining Room. When Cuzzin Star and I dined there years ago, we felt we weren't worthy to even step foot inside. The vibe at the new restaurant is more casual. The first thing you see when you walk in is the bar and several television broadcasting sports shows. It is a little louder than the former restaurant, but then again, it probably makes those with families and small children feel a bit more comfortable. If you were there on March 10 and saw a little girl running from the hostess table passed the bread station all the way to the back wall, that was Jayla. The ambiance is a bit more approachable and you are not obligated to stay for a 10-course tasting menu. Small bites at the bar? Fine! Dessert only? Cool!
While I will miss the finer touches the Ritz Carlton used to have, I suppose the only constant thing is change. Everything from weather, money, and food change. I can't expect a business to stay the same after 21 years, right?
RC, you know I love you and MOM - I hope you enjoyed. Love you!