Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Category: American (New)
Neighborhood: The Mission

Price Range: $$$

Had a really great Meal at CONDUIT the other night. No.. It was more than great, it was fantastic!
I have also been back several times since and it was just as great every time...

You walk in and you are confronted with a very modern minimalist space – a dimly lit, yet warm space, with candlelight all around, a two sided black fireplace up front and shiny copper and steel conduit piping everywhere which serve as partitions to create little intimate nooks for Dining. There is an open Kitchen and the Bar is to the far right. I find the vibe lively & the space sexy... I like it.

The idea behind the name, C O N D U I T, is two fold referring to the inspired decor & award-winning design of Stanley Saitowitz, and it also refers to the idea behind the restaurant - serving as a 'conduit' or 'meeting place' for the community to 'come together'.

The Food itself is created by Chef Justin Deering, who hails from the likes of Boulevard, Jeanty at Jack's, Fifth Floor and Tra Vigne and it shows.

I found the Menu itself to be concise & to the point, simply listing its ingredients for the staff to describe the preparation for you. Written a little bit like prose, perhaps even in haiku.

Just Words. Basic. Like this. I liked.

But the best thing about the Menu was the Food's execution. I mean, the Food was incredibly delicious and well prepared. The Wine List was extensive. For Wine this particular evening, we chose a half bottle of 2006 Siduri from the Russian River Valley. Very good.

So, we started with one App and one Pasta Dish.

My dining companion started with the Pork Belly cavolo nero rillete apple pistachio. I definitely like what I tried, and I know he did, because it was gone in 60 seconds. In case you were wondering, Cavolo Nero is a type of Cabbage, also known as Black Cabbage or Tuscan kale. The Pork Belly lay atop Braised Cavolo Nero to one side and two creamy little Pork Rilletes on the other with an Apple and Pistachio Compote on top.

I chose the Gnocchi green garlic dungeness crab arugula and just as others have said, 'To die for…' The Gnocchis were so light & fluffy. Cloud-like. Served with so much Dungeness Crab. It was smothered with Crab. And smothered is no exaggeration as you can see from the photo. Delicious and Heavenly come to mind. It was unbelievably good! I loved it. Highly recommend.

For our Mains..

I had the Duck Breast rapini potato which was Pan Roasted. It had beautifully Crisp Skin on top and stuffed with a filling that I am unsure of what it was exactly, but delicious nonetheless. The Sides were Sautéed Tender Broccolini and what I think was a very disappointing Scalloped Potato type thing that was undercooked and dry. Had it been creamy & light, it would have been perfect. Ah well, maybe or hopefully it was just off that evening.

K had the Walu grilled guanciale cannelini castelvetrano olive which was amazing. Pan Seared Walu atop Creamy White Beans, Bits of Guanciale (a type of Cured Pork that is similar to Bacon) and Green Olives that were fried Tempura-style... This was an exceptional Dish which was perfectly prepared and I hope you get to try it before the Menu changes.

Aside: When I was back recently, we tried the Grilled New York Steak which was accompanied by Seared Bone Marrow Nuggets that were encased in some type of breaded exterior to form little bites, that when bit into, burst into the rich creamy entity that is Bone Marrow in and of itself. Now the preparation was certainly inventive, though not my favorite, but what I wanted to share with you was the description that my dining companion put forth that best described Marrow in a nutshell - and that is 'Meat Butter'. I could not have said it better. I love that.

Overall, I really like this place.
The Space. Modern. Minimalist. Sexy
The Service. On Par. Hospitable even.
The Food. Inventive. Well prepared. Exceptional.
This place was Impressive and I cannot wait to go back...

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