Geez, I’m getting old. I know this for many reasons: The grey hair that’s starting to come in; the desire to be an extreme couponer; having to ask my nephew who Ke$ha was, etc. etc. But my geriatric state was confirmed one evening when I went to Bar Agricole.
Located in SOMA, Bar Agricole is exactly that — a Bar. It serves up creative and tempting cocktails that lure you in with the first one, but then keep you wanting more because the first one was so good. Now, it’s not like I haven’t partied at a bar or two in my time. For that matter, a bar or two in SOMA. But people, we’re talking like 10+ years ago. All the clubs where I danced my single booty off are gone (along with my single-ness). Even the Holy Cow cow is painted a completely different color.
Why would I even bother? Because Bar Agricole, while a bar first, also happens to serve up some pretty delicious food. So despite the late reservation that had me yawning before I got there, I sucked it up, strapped on my wanna-be YSL Tributes and teetered my way into the place.
The restaurant is amazingly, incredibly beautiful. Set back from the street, the restaurant is almost serene. There are horizontal cedar planks lining the walkway and enclosing an outdoor courtyard. Walk in, and there is a posh mix of wood, concrete, and steel. Evidently, the building is LEED Gold certified structure and is considered a standard for green building projects.
We sort of ate a gangload of food, and to be honest, none of it was truly memorable to me. So rather than describe each in detail (since you’d be bored if I did, seeing as how we ate the whole menu), let me say this.
The food is decadent, substantial and rich (yes, including the scallops shown below and yes, excluding the obvious like anchovies and oysters). The dishes support the alcohol very well. Please don’t think this statement diminishes the food — it just shows you how great the cocktails really are. After all, Thad Vogler, the man behind the Bar (literally and metaphorically), did name the joint after agricole rhum.
That particular evening, my table ordered a little bit of everything, from the starters, through the mains, and, of course, dessert. Frankly, I think we would have been fine if we just stopped at the starters, which were hefty, to say the least, and perfect foils to the alcohol already working its evil way through my system.
Here’s the food tour:
L-R: My gin-based drink (purty, huh?); anchovies; corned beef tongue; country pâté; chopped liver; oysters; pasta; schnitzel; scallops; lamb (hands down, best entree); some dessert (sorry, a little drunky by this point); and cheese plate.
There are some things you gotta know about Bar Agricole. It’s a bar…Which means it’s a scene. People are four deep at the bar, service can be spotty (although nice), and it’s loud as hell in there. But if that’s the type of night you’re looking for, then you’re going to be more than happy. You’re going to get one helluva cocktail list with food that will give you sustenance to make it till the wee hours (or 1am, since we San Franciscans close up shop early unlike our New York brethren).
Incidentally, if you’re not up for the crowd, but want to give Bar Agricole a go, then go for brunch on Sundays. You can miss the “hey, good-lookin’ vibe” but still enjoy a gorgeous restaurant and, I bet, one amazing Bloody Mary.