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Ernest is the initial solo venture of Chef Brandon Rice, formerly of Prosperous Desk and Coi, and for any individual who’s acquainted with these dining establishments, it should not come as a surprise that a eating working experience listed here is likely to be not only unforgettable, but one of a kind and charming. Though Ernest is celebrating just its to start with yr in business in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District, it promptly designed waves in the city’s culinary globe thanks to Chef Rice’s playful, eclectic technique to elevated cuisine. To that stage, Ernest was most a short while ago added to the 2022 Michelin Guide for California.
The menu is divided up in to four areas: uncooked bar treats salads and vegetables and meat & seafood. Every single section is created up of dishes manufactured to shock and delight the palate in approaches that you wouldn’t anticipate.
“Ernest’s menu attributes foods that I like to consume myself,” points out Chef Rice in reaction to what the inspiration is guiding the menu at Ernest. “It’s an expression of what I appreciate about food stuff with flavors of my upbringing, vacation, and doing the job about the world. The meals has imagined powering it. I want to existing flavors that are elevated, though however feeling like the food stuff is approachable and informal.”
A couple of illustrations on the ever-altering menu is the Keluga Caviar Tater Tots, which is offered in two bowls: just one comprehensive of crispy tater tots and a person loaded with creme fraiche with chives, lemon zest and a wonderful dollop of caviar. A different stand out? The Sushi Rice which is a wonderful consider on beef tartare served with dazzling orange ikura (salmon caviar), sushi rice and nori to create hand rolls with.
Other present-day menu highlights include the Uni Toast with jamon serrano and quail egg Mexican Shrimp Coctel with avocado and saltines Lo Mein Sea Urchin ‘Carbonara’ with Olivier’s bacon Pork Tomahawk Tonkatsu and the Duck Confit Fried Rice.
The menu provides diners a genuine culinary journey that finishes with a range of incredible, nostalgic desserts: the signature Ernest sundae with a vanilla hazelnut swirl, with hazelnut praline and a home made milk chocolate Magic Shell the present shaved ice taste, Strawberry Shortcake, with home made strawberry jam and topped off with a yellow cake crumble and whipped cream and at last a decadent basque cheesecake.
“We’re not a cafe with boundaries – we’re cooking what we like and transform the menu frequently. It is about presenting seasonal flavors. In California, we have the best deliver in the world, with seasons that are frequently transforming what is available to us at the farmers markets. Our goal is to produce dishes that are new and remarkable, however comfy.”
We chatted with Chef Brandon Rice on this previous yr in enterprise menu highlights inspiration and much more. Here’s what he experienced to say!
How has your prior encounters working at spots that include Loaded Table and Coi well prepared you for your to start with solo challenge, Ernest?
To me, a cafe is a sum of all the destinations you have ever labored. Every person has their possess cooking style, so every kitchen has a way of shaping you. I imagine about Coi and how amazing Daniel Patterson’s palette was — he taught me how to season foodstuff. Then with Prosperous Desk, I had the option to truly run a kitchen area on my own and cook my very own design of meals.
In advance of these San Francisco activities, I expended time in Boston with Ken Oringer. He really released me to the meals I continue to enjoy, to this working day. Seeking again, Ken’s kitchen area is still a single of the most fascinating kitchens I’ve ever been in.
Discuss about what this very first 12 months in enterprise appeared like for you, did the pandemic impact company?
Our very first 12 months in business was almost nothing like I at any time predicted, though also exceeding all expectations. It’s been amazing so far and I’m so grateful for the community and reception we’ve acquired from friends. We opened on March 17, 2021, in the middle of COVID.
Subsequent SF town advice, we were only allowed to have outside eating with just home for about 40 seats. It was practically nothing like what I imagined opening doors of my initially cafe would be like – I could not even see the friends from the kitchen.
As constraints have been eased, we were being capable to improve from only outside the house to 50% inside of, then 75%, then ultimately entirely within. Actually, I glimpse again and acknowledge that when it was exceptionally challenging to run outside-only dining, this smaller quantity of visitors served our workforce. It permitted all of us to relieve into the correct pace of the cafe. I search all around our entire dining room right now and I’m amazingly proud of in which we are just a yr following opening our doors.
How would you categorize your delicacies? What do you hope friends acquire away from a dining experience in this article?
I would say ‘Modern California’ mainly because it embodies almost everything — the finest develop in the earth, seafood, astounding butchers. I really like to participate in with flavors and produce dishes that are unexpectedly nostalgic but could be wildly new for a guest, supplying them an experience that surprises yet comforts them by means of flavors all through the food.
My hope with this is that our friends come, investigate the menu and have a excellent time. There’s no bigger emotion than when people today are producing reservations to appear back in advance of they’ve even remaining.
Talk about menu highlights and what will get you energized at this time in the kitchen area.
The Beef Tartare was one particular of the very first dishes that I concepted when I was dreaming up Ernest. I loved the concept of playing with the typical beef tartare and flavors of sushi rice – it is a person of my favorite matters to try to eat on my times off. I think there’s both a newness and a familiarity to the dish that excites attendees.
Our Uni Toast has develop into a mainstay – it’s decadent, gentle and textural. And we just included Crab Rangoon Dip to the menu. It is been floating close to the back of my head for a although now, and I really like how it embraces the freshness of summer stone fruit from a person of our favourite farms, Kashiwase Farms.
I get really psyched by what cooking in the Bay Area gives, like all the lovely oysters from Hog Island and observing the summer generate at the farm stands. We really load up our market place carts this time of calendar year. Even far more, looking at the group close to me increase with the restaurant has been an incredible detail to lead and be a section of.
We have designed this everyday ritual wherever a person of our kitchen area team customers will give a small pre-change speech to get started company. Seeing how this kitchen area is coming with each other and inspiring every other, cheering each individual other on every single night, is outstanding.
The strawberry shortcake shaved ice is just one of my beloved desserts ever. How do you come up with these seasonal flavors? How did you make this distinct development?
I definitely like basic Americana desserts. Escalating up, I ate strawberry shortcake in the summer season and Ioved the Very good Humor Shortcake bars that you could acquire from the ice product truck. I assumed the shaved ice was a ideal possibility to make a little something playful and consider you back to those people flavors from your childhood.
We constantly attribute a shaved ice on the menu, updating the flavor seasonally and often taking part in on classic desserts. We’ve experienced fun with these recreating peach and apple pies a black sesame tiramisu pineapple upside-down cake and a basic rainbow shaved ice. Being in California, we get wonderful fruit 12 months out of the calendar year and strawberry year has a lengthy keep in the Bay Place, so we’re capable to actually make this a single the star of summer season.
This very same nostalgia drove the wondering driving the Ernest Sundae and cheesecake as effectively. They are elevated variations of the desserts I’ve cherished my overall daily life.
Do you also make the other desserts? The desserts were as equally a emphasize as the savory dishes!
Indeed, we do! Our cheesecakes are baked every morning from scratch, and we also craft all of the sundae features in household. We make our very own delicate serve foundation we toast the hazelnuts and prepare dinner sugar to a deep amber letting it set then mixing with hazelnut oil to make our very own praline and crafting our own ‘magic shell’ chocolate shell that we pour table-side. It’s a exciting minute looking at guests mild up as that chocolate is poured.