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Friday, January 23, 2004

Citizen Cake Restaurant CLOSED

The older I get, the more service seems to matter to me. I don't expect great service in a dive or a diner, though I am pleased when I get it. But in a moderate to expensive place, it really bugs me if the service is less than top notch. I do recognize that things don't always go according to plan, especially in a restaurant. People show up late, they stay at their table for ages after their check has been delivered, they show up in mobs at unexpected and inconvenient times. Any number of things can make service go from smooth to bumpy.

But tonight after being told a table was being set for us then seeing it given away to others and being told a table would be ready in 20 minutes and then having to wait almost 40, my level of irritation was palpable. At the very point our group was ready to give up, we were finally seated. To his credit the manager on duty apologized profusely and did not charge us for our drinks, smoothing over some frazzled nerves.

But on to the desserts. Citizen Cake is known for it's pastries. Lots of spectacular cakes, cookies and homemade ice creams to choose from in addition to some other frankly unusual and daring dessert plates. We settled on several--one ice cream sandwich, one Retro Shag cake--which was a genoise cake splashed with rum, and layered with exotic passion fruit mousse and covered with vanilla buttercream, then carpeted with unsweetened coconut shavings. We also had a Pokemon's Purse which consisted of a warm milk chocolate and caramel cake, chocolate ice cream, sprinkled with salted Spanish peanuts and wrapped in Japanese mochi. The last dessert was by far the most unusual and consisted of chunks of apples and fennel in a honey syrup, and ale sabayon, Great Hill blue cheese and a topping of walnut streusel served with apple sorbet. It would be an understatement to say the desserts satisfied; they were deliciously witty and tasty. Combinations of wonderful decadent flavors, in just the right proportions to satisfy a sweet tooth and an already full belly.

Other signature cakes at Citizen Cake include the After Midnight Chocolate, the Debutante, and a Chocolate Work Orange, proving desserts can be fun and seriously good at the same time. Now if they could just seat everyone...

Citizen Cake CLOSED
399 Grove St
San Francisco