Dinner at Ame inside the St. RegisHotel in San Francisco was magnificent. Taking into account that we did not have reservations yet were still seated in under 30 minutes, the wait was reasonable for a Saturday night.
I am in town for the NASFT Winter Fancy Food Show and this chic, dark restaurant was exactly what I needed for a relatively quick, unplanned dinner meeting.
Ame is located past the lobby bar and concierge within the St. Regis San Francisco. The dark wooden walls lead you down a hallway which opens to the left to a warm Asian-inspired space with a Sashimi bar near the entrance of the restaurant. The wine cellar is clearly visible and proudly displays their impressive wine collection. The tables are covered with warm off-white linens and seating is spacious and comfortable.
The service at Ame is excellent--no less than what you'd expect from a Michelin Star awarded restaurant. Our server took the time to explain the menu options that could be made vegan (relatively few), while quickly assuring me that the Chef would be glad to make me a customized plate of in-season produce. We ordered the 2007 Hyde Vineyard Carneros Patz & Hall Chardonnay which has a floral and jammy nose, with a luscious, creamy mouthfeel, velvety finish and flavors of spices, peach and hazelnut.
Our table ordered the Grilled Whole Maine Lobster with Abalone Mushroom Yuzu Brown Butter Sauce and Gai-Lan, the Fish Spontanée, and the Grilled California Wagyu Beef Eye of Ribeye Steak
with Crispy Sweetbreads, Fingerling Potatoes and Forest Mushroom Sauce.
My plate was the most beautiful and exotic: savory skewered root vegetables, elegantly steamed Brussels sprouts, a variety of tender young carrots, richly flavored cauliflower, perfectly cooked purple potatoes, and delicious Quinoa with tender black beans. (see picture)
For dessert, they suggested the Trio of Sorbets. I was very impressed by the intense and creamy flavor of the kiwi, but the red citrus fruit was also crisp and delicious, the quince and strawberry was divine as well.
I highly recommend this restaurant whether you are staying at this fine Hotel or just looking for a dark, intimate restaurant with an impressive menu and the versatility to create a customized menu item for a Vegan. Tantalizing!
Japanese inspired cuisine. When you walk in the clean and refined decor immediately portends the simple elegant food that follows. The chefs use of Japanese ingredients and techniques lends a unique twist the the standard California nuevo style. The tuna tartare is a poetic interpretation of a traditional sushi roll, replacing the salty sweet of the soy with decadent shaved foie gras. Great for a romantic night out.
Service was great, food not so much..
The atmosphere was very nice, and the service was perfect. The food, however, was not the highlight of the visit. The items were filled with too many different ingredients. Scallops with chilies and grapefruit did not mix right for me. The grapefruit was successful at bringing down the chilies, but the flavors did not complement each other at all. I will say the presentation was perfect.
The green egg soup dish was not very appetizing or visually appealing. In fact, i mentally plug my nose like a kid, trying to slurp down grandmas mystery soup.
My entree was a lobster and scallop with 'japanese' risotto. The risotto was rice in miso soup.... Not exactly what i thought it was going to be.
I spent 112 bucks for dinner for 1. Sadly i was thinking about the kobe beef burger i was going to get for dinner the next night during my meal.
The atmosphere and service was great, but the food was not. For 112 bucks, i expected more.
Typical Hotel Restaurant. Sure, the hotel is glamorous but this restaurant just doesn't cut the mustard. Bland sushi, weak cocktails, cheap-seeming in an inexplicable way despite the upscale hotel surrounding it. If you want to spend $200 to find out for yourself, go for it, but you'll be wishing you took my advice.
We came for lunch and Ame did not disappoint! The restaurant is upscale but not very pretentious. Needless to say, it was expensive so I would suggest lunch over dinner since most of the same dishes are served for lunch at a fraction of the price.
We started off with a few appetizers, tempura poke, ceviche, the hamachi, and oysters, all of which had great flavors and presentation. For my entree, I had their house specialty, the Alaskan Black Cod - delicious! It was extremely light, yet tasty. The cod's flavor was clean and naturally sweet and buttery; it melted in my mouth! Others at the table had the scallops and the kobe and gave raves reviews. I can't wait to come again!
Stellar Service and Fresh Delicious Fare. My sweetie brought me here to celebrate our secret anniversary. From our first course to the last, I was supremely satisfied. The cracker jack dessert was a kick--very appropriate for our occasion. I love the stark look of the place--no muss, no fuss. Just neat as a pin and focused on the star of the show--THE FOOD! This place sets a standard in excellence, particularly for those of us who don't enjoy places dripping with dust-collecting totchkes and overdone decor. The perfect backdrop for getting down to the business of enjoying a good meal in good company without distractions. We are planning to make this our annual tradition!
Bland Interior and Overpriced!. I consider myself a fairly well-acquainted diner within SF so I was really keen to check out Ame as I had heard fairly good comments from a couple of friends. The St. Regis is, of course, well-heeled and caters to a fairly well-to-do crowd, however, the restaurant interior seemed a total afterthought. More of a stark, sterile, lobby-like feeling - definitely lacking any warmth whatsoever. The sake options were extremely pricey (starting in the $85/range and moving quickly upwards). In terms of the food, the presentation was eye-catching but the flavors definitely underwhelmed. The crudo dishes were admittedly fresh but the overall taste seemed to miss the mark. The service was attentive (as one would expect at a such a venue) but, when questioned, seemed to lack any real familiarity in terms of specific recommendations. Overall, my experience left me wondering how I managed to part with so much money and yet so little reward? My suggestion would be for the chef to shift the focus from presentation to taste - in which case, I think the food, at least, could merit the price.
I had the pleasure of dining here recently and liked it so much, I came back the next night. I had the "Taste of Ame" sampler both nights and both times, I was truly impressed. The sashimi was the best I have ever had, and I have had my share. For dessert I'd go with the "Cracker Jack", you'll thank me later. Don't let the "uber-chic" label scare you off; the service was not only professional, but warm as well. I rolled in without a reservation (Tues & Wed, to be fair) and was accomodated with none of the hipster snootiness one would expect from a "Name" restaurant. I'm trying to think of something negative to write about my experience, but honestly, I can't think of anything.
I have read a couple of negative reviews (The reviewer who is suicidal over the green tea and complaints about sake being served in a wine glass - It's rice *wine*, by the way) and I just got a bit of a grudge vibe from them. Competitors, maybe? If you want a world class meal, AME is the place; if you find you're more comfortable with more "americanized" food there is no shame in that - please type "Olive Garden" or "Red Lobster" into the search bar. I think EVERYBODY will be happier that way, and isn't that what it's all about? Since I know neither Italian nor Japanese I'll just say Bon Appetit.
Tasty Sensuous Romantic Fresh.
I was fortunate to dine with an intelligent and crafty gentleman who allowed Chef Hiro Sone to create for us his signature "Taste of Ame." Each course was elegantly prepared, incredibly fresh, and beautifully presented on perfectly chosen presentation china. Such a devilish little detail, but very important to those of us who enjoy eye-feel as much as mouth-feel.
The sashimi was among the best I've ever experienced: fresh, beautiful, divinely choreographed.
Each of the waitstaff was more solicitous and polite than the next and the service was so seamless that sometimes I didn't even notice my water glass had been refilled or my napkin replaced. These folks are true professionals!
The *ONLY* thing I found sad about the evening was the couple sitting across from us who kept answering their cell phones as if in a duel to see who could be the rudest to the other. Observing them was both fascinating and heartbreaking. Please turn off your cell phones when dining, both in public and in private. If only I'd been in possession of Politenessman's steel hanky, the evening would have been perfect!
Way below average. We went soon after they openned and were completely dissapointed. We sat at the "Sushi" bar. What a joke..sushi..lol. We had the tuna sampler (prepared 3 ways or something). Was lame..and $$. We also had some cod..in miso I believe. Again, was average at best. It seems like Ame should be better than it is, and it gives the appearance that it should be excellent. They didn't even know how to make to make green tea. My wife had to educate the waiter on the proper water temperature for green tea. The first batch was boiled, brown and bitter. I seriously doubt we will even bother to try Ame again.
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