I've been wanting to try Spruce ever since it made it into Esquire's annual 20 best new restaurants list. I've always trusted Esquire's list, as it has introduced me to many great new restaurants in the past. In fact, I had just gone to Luce, another of this year's 20 best new restaurants, the weekend before and had a fabulous meal (I'll have to post that one later), so I was eager for another culinary experience.
When I first entered Spruce, I immediately noticed the bar. It seemed mellow but a good place to grab a cocktail before dinner. Since I was there for an event, the hostess led me through the main dining hall to the private room in the back. The dining room was extremely dark, but I supposed that lends itself to a romantic atmosphere. As I weaved through the packed dining room, I saw couples after couples enjoying their dinner in candlelight, although I don't know how they can see what they are eating.
The private room was a little brighter, albeit not by much, but at least I was able to make out the faces of people I knew. The private room was reasonably big and held two long tables that seated ten each. Since it was a big party, we got to pick from a pre-selected menu. I chose the beet salad for appetizer, which came beautifully arranged. It looked like beef carpaccio to me, but again you can't really tell the difference in that light. The salad was refreshing and had a good balance between flavors and the textures of the beets and greens. I chose duck for my entree because the menu said it came with foie gras (and I can never turn down foie gras), and it did not disappoint. My eyes lit up as a generous cut of fatty foie gras atop of my duck materialized in front of me. The duck was flavorful and tender and the foie gras... hmmm, foie gras needs no description. The dessert was the most forgettable part of the meal - it was a trio of mini desserts: chocolate cake, some sort of cream with pomegranate seeds on top, and some other cake. (As you can see, it was truly forgettable.) Overall, the dinner was good and the food was solid. I would probably come back more often if I lived in Laurel Heights.
The best part is... (drum roll please) I think Spruce deserves a Q! I know it may sometimes seem that I've forgotten the these of my blog, but trust me, I haven't! I'm always looking out for high-Q places but they can really be hard to find sometime. As I passed the bar and dining room it looked like there were quite a few sophisticated and well-dressed men there, and the atmosphere is certainly romantic. My perception may also be skewed because there were a number of cute men at the event that I attended. Nonetheless, Spruce deserves a solid Q and I hope to find more places soon!