Aziza

So if you live in San Francisco you've heard of Aziza, right? But let's be totally honest, who actually knows where it is or has been there? That's what I thought...not many people.

I've been wanting to go to Aziza for a while and a few weeks ago I decided to finally take the plunge.

Step 1. Find a friend to go with. Check.

Step 2. Figure out where it's actually located. Little Russia. Who's ever heard of Little Russia in San Francisco?

Step 3. Make a reservation. Check.

Step 4. Do it. Check check.

Tonight was the night we headed to Little Russia (which by the way is located in the Richmond, inner/outer I still don't know). Aziza is located right on Geary Blvd which, let's be honest, isn't the best place for a restaurant. Upon entering, you walk into a dimly lit, intimate restaurant, but as you head farther back you realize it's larger than it looks. The tables are massive and it seems like you're miles away from your neighboring diners - the complete opposite of dinner at say SPQR.

photo.JPGThere are two menu options, a la carte or tasting menu.  Since there were three of us we decided to go a la carte so we could try a few different things.  At first we weren't so sure about how it was going to go, after all we were still thrown off being so far from our comfort zone (SOMA, the Mission, the Marina, Pac Heights, you know, the usual suspects).  We started by ordering two appetizers, the first being grilled flatbread with chickpea, yougurt-salmon roe, and piquillo-almond spreads; the second a tomato, melon, harissa, aged goat cheese and bean salad. Both appetizers were full of flavor and superbly delicious. We were practically licking the plate of spreads (okay, maybe one of us actually did).

Next we ordered two entrees to share, the couscous with carrots, harissa and almonds and the cornish hen with potato, maitake mushroom, sweet onion and frisee.  Again, both dishes shocked us with how flavorful and delicious they were.  The couscous was my personal favorite, although the cornish hen was cooked to perfection, perfectly tender and served with mousse!

Finally, this wouldn't be Dessert Pocket without a little dessert. We decided to go with one dessert that stood out to us, although it wasn't without debate, the raspberry cake and sorbet with corn pudding, figs and mint. Pastry Chef Melissa Chou's raspberry sorbet was one of my top five sorbets, which is saying a lot! It was absolutely phenomenal and like everything else tonight, bursting with flavor. The overall appearance of the dish was gorgeous, with raspberry sponge cake sprinkled across the plate.  But, this wouldn't be a good story if we stopped there.  Chef Mourad decided to try and kill us with dessert and continued to send out of Melissa's sweet madness.  The dinner continued with the caramelized chocolate mousse, sorbet, chai milk jam and coconut, the almond-honey semifreddo with plum and hibiscus, and one other dessert that wasn't even on the menu! Needless to say we were full, happy campers, or diners rather.
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Overall I would definitely recommend making the trek to Little Russia, or the Richmond, or wherever it is on Geary Blvd that Aziza is located. The restaurant is intimate, off the radar, and a great date spot, especially if you want to impress a girl with your knowledge of the San Francisco food scene. I'm already looking forward to my next trip back!


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