Thursday, May 1, 2008

For the love of Restaurants

I thought it was about time I wrote about a subject I am truly passionate about. This is no easy task for I have at least a decade of thought that has gone in to this. But I'll try to add these new posts with some rigor. Perhaps I'll even gain some insight by sharing with you what I think are key elements to a restaurant whose space lends itself to the food and service in such a way as to heighten your experience. Also let me state that if the space is awe inspiring but the food and service is lacking I probably won't mention it here, at the same time I will not be reviewing the service or food.

With that said I find that restaurant critics often have little to say about the environs in which they dine and I would like to argue that space, graphics, and location are just as key to the experience as the service, food and hospitality. And these three are often what keep me and I truly believe many others coming back. For example, if Zuni Cafe was in a tight enclosed space with no light, a sensory overload of materials, and a general lack of that lovely geometry of the space would it still be "the essence of the San Francisco experience"? Would you continue to return?

So lets start here...

Bar Bambino is a little place in the Mission on 16th Street, tucked away, its a little oasis amongst the grime. That is definitely part of its allure in fact, its one of the key factors to places I adore. If you feel like you have found the hidden jem yourself, you take a bit of ownership in it telling only your closest and best friends who inevitably end up telling others.

Bar Bambino has an understated urbanity with a bespoke touch. The light fixtures are made from old wine bottles, a simple enough idea but here the choice of bulb and the connection to a slim steel plate is resplendent. The napkins tied with a slim leather band are as delightful as the menus themselves. The long textured wood wall helps to guide you through to the rear of the space and its outdoor (covered) patio which is comfortably warm even on the chilliest of nights.

Bar Bambino was designed by Aidlin Darling an architecture firm that delights me again and again.

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