Nari, San Francisco
The dishes at Nari are a visual treat. The colors are vivid and the vibrant greens, rich reds and warm orange hues aren't muddied by heavy sauces. The cuisine is a Thai-California fusion with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and some traditional, but more unusual Thai dishes.
We started with a zero-proof non-alcoholic "kusuma", which was very refreshing with strong lemongrass notes. Then, I noticed someone with a cocktail in a cobalt blue fish pitcher. I have a weakness for drinks in fun containers, so I had the "jansuda", which was lychee, rum and coconut cream. It was delicious.
The menu is divided into first course and second course. For the first course, we shared pork croquettes and also a citrus salad. I loved the citrus salad, which had a spicy dressing and crunchy peanuts.
For the second course, we shared priking gai, a curried chicken dish and gaeng massaman gae, a lamb curry. These were both very flavorful without a heavy, thick curry sauces.
Dessert was very similar to bing su with shaved ice, fresh and candied fruits and a light coconut cream. This was my favorite dish, because it was so refreshing and had so many flavor elements.
The interior of the restaurant is sophisticated, urban and very spacious. It felt very hip and contemporary. It is located just inside the lobby of the Hotel Kabuki.
Very fun and exciting meal! My only complaint is that the plates for each person are a bit small. The dishes are meant to be served family style, so it was hard to ladle out a portion without making a bit of a mess.
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