Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oysters - and Wine - at Zuni Café in San Francisco, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco

Zuni Café in San Francisco is an institution. I have been there several times, but have never had a full dinner; I always went to the bar for the wide range of oysters. Let’s start with the oysters. Here is what they currently offer.

Picture: San Francisco

Oysters and Les Fruits de Mer (Winter 2011 ~ Spring 2012)

Oysters by species and locale

Crassostrea gigas ~ the Pacific oyster

Nootka Sound (British Columbia) 2.50
Effingham Inlet (British Columbia) 3.25
Kusshi (British Columbia) 3.35
Calm Cove (Washington) 2.50
Cranberry Creek (Washington) 2.50
Steamboat (Washington) 2.50
Chelsea Gem (Washington) 2.50
Pearl Point (Oregon) 2.50
Pacific Hog Island (Tomales Bay) 2.50
Marin Miyagi (Tomales Bay) 2.50
Drake's Bay (Point Reyes) 2.50

Pictures: Oysters at Zuni Cafe

Crassostrea sikamea ~ a Japanese native revived in the Northwest

Eld Inlet Kumamoto (Washington) 3.50
Sand Isle Kumamoto (Humboldt Bay) 3.25
Humboldt Kumamoto (Humboldt Bay) 3.50
Hog Island Kumamoto (Tomales Bay) 3.25

Crassostrea virginica ~ the Eastern oyster

Malpeque (Prince Edward Island) 3.25
Cooke's Cocktail (Prince Edward Island) 3.25
Island Creek (Massachusetts) 3.75
Wellfleet (Massachusetts) 3.75
Hog Island "Atlantic" (Tomales Bay) 3.25

Ostrea conchaphila ~ the tiny Pacific oyster

Totten Inlet Olympia (Washington) 3.25


Littleneck (Cape Cod) 1.75
Manila (Washington) .90

Periwinkles 8 pieces (New England) 1.25

White shrimp (Atlantic Coast) 2.00

Dungeness crab quarter, half, or whole Market Price

For more on oysters see: West Coast Oysters and Wine with Jon Rowley in Seattle, USA

The Place

In the center of the Zuni Café, a large open kitchen opens, built around a wood-burning oven that doubles as a fireplace. Food is served on two floors; the rabbit warren of rooms on the second level includes a balcony overlooking the main dining room.  The crowd is a mix of young families and old-money San Francisco aristocracy.

Pictures: Zuni Cafe

The Food

As noted earlier, I always went there for oysters, often before an Opera performance. There is oysters, or course, but there is also a menu with a Mediterranean touch, including a good selection of main courses made in the wood-fired brick oven or on the grill.

Picture: Zuni Cafe

Judy Rodgers is the Owner/Chef. Before opeing Zuni Café, Judy worked inter ali with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. She has written several cook books.

My friend James told me that after one bite of Chef Judy Rodgers' succulent brick-oven-roasted whole chicken (for two) with Tuscan bread salad, I would understand why she's a national star. All meat is organic, and the legendary Zuni burger is seasoned 24 hours in advance--with nothing but salt.

The Wines

The 100-plus bottle wine list features wines from California, France, Italy, and Spain. In addition, Zuni Café offers 10 to 12 wines by the glass from around the world. Here is their wine list by the glass. The 2 prices on the right are by the glass and by the bottle.


Domaine Andre et Mireille Tissot Arbois 2010 Chardonnay, Jura, France gl 11.00 55.00
Château Bonnet Entre-Deux-Mers 2010 Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon blend, Bordeaux, France gl 7.50 37.50
Habit "Jurassic Park Vineyard" 2010 Chenin Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley gl 10.00 50.00
Cold Heaven 2010 Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley gl 8.00 40.00
Domaine Roland Schmitt 2010 Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France gl 7.00 35.00


Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rosé 2010 Mourvèdre-Grenache-Cinsault, Provence, France gl 11.00 55.00


Aha Wines "Bebame Red" 2010 Cabernet Franc, El Dorado County gl 9.00 45.00
Domaine Brusset "Les Travers" Cairanne 2007 Grenache blend, Rhône Valley, France gl 9.00 45.00
ZUNI Mount Eden Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains gl 12.00 60.00
Weingut Glatzer 2009 Blaufränkisch, Carnuntum, Austria gl 9.00 45.00
Domaine Roulot Monthélie 2005 Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France gl 14.00 70.00


Pierre Moncuit Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger gl 14.50 72.50
Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve NV, Mareuil-sur-A ÿ gl 16.00 80.00

Other Bay Area Recommendations of Christian G.E. Schiller

Dinner at Plum in Oakland, California - Sister Restaurant of Coi, #58 on the 2012 San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants List

Hotel Biron – A Hotel? No! A Cosy Wine Bar in San Francisco, USA

The Natural Wines of the Donkey and Goat Winery in Berkeley, California

The Natural Wines of Terroir in San Francisco

Terroir(s) Wine Bars in London, New York and San Francisco – Wines with a Sense of Place versus Natural Wines

Steak Frites and a Ballon de Blanc at Thomas Keller’s 1 Star Michelin Restaurant Bouchon in Yountville, California

Visiting Dade and Petra Thieriot and their Dee Vine Wines - Purveyors of Fine and Rare German Wines - in San Francisco, USA

August Kesseler’s Pinot Noir and Richard Wagner’s Ring der Nibelungen in San Francisco, USA

The Natural Wines of Terroir in San Francisco

Dining and Wining at a 1 Star Michelin Restaurant in San Francisco - Range in the Mission District, USA

Christian G.E. Schiller Interviewed by James the Wine Guy

Visiting Anne Moller-Racke and her Donum Estate in California: Old World, Terroir-driven Winemaking in the New World

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in San Francisco, USA

Schiller's Favorite Wine Spots in Healdsburg, California

August Kesseler’s Pinot Noir and Richard Wagner’s Ring der Nibelungen in San Francisco, USA

Lunch with Pinot Noir Giant Walter Schug in Sonoma, California

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