after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Sous Buerre and Souvla – an exercise in opposites

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t says:  There’s no reason that Souvla and Sous Buerre Kitchen should be in the same review.  They feature different cuisines.  They’re in different neighborhoods.  They are entirely different concepts (restaurant vs. order-and-sit).  Really, the only thing keeping them in the same post is that they both begin with the same-sounding first syllable: “soo”.  But if you look deeper, maybe there is a point, because one’s failing is precisely the reason why the other is a success.



Take Sous Buerre.  Referred to us by a server at Neuf in Philly (which was AWESOME – review coming …), we thought that it would have been a slam dunk.  It was more of a lay-up.  It got the job done, but it wasn’t spectacular.  Above is the sous vide pork loin.  You look at it on the plate and it looks like it has the potential knock your socks off.  Then you begin tasting: pork tastes like a good pork, the asparagus tastes like good asparagus, the jus is tasty, the kale leaf is weird.  And you put it all together and it just doesn’t quite sing.  It tasted like a pork with a side of veggie.  Not bad – but not great; the sum of the dish was not above its components.



And this is the last photo I’ll share: the dessert.  Once again – lots of components strewn across the plate … but there was no synergy – which was surprising as hell because it was all bait! (chocolate, marshmallow, etc).  Unfortunately, the rest of the group didn’t have much else to praise (the gnocchi seemed like they were well-received, but no one shouted out: “OMG – you have to try this!”).  Fortunately, the company we had was awesome, and more than made up for the food.



Meanwhile, look at Souvla.  Here, I ordered the lamb wrap …



… and g got the pork salad.  And they were CRAZY-good.  It took them all of 10 minutes to construct (and that’s probably because they were so backed up) and I just couldn’t understand why it tasted so good; basically it was meat-and-veggies arranged in different proportions depending on if you wanted it in a salad or wrap .  It was one of those things where they mashed a bunch of ingredients together and it just really “worked” – every ingredient had a contribution in the final perfect bite, every aspect was balanced, and it was incredibly not-fussy (i.e. there weren’t signs on the door saying “world’s best souvlaki”).  The end result was a craveable sandwich/salad that was reasonably priced and we’d be happy to have again!  Now I understand why the line is always so frickin’ long!  The dining experience was a bit frustrating (they take your order … but you still have to vie for a seat – so it’s better to walk in and get a seat first and THEN order), but if you need to grab-and-go in Hayes Valley, this is the way to do it.

UPDATE:  OH NO!! Sous Buerre Kitchen has just closed!!!  Read about it here:  I guess our review wasn’t far off from the truth!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

15 May 2016 at 3:16pm

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