Fine Wining

As far as dessert is concerned, the only mistake at First Crush is the cheese plate ($7.95). A cheese plate can be a wonderful thing, particularly at the end of a wine-heavy meal, but this one, although prominently advertised on the menu, seems to have been thrown together on short notice from cheeses lying around for cooking purposes. There is a scoop of crumbly Maytag blue, a cube of Sonoma Jack, some shaved dry Jack, and a fetid warm goat cheese whose bitterness cannot be removed from the palate except by brushing one's teeth, and which utterly ruins any dessert wine or digestif that may accompany it. These uninteresting cheeses are served with grapes and slices of mealy pear. It is a shame to have the nastiest dish come at the end of the meal, as it quite literally leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Fortunately, the other desserts are quite good, particularly a very English custard (with a brûlée top) that conceals a layer of delicious berry compote in the bottom of its ramekin ($5). It is not particularly sweet, but very satisfying. Also good is the apple cobbler ($5).

Location Info


First Crush

101 Cyril Magnin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Category: Restaurant > California

Region: Hayes Valley/ Tenderloin


101 Cyril Magnin (at Ellis), 982-7874. Open Monday through Wednesday 5 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations: advisable for dinner. Parking: nearby garages, including Union Square. Muni: all Union Square and Market Street lines; BART. Noise level: loud

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First Crush's wine and food can be top notch. It is odd, though, that some other details have been overlooked. The décor is luxurious, until you step into the unappetizing bathroom area, where the carpet is suddenly replaced with grimy black industrial flooring, and there is an intense smell of cleanser and the general aura of a McDonald's. Another thing -- admittedly minor, though egregious if one has studied this kind of thing -- is the type design. The menus and wine list are distractingly, laughably hard to read as a result of random misplaced italics, sudden changes in type size, misaligned columns, quotation marks that open and never close, and similar lapses. With each subsequent visit to First Crush I feel sure staff will have fixed the menus -- and they never have. It just goes to show that there is considerably more to a restaurant than food, drink, and service. Still, despite the occasional dud or solecism, First Crush is put together with good taste, and, given delicious wine and food at reasonable rates, one can ask for little more.

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