Bar Agricole: California Redux

It's been trendy in some quarters to bash the pure product of Bay Area foodism, all that minimal tweaking of ingredients, the short jog from farm to table, and a cookbook shelf that makes an even shorter walk from Elizabeth David to Alice Waters. But last night at the crazy clusterf%*k that was Bar Agricole's friends, family, and media christening, I had pretty much one thought: California Cuisine is back, baby. Unabashedly, too.

Of course, Bar Agricole's visuals are anything but Panissean. The original 1900 Jackson Brewery has been repainted in a thick coat of Dwell modern, all concrete booths, glass-straw skylight sheaths, and urbanscape photo murals. But chef Brandon Jew's Judy Rodgers-meets-Paul-Bertolli passed nibbles (fritto misto with aïoli, gougères, melon and prosciutto, rillettes), the biodynamic compost in the herb-and-lettuce garden up front, the bar's obsession with sourcing ― it all seemed to celebrate the aesthetics of figs on a plate. Without apology.

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