I have been dying to try Chef Gerald Hirigoyen's Piperade Restaurant in San Franciso since hearing him speak at the Cooking for Solutions event in Monterey. I tried the Garlic Soup with bacon, egg and shrimp as the first course. The soup was tangy, but not overpowering with garlic flavor. I would never have thought of putting shrimp, bacon, eggs and bread together in a soup. It was like a sophisticated omelet soup.
For the main course, I had a perfectly grilled halibut steak topped with crispy garlic and a spicy pepper on top. The dish was flavorful, and the fish was buttery and delicious. Frank had a tender duck that melted in your mouth.
I didn't know much about Basque cuisine going into the restaurant, but our friendly, cheerful Basque waitress was more than happy to explain things to us and make recommendations. She recommended the Gateaux Basque for desert, a dense cake with a layer of cream and a compote of sherry-infused cherries. I had a custardy mousse made of almonds, pistachios, and cream with sweet, crispy almonds on top that the waitress explained was a result of the Arab influence and history in Spain. Wherever they came from, both were the perfect note to end the perfect meal.
I can't wait to go back to Piperade to find out what else Chef Hirigoyen has up his sleeve. I bought a copy of his book, Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition at the Monterey event, and now that I have some reference to what it's supposed to taste like, I might have to try a few things.
I saw one older child in the restaurant of about 11 or 12, but I would not recommend this for kids. I don't think that kids would be unwelcome, I just don't think that you or the kids would be comfortable. Our son was not with us, so I don't know if they have a child-friendly menu, but the flavors are probably a little too powerful for small fry. This is a great place for a date night or a special celebration with friends.