The restaurant is located just down the street from our office, and used to be the halfway point between my home and work. A few years ago, I went somewhat regularly, but it had been at least a year since I'd been. Lately, the chef has been sharing photos on Facebook of all the incredible special dishes he has been serving, and I've been seriously drooling over them. I somewhat jokingly sent him a message asking if there was anything with scallops, uni, or foie gras on the menu that evening (a bunch of my favorite ingredients!), and he replied saying he'd combine them all into a dish just for me. Um, clearly I had to go there, stat!
The cuisine here is a little hard to describe. I guess I'd call it French, but with Persian and Mediterranean inspiration, and of course, using fresh local Californian ingredients. I find the menu really fun, ridiculously creative spins on Persian dishes, or more standard French or Californian items with Persian ingredients thrown in. Be on the lookout for pomegranate, pistachios, saffron, and rose water! They do fun things like on Monday nights always serving some kinda of crazy kufte, and offering some form of dolme every night, where dolme is a very lose interpretation basically meaning just something stuffed with something.
Fly Trap was just as I remembered. Nicely decorated, in that casual, swanky, SOMA style. A little on the loud side, but mostly just in an energetic way. Service was ok, not particularly notable. Food was good, and reasonably priced. The best part of course was the owner/chef creating a dish just for my group! That is hospitality taken to a whole new level! Thank you :)
I'll definitely be back before July, as I hear a rumor that the chef's old signature dish, the manage a foie, will be coming back sometime soon!
|Sourdough bread & lavash, feta-walnut spread, caspian tapenade. $6.|
The bread was crisp and toasted, the lavash warm and soft. The caspian tapenade had a great olive flavor and the feta-walnut spread was creamy, nutty, and salty. Each was good on its own, but I enjoyed them the most by combining some of each.
The perfect bite for me was some lavash, spread with equal parts of each of the spreads, and then rolled up and enjoyed as finger food. I'm not sure if the spreads have changed, or if I had so much of them back then that I'm finally over them, but they weren't quite as fantastic as I remembered. Still nice to have something to munch on at the start of the meal though, and I'd order again if others wanted it.
|Pistachio meatballs, red harissa, honey, pomegranate. $13.|
Given that, I didn't really like the meatballs. They did have a really nice crust on the outside, but weren't very moist inside, and were really lamby. But the sauce was awesome. Perfectly balanced, with the tartness from the pomegranate and the sweetness from the honey. I enjoyed soaking up all of the remaining sauce with the lavash!
Our server noted when we ordered this that there were only three meatballs, and four of us, and asked if we wanted a forth. We declined, but this was thoughtful and great service!
|Smoked trout, cucumber, tobiko, dill. $14.|
I think we all expected this to just be some smoked trout, with a little bit of cucumber on the side or something. Instead, it was cucumber "linguine", with chunks of smoked trout integrated throughout.
The trout was fantastic. It was flaky, and had a really wonderful smokyness. I really liked it.
The cucumber linguine was also really great. Clearly incredibly fresh, crisp, and refreshing.
It was all dressed in a creamy, slightly tart, crème fraîche based dressing.
Then there was was ton of fresh dill mixed in, which paired perfectly with the trout, cucumber, and yogurt, and just kicked the flavors of the entire thing up a million notches.
Every component of this dish was great on its own, but then combined they also complimented and enhanced each other absolutely perfectly. This dish was a serious winner, full of great flavors, and also really fun to eat. Creating the perfect bite was just like eating pasta: a fork swirled with the linguine, and then stab a chunk of trout. Awesome.
I'd order this again in a heartbeat! It was really, truly, fantastic.
( If you want to make this at home yourself, here is a video of Hoss preparing it! )
|Bone marrow, turmeric, preserved lime, bergamot. $14|
As this was my first time having it, I wasn't sure what to expect. It kinda reminded me of seared foie gras, which I love, but it was slimier and fattier tasting. I didn't really like it. I'm sure this is an acquired experience though, so I'd certainly try it again.
The persian pickles on the plate were salty, crunchy, and good. I'm a pickle lover, so I appreciated these!
The pumpkin jam was awesome. It had this great pumpkin flavor, but was also sweet. It tasted a lot like "classic" Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole, just in a jam! It had the pumpkin/sweet potato flavor to it, and then a hint of brown sugar/maple syrupy flavor, and even the sweetness like from marshmallow topping. Really hard to describe, but honestly, it was like putting one of those casseroles into a spoonful. I loved it, and again used all the remaining bread in sight to finish it up!
While I didn't really like the marrow, I'm really glad I finally tried it in this pure form, and appreciated the gesture from the chef. And that pumpkin jam! So tasty, I'd encourage someone else to order this again just so I could eat the jam :)
|Diver scallops, asparagus, prosciutto, potatoes. Plus ... uni sauce, seared foie gras! $28.|
The potatoes and asparagus were just simply roasted and seasoned, fairly standard.
The scallops were decently seared, but more cooked than I prefer, definitely cooked all the way through rather than a little rare.
The prosciutto was crispy, salty, and a great compliment to the scallops. I think it works really well in the original dish, also complimenting the potato and the asparagus, but prosciutto and foie was a little much :)
The uni sauce (added because I love uni!) was very light and mild. I could somewhat distinguish the uni flavor, but it wasn't very strong. I believe they were using this as the finishing element on a soup that evening, where it probably came across stronger, as it wasn't masked by as many other rich components.
And then there were chunks of seared foie gras (added because I love foie gras!). Each scallop came topped with its own piece (two had fallen off by the time this photo was taken). Like I was hoping, the foie gras went really well with the scallops, a good contrast of both flavors and textures. The scallop was slightly sweet, light, and firm, contrasting and complimenting the foie, buttery, rich, and creamy.
I enjoyed this, and I'm still rather stunned that they added the foie and uni sauce to the dish for me! What amazing hospitality. Thank you very much Hoss!
|Goat cheesecake, date jam, walnuts. $9.|
I was excited for the panna cotta listed on the menu (again, another one of my obsessions these days), but the waiter informed us that it had been replaced by a pistachio crepe and ice cream. Sadness!
So then I was excited for the baklava, but no one else at the table was interested in sharing it. One other diner was interested in the goat cheesecake, which isn't something I'd ever normally pick since I really, really don't like goat cheese (at least, traditional soft style goat cheeses), but I wanted dessert, and this seemed like my only option! We also had one other diner who loves cheeses, but hates sweets, so if this was cheesy enough, and not super sweet, it was possible he'd be into it as well. We asked the waiter if it was really goaty, he said no. We asked if it was really sweet, he said no. He told us that it was just really well balanced and really fantastic. So, we ordered it.
On the plate were some dates, some pistacho crumble, some date jam, and of course, the goat cheese cheesecake.
The cheesecake was incredibly fluffy, almost mousse like, and sat atop a shortbread crust. The crust was buttery and delicious. The cheesecake however was both very sweet and very goaty. My non-sweet liking dining companion wanted nothing to do with this, nor did I, finding it way, way too goaty.
I do admit that the goat cheese and fig paired very well together, and if I liked goat cheese, I could imagine this would be fantastic.
|Pistacho crepes, ice cream. $9.|