Twenty Five Lusk – 25 Lusk is a long-awaited and hot restaurant from an All-Star team that opened in the middle of October, 2010. Tucked away in an alley, this place will draw much walk-in traffic! They serve “sophisticated, contemporary, approachable fine dining specializing in neoclassical-influenced cuisine”, which probably means locally inspired California cuisine. Our last visit was in 2012.
Famed Architect Cass Calder Smith designed 25 Lusk’s space to bridge modern and industrial elements.
Cuisine – French-inspired contemporary American
Chef – Matthew Dolan (Café des Artistes, New York, Emeril’s, New Orleans, Garibaldi’s, San Francisco)
Location – Soma, South Beach, 2 Blocks from AT&T Park
Decor, Vibe – Twenty Five Lusk is located in a historic 1917 building that once housed the Ogden Packing and Provision smokehouse and meat processing facility and features massive windows, exposed brick, slate tiles, smoked mirrors, mirrored incandescent bulbs, suspended fireplaces, tropical wood veneers, glassed in kitchen, and a chefs table. The bar is located in the basement and fills up with the local happy hour crowd. Upstairs it was mainly the forty-something well-dressed crowd along with some hipsters. Mayor Brown was hanging out downstairs on our first visit. Our last visit was in October 2011.
25 Lusk’s dining room is not very large has lots of air space is utilized by their layout. A question remains is this a restaurant with a lounge, or a lounge with a restaurant upstairs. The techie music was pretty loud, indicating a slant towards the latter.
25 Lusk Menu
Twenty Five Lusk’s Menu is very limited with seven first course options and only eight entrées. Vegetarians have an option or two.
Signature Dishes – Pork chop, cauliflower Brulee
25 Lusk Picks:
WAGYU COWBOY RIB EYE ($136) sauteed chanterelles, truffle sauce was expensive but decadent. For 2, this tender cut is true A5 grade from Japan. Not as foie-like like 5A5 but still excellent.
Mojito ($7) was dark, balanced, and strong. Clearly they have some mixologists with experience.
Warm Acme bread roll was soft and delicious.
Complimentary amuse Bouche of creamy lobster with sprouts was a bit on the salty side but didn’t possess some solid lobster flavor.
Cauliflower crème brûlée ($10) sunchoke escabeche, truffled wild arugula is a play on a sweet savory dish like salted caramel ice cream. If you like these types of combinations go for this dish and its thin crusted crème brûlée with a light cauliflower flavor.
FRESHLY DUG POTATOES ($8) were harvested recently and tasted awesome. Highly recommended.
Lobster ravioli ($14) saffron lobster gauge, shaved Thai basil, seaweed had one big ravioli cooked al dente, full of real lobster swimming in a very good broth. Be sure to use the roles to sop all this up.
Grilled quail ($14) Ginger carrot purée, caramelized onion, watercress, black pepper quail Demi Glace was recommended by our server and proved to be a great choice. The quail was juicy, cooked just right and not to boney.
Seared diver scallops ($27) cauliflower purée, roasted lobster mushrooms, lobster cream had three huge, tender scallops with beautiful caramelized tops, brushed with a tangy lobster cream sauce.
Grilled pork rib chop ($26) brussels sprouts, bacon, parsley root purée, dark thyme sauce was a standout dish of the evening. We haven’t had a pork chop this good in a long while. The pinkish bone in pork was cooked perfectly and was extremely juicy. The bacon made eating the brussels sprouts, even for kids. Make sure you order this dish. On another occasion it was the BEELERS PORK CHOP ($29) roasted cipollini onions, glazed apple, israeli cous cous cassoulet and still recommended.
Verbena steamed halibut ($27) see beans, tomato, eggplant, lemon-lobster vinaigrette was a healthy looking fish entrée. This dish was also excellent. The big slice of top-notch fish was cooked perfectly and not overwhelmed by the light vinaigrette. Another must order dish.
Grilled top lamb sirloin ($26) roasted garlic potato rosti, Apple-spearmint Demi Glace was a very needy dish with lamb pre-cut into chunks and cooked to a medium rare. The lamb was a little on the lukewarm side but was high-quality and not gamey. A solid dish for those that like lamb.
GRILLED LOUISIANA PRAWNS ($29) was a signature dish with a bit of zing and several fresh prawns cooked just right. Not too hearty a dish!
japanese pepper grits, carrot puree, horseradish vinaigrette
Complimentary pre-dessert of honey trio with lemon cream. Refreshing but a bit creamy.
Daily sampling of small desserts ($10) included spicy chocolate truffle cake with crème anglaise and raspberry sorbet, Dulce di Leche cheesecake with fig preserve, pecan toffee, and cider citrus sauce, and a bit of pineapple Savarin with bitter chocolate sauce, and passion fruit sorbet. This is clearly a great way to test out their desserts and possibly order more of your favorites. The cheesecake is a solid modern interpretation of classics, with no custard were crust. The decadent chocolate cake was clearly the best of the three.
Complimentary pumpkin chocolate truffles were decadent and perfect for Halloween.
CRISPY PORK BELLY($16) smoked avocado mousse, sunny side up quail egg, micro basil had too much smoke flavor. The pork was somewhat crispy and also too smokey.
SUCKLING PIG ($33) end of summer vegetables, freshly dug potatoes, barbecue demi-glace was a bit dry and consisted of a mis-mash of parts. No crispy skin.
Lime Posset ($10) kiwi mint salad, champagne granite had a very thin layer of extremely tart and sweet lime custard made with pectin.
Service – Twenty Five Lusk had very good service with a friendly waiter who had no problems accommodating us and ample water refills and swift request fulfillment. 25 Lusk is brand-new but clearly is run by seasoned professionals.
Value – Prices are in line with destination restaurants of this caliber.
Verdict – Twenty Five Lusk certainly qualifies as a hotspot with its beautiful decor and beautiful people. We were presently surprised to find that the food quality was extremely high, capable of matching the cutting-edge decor. You can eat dinner upstairs, then headed downstairs to chill out for the rest of your evening.
Other recent high-profile openings include Bourbon Steak and nearby Alexander’s Steakhouse.
If you’re on a budget, the bar for cocktails and bar snacks like the Short rib Slider. You cannot order off the dinner menu though.
Extensive and expensive wine list with 220 entries, glasses from eight dollars, bottles of wine from $25. Extensive cocktail list.
18% service charge for parties six or more. 3.5% San Francisco health surcharge.