Step inside Spruce in San Francisco to be cocooned in plushness.
Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the otherwise dimly-lit, 70-seat restaurant create an intimate ambiance of drama and mystery. So much so that the chocolate mohair walls look almost black in the evening, all the better to showcase the eye-catching, over-sized charcoal sketches of whimsical figures, including a torso draped in an Adidas sweatshirt and the the backside of a bald man clad in a natty suit.
The six-year-old restaurant, with its hammerhead banquettes and faux ostrich chairs, is all about glam. Indeed, it makes you want to have an excuse to, err, spruce up just to go there.
Recently, I was invited to be a guest at the restaurant, part of the Bacchus Management Group of restaurants that also includes the Village Pub in Woodside, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto, Cafe des Amis in San Francisco, and Pizza Antica locations throughout the Bay Area.
Chef de Cuisine John Madriaga has a deft touch with local ingredients, especially vegetables, not surprisingly since he cooked at Manresa in Los Gatos and apprenticed at Copenhagen’s famed Noma. He also has access to SMIP Ranch, the Santa Cruz Mountains farm that supplies produce to all the Bacchus restaurants.