Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
Chef Adam Tortosa took a very personal approach when creating the opening menu at 1760, the just-opened project from the much-lauded, more formal destination Acquerello in San Francisco. "Everything on this menu is something that I want to eat," Tortosa said, taking a break from prepping for the evening's friends and family dinner. "I've taken what I like most from my background in Japanese food and in modern cuisine, and combined it with what I like most when I go out to eat."
That background, which includes four years under Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi and a stint working with Chef Michael Voltaggio at Ink in West Hollywood, informs the approach to Tortosa's current menu. The offerings, which include everything from hamachi crudo to fresh homemade pasta to a fried duck confit sandwich, are simply listed from lightest to heaviest, with no designators of appetizers versus entrees.
"We really want people to share, and for this menu to be the opposite of pretentious," Tortosa said. "It's not tapas; it's kind of like a Chinese restaurant. You go and order a bunch of things to try them, and eat it family style." This shared menu experience translates to the creation of dishes, too. "If anyone has an idea for how to make a dish better, from line cooks to the Acquerello crew, we'll do it," Tortosa said. "The ultimate goal to make the best thing possible."
Drinks, which we took a first look at yesterday, fit the theme, too: "Gianpaolo [Paterlini, the restaurant's wine director] knows what he's doing with wine. Christopher [Longoria] knows his cocktails. It's a lot of pressure, but it's a good pressure. I don't want my food to be shitty in comparison!" said Tortosa.
The menu will change to reflect the seasons—"I've got really good sous chefs, and they're super into going to the market," Tortosa notes—but will also depend on what diners are drawn to. "It's all based on what people like," he said. "Some things on the menu aren't necessarily seasonal, and if people love them, we'll keep them."
About the author: Lauren Sloss is a bicoastal food-lover who is based in San Francisco. Some of her favorite things include The Black Keys, goat gouda, and guacamole. You can follow her on Twitter @laurensloss.