San Francisco is known for quality establishments where one can enjoy a beverage and light fare. We had heard that Laurent Manrique’s Rouge et Blanc on Grant Street had added some new menu items and Whiskies to their food and wine offerings and knew we needed to stop by to check it out. Rouge et Blanc has been open for four years serving light breakfast, lunch salads and sandwiches and afternoon/evening finger foods including cheeses, charcuterie and pate. They are known for their International Wine list with over 150 selections and you can purchase the wines to go at 30% off of the Wine List price. The stylish interior includes interesting chandeliers, edgy art, bar seating as well as comfortable chairs, couches and high tables.
We started out with cocktails. The Rouge et Blanc Cocktail made with Idol Vodka, Cava, Chambord and lime basil was excellent! We also enjoyed a fabulous Divorce Cocktail which was made with Pineau des Charentes, Cognac and a cucumber slice float. There was a story behind this cocktail’s name change to Divorce but we knew it was best to just enjoy the drink and the play on words. The Finger Food is actually quite gourmet as one might expect and can easily be dinner, as it was for us. We enjoyed the Imported Olives which were marinated with Thymes and Rosemary. The Serrano Ham Tart on thin crispy flatbread with spicy tomato pesto was perfect. We loved the Foie Gras de Canard which included a lovely presentation of Duck Foie Gras Pate, bread, pickles and fruits. A sweet Chateau Rieussec Sauterne from Bordeaux, France paired perfectly.
Sliders are a new addition to the menu and our favorite was the fresh Dungeness Crab Cake Slider topped with aioli and baby spinach. The 2010 Napa Valley Emmolo Sauvignon paired perfectly. The Duck Leg Confit Slider with caramelized shallots and baby spinach was also quite nice. The 2007 Chateau Haut-Beausejour, St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France was delightful with the duck. We met General Manager Olivier Daridon who told us that adding Whiskies to their menu was just a natural extension of their wine offerings and that he felt pairing cheese with whiskey was his preference and that it allowed the flavors of the cheese to be enhanced. With that recommendation, we knew what our next course would be. We ordered three cheeses from their Selection de Fromages d’Artisan and asked our knowledgeable waiter to pair whiskies. The mild Vall ee d’Aspe Goat Cheese from Pyrenees, France was paired with the Japanese Yamazaki 12 year old whiskey which had smoky honey tones. The Cont e, Hard Cow Cheese from Savoie, France was paired with the Templeton Prohibition Era Recipe Small Batch American Rye which had a nice nuttiness. The Ossau Iraty Sheep cheese from Pays Basque, France was paired with the Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon which was very smooth. We now have great appreciation for this type of pairing.
Sweet French macaroons in chocolate, lemon and saffron were the perfect finish, as we sipped our whiskies. We chatted with some tourists at the next table who were enjoying their visit to San Francisco from the East Coast and Scottsdale which added to the lively evening. Rouge et Blanc has upped the ante by adding rare whiskies and some new delicious finger foods. We look forward to returning soon and may never be able to enjoy wine and cheese again without longing for whiskey.
By Carol & Joe Davis
Rouge et Blanc
334 Grant Street
San Francisco, CA. 94108