(Photo by Jennifer Yin / Eater SF)
My flight arrived an hour early, so I decided to jump off BART at Montgomery St. and find my way to Gitane. It’s tucked down an alleyway ripped right out of Monkey Island, shadows jumping out like drunken pirates on leave. A small, neon sign was my only light post against the bustle of partygoers and diners. Ok, that’s enough with the pirate references. Stepping into Gitane is like walking right into an Arabian temple. Gold-studded moldings lined leather doors like properly dressed petit fours and craggy black metal seemed to afix anything it could get its hands on.
The bar is beautiful… Averna, Fernet Branca, about 30 sherries, Zaya, Santa Teresa solera rum, Angostura 1919, Ocho tequila, Kubler, and I could go on forever. This is going to be a good trip. After being heartily greeted by the bartender, I checked out the menus and immediately put myself at his mercy. “What’s your favorite spirit?” Hmm, well I guess I’m getting a rum cocktail.
- 2oz Santa Teresa 1796 solera rum
- 1oz sloroso sherry
- 3/4oz Taylor’s velvet falernum
- 2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
- orange peel, for garnish
Stir with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The dinner menu is a mix of Spanish, Basque, Mediterranean, and magic. Ordering fish was an easy decision, and the Cataplana, a Portuguese stew, looked perfect. It arrived with the familiar aroma of chorizo and lobster. Fingerling potatoes and clams dotted the flaked rust stew like rocky fingers jutting out of the ocean and a proper piece of monkfish sat nestled in the middle. I took a slight risk with my cocktail pairing, but I’m glad I did, because I’m putting Chartreuse in all my fish stews from now on.
- 1 1/2oz Right gin
- 1oz green Chartreuse
- 1oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
- 1/2oz lime juice
Shake with crumbly ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
I ended the evening with their Smoky Peach, a mix of Islay scotch, Navan vanilla liqueur, peach marmalade and a healthy pinch of freshly ground pepper that dotted the perfectly clear ice cubes like little ants. Sadly I didn’t get the proportions for the recipe, kind of like the bartenders names, which I haphazardly neglected to ask for as well. But you can probably figure out how to put it together.