Lunch in Danville

I know, it’s a boring title.  We ate at Esin, and I had to struggle not to title the post something corny, like “Esin-tially a good meal”.  Boring is better than corny.

Esin has been around for 15 years, first as Cafe Esin, near Crow Canyon Road, now just as Esin Restaurant and Bar, in The Rose Garden, just off Sycamore Valley Blvd. in Danville.  Esin is a white tablecloth kind of joint; heavy silverware, good glassware, you feel like a grownup in here.  It was Mike Katz’ favorite place, and we can’t go there without raising a glass to his memory.

Yesterday, we dropped in about 3 pm, when they were serving from a short menu between meal services.  Not a large selection, but enough to give us a good lunch.  I was intrigued by the gravlax plate, but the waiter said it was a light appetizer and I wanted more than that.  If we came with a group I’d certainly order it to share, along with other small plates they feature on the menu.

We both started with the onion soup:

Notice the classic French crockery the soup is served in.

Notice the classic French crockery the soup is served in.

French Onion soup varies, as some places use a strong beef stock and some more of a sweeter, apple cider type of base.  Esin is in the latter category, and they don’t overwhelm the soup with the melted cheese on top.  It’s a flavor more delicate than hearty, and an interesting take on a classic starter.

I had the grilled chicken breast salad:

Presentation is always important

Presentation is always important

A warm chicken breast is presented on an excellent salad with a light dressing.  Apples, almonds and raisins add to the enjoyment, and I finished it all.

A medium rare burger properly cooked.

A medium rare burger properly cooked.

Gail had the burger.  They brought it with the wrong cheese, and then fell all over themselves apologizing and trying to make it right.  Anyone can make a mistake, it’s how you try to correct it that counts, and Esin did a good job.

The burger itself was fine.  Gail likes her fries crispier than most, and these didn’t really make it for her, so I ate them.  Works for me, at least.

They had a cheese I’d never seen before on the menu, Seahive Beehive, from a creamery in Utah, of all places.  I had to try it just for the name.

Seahive Beehive cheese, figs in port, walnuts and bread.

Seahive Beehive cheese, figs in port, walnuts and bread.

It turns out to be a hard, cows-milk cheese.  Mild in flavor and right on the borderline between creamy and hard in texture.  Add a bit of the fig and it’s wonderful, add some walnut and it’s rich and deep.  We liked this cheese.

Eating in the middle of the day can be a crapshoot–the chef is often on his break and your meal is made by the third assistant line cook.  That sure wasn’t the case here, everything (except the cheese on the burger) was first rate.

We’ve always enjoyed Esin for dinner, and now I can recommend it for a mid-day snack.  Be sure to try the cheese.

Esin Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon


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