DINNER before the show: The Oak Room Restaurant

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Dark and majestic, The Oak Room in the Westin St. Francis in Union Square, San Francisco, is the kind of place where established people dine before a show at the theatre. The lights are dim, the furniture heavy, and the ceilings high, but there is the kind of refined coziness similar to that hidden in a smoking lounge of an old gentlemen’s club.

It is easy to sink low into one of the couches, graceful with tall backs, or get settled into one of the rigid armed chairs, but the food brings a different kind of comfort. It is familiar but translates elegance and luxury like the decadence of the room.
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Four plump Maine lobster ravioli cuddle in a thick and buttery cognac cream, silky and sweet. Chewy pasta hides smooth succulence of lobster which echoes the sweet of the creamy dark sauce, while micro greens highlight earthy undertones. And toasted bread nestles warmed fresh burrata floating perfectly on a consortium of slow roasted tomatoes, acidic and sweet. The smooth cheese mellows the aggressive tart attributes of the cherry while a chiffonade of basil adds cool refreshment.
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Texture is tossed around in the West Coast Chopped Salad, a rhythm of juicy roasted chicken, smoky salty bacon, wet cucumbers, buttery avocado, smooth egg and pungent blue cheese. The chop of the romaine adds more surface area for toppings and sparkling champagne vinaigrette.
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The braised short rib, perched on a bed of root vegetables, swiss chard and lima beans, redolent of Sunday suppers offers something more hearty. Its tender meat strings and shreds practically melting into the rough hash pile, caressed with meaty liquids and classic flavors.

The dessert menu presents traditional favorites, like tarts, cheesecake and crème brulee, and undoubtedly displaying the same precision and quality of the restaurant’s more savory dishes. But when running late for the theater, there is no time for dessert!
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