C & I rarely make it to the city for dinner during the week - by the time we get home to let the dogs out & get them fed, it's too late to JUST be heading out. And on the weekends, well... we've just gotten a bit lazy, is all.
As my flight got in around 7pm this past Saturday, I called C and asked if he wanted to go to dinner after picking me up. Dinner in the city, that is. So I made a reservation at Watercress in the Mission, and off we went.
Watercress is housed in the old location for Watergate, on Valencia between 22nd & 23rs. The premise is that any 3-course meal is $19.95 - a few items on the menu (foie gras, ribeye, lamb shank) carry a supplement of $5-7. Corkage is $18 - we had brought a bottle after hearing that their wine selection wasn't great. In fact, it was fine, and since they didn't have any cocktails for us to order, and only Cristallino Cava by the glass, we decided to forego our bottle of Ravenswood '01 Dickerson Zin for a bottle of Seghesio Zin at $34.
I started with the moules mariniere, while C started with 5 oysters on the half shell. The mussels were very good, and the sauce was bright and fresh tasting (especially after a little squeeze of the lime on C's plate). His oysters were as good as any I've had locally - light, briny, fresh.
After reading about the steak on Sam's site, we knew we had to order it. I had eaten a small bite on my flight home, so wasn't particularly famished, but C really wanted to try the duck confit a l'orange, and being a good dining partner, I obliged.
The ribeye was AMAZING - a thin cut, buttery soft, extremely flavorful with a simple but delicious rub. The fries it was served with were the type I love - skins on, a little "limp", totally tender inside. The duck was also very good, but really too rich for me to enjoy. The flavors in the duck leg were delicious, while the lentils and braised spinach on the side were fresh but too simple in flavor. I would have like a bit of the orange spice in those, as well. We switched plates halfway through dinner, which was perfect.
By this time, we were both pretty full, but we could see that desserts were pretty diminutive - and at $19.95, it's almost as if they are paying you to eat dessert.
I ordered the chocolate genoise, two small disks of dark, dark chocolate cake with a small scoop of bittersweet chocolate ice cream, a bit of caramelized banana and whipped cream. This was fine, but the cake was just... dry.
C, on the other hand, ordered the cheesecake, which he NEVER orders. This, I have to say, was one of the top 5 desserts of the year. Seriously. It was a small disk of cheesecake "filling" with a lightly bruleed top, no crust, and sitting atop a few glazed walnuts. It was simply amazing, and I need to try to replicate it for a dinner party.
Oh, as a side note, they were out of the first 2 bottles of wine we ordered. We settled on the Seghesio after being assured that they did, in fact have it in stock. But it was the '03 as opposed to the '02 which was listed on the menu.
Overall, Watercress represents a great value