Went with a friend to Aziza last night. In light of my New York Times reading habits, I'd somehow missed the considerable local buzz over this place. I had, in fact, never heard of it. As we approached I was convinced that the place was closed. The front door is made of an exceptionally dark glass that obscures light.
The food was good, and we ate a lot of it. There was an unusually long pause between our starters and the main courses. Long enough that our server felt compelled to bring us one of the desserts as a "palate cleanser" - a roasted meyer lemon sorbet. He attributed the wait to our having ordered one of four dishes that the chef plates himself. The table behind us apparently did too, but worked the system for a free dessert during the dessert course as well.
All told we ate:
• mariquita's cardoon
• marin roots farm wild arugula
• prather ranch kefta skewers
• grilled spicy lamb sausage
• paine farm squab
• devils gulch ranch rabbit
The specific preparation of each dish is available on the Aziza website's menu page. The sides, sauces, and seasonings did generally have a mediterranean aspect that wouldn't necessarily be evident looking at the dishes themselves.
We also ate dessert. I brought my wife home two of the most delicious dates I've ever tasted, and a perfectly ripe Pixie Mandarin. I even managed to bring home some of my rabbit.
The wine list tended to have several reasonably priced bottles ($70.00-$40.00)in a variety of styles, and one decidedly more expensive bottle ($70.00+/-) in each style. This seemed like some kind of trap.
Something about our experience prevented me from actively wanting to head back with my wife. I'm not sure that Bar Crudo is really operating on a similar plane in terms of sheer culinary sophistication, but after my first visit I was eager to head back.
The Aziza leftovers made a pretty strong case though. I expect to be back soon.