Café Kati

1963 Sutter Street @ Webster
phone: 415.379.7313
hours: Tues-Sun 5:30-10pm
Full Bar
Pacific Rim Fusion

The upper Fillmore is packed with upscale, trendy, pretentious restaurants. Just around the corner from the main drag, Café Kati is a tiny little joint that would actually have the right to call themselves all of those things. Luckily, it is instead creative, friendly, cozy and absolutely delicious.

The Ambience:
Although tiny, often crowded and a tightly packed, the large front windows add some space to the 10-table room. The atmosphere is perfect for a romantic date or a special occasion dinner. Unconventional downtempo grooves are lightly pumped through the speakers, but when the room is full, you can't hear it over the pleasant buzz of happy customers. I hear there's a back room as well, but in the three times I've been there, I've never seen it.

The Menu:
Small, seasonal and highly creative. It changes monthly, but always offers a variety of healthy and decadent dishes. The food is technically Pacific Rim fusion, which means little to me. It seems well suited for the equally ambiguous term California Fusion cuisine. In any case, they blend the flavors and ideas of several cultures, inventing dishes that are entirely unique. Appetizers are about $6-9, entrees run $18-$27.

The Food:
Everyone starts off with fresh, bite-sized biscuits and a dish of butter in honey, so I was pretty much smitten from the get-go. The presentation of every appetizer and entree is truly artistic. The salad is laid in a bed of long leaves and tied together vertically. Every dish is garnished festively with confetti-like potatoes, sugar sprays or equally inventive food. You will see vegetables and other ingredients for their color and shape instead of just their flavors after viewing their sculptures.

Amazingly, the taste of the food lives up to its appearance. Whether it's a goat cheese soufflÈ, grilled rosemary marinated lamb, asparagus risotto, or whatever else they've invented, every bite is exquisite.

The Service:
Generally friendly and knowledgeable. The last time I was there, they seemed a little insincere (we were greet by three different people who said, "Hey guys, how's it going?"). Still, all our food arrived timely, accurately and was delivered with a smile. Our waitress returned our parking ticket un-validated, so be sure to check that one before you leave...

Reservations: Strongly suggested

Overall: A
Beautiful delicious food in a friendly, romantic, neighborhood environment. Validated parking at the AMC around the corner on Fillmore.

Reviewed : June 2004

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