The glassware is also sublime
They got me at McIntosh. Granted, my husband Dan and I have vintage McIntosh amps at home, which we unexpectedly stumbled upon during a real estate sale in Sevastopol years ago at an insane price. Listening to records through this magnificent system beloved by audiophiles the world over (the vintage McIntosh is almost a staple in coffee shops around Kyoto, Japan) is a ritual we savor at home.
But if I can eat it toot, All the best. Particularly beautiful McIntosh tube amps. Add to that the extensive vinyl collection from chef Robbie Wilson and Emily Perry Wilson (from Bird Dog to Palo Alto), a 1970s turntable and quality speakers, and you have The Fantastic, long awaited, finally opened on October 22 at the edge of Hayes Valley.
Entering the sleek, warm space with neutral colors and bright chandeliers, striking art similar to a graphic novel sweeps across the bar / kitchen counter and inviting front living room, casting sparks of color. Lined with records, the intimate but haughty front lounge exudes fortunately retro vibrations (entirely “my jam”). This is the nook for optimal sound, reminiscent of Tokyo listening bars, although the dining room actively buzzes past the living room recording wall.
Dan and I started our evening with champagne and small caviar éclairs, salty-sweet and brackish with smoked onion crème fraîche, banana and maple glaze and California Caviar’s large kaluga caviar. Co .. Besides the sound system and records, I already knew I was going to love this place when I realized the wine list was three pages of white and sparkling, one page of red. It’s a percentage that I’ve naturally learned to drink on my own, learning from the world’s top sommeliers, winemakers, wine industry and restaurants over the past two decades.
Sitting comfortably on a small sofa, we soaked up records ranging from one of our modern-day soul favorites, Charles Bradley, to British synthwave band Gunship. Other than the awkwardness of leaning over a couch to eat on a coffee table (which, let’s be honest, is how I eat at home), I could have stayed here all night. But the cozy-chic lounge has just two seats and is meant for a bite and a drink, while the tables are where you linger and order more. Fortunately, the attentive and engaged waiters, staff and staff (prepared and ready for a Michelin star from the start) made the dining room an inviting place.