Art/s was the destination of our girls night–a celebration of my friend passing the Bar exam, and a new opportunity for me. We pulled up to the their parking lot, right off Lombard Street, and strolled into the dimly-lit, wide open space, nabbing a table near the bar. The restaurant offers a sushi menu, which features the traditional nigiri/roll offerings, as well as a tapas menu, which features seafood, meat and vegetarian small plates ranging from bruschetta to yellowtail crudo to cheese croquettes.
Our group was a rowdy one, despite consisting of only three girls. We enjoyed art/s’s range of cocktails–deliciously fruity, gingery, and extremely drinkable (though not extremely alcoholic). Nonetheless, we sampled the range. The drinks were all mixed with fresh ingredients–cucumber, strawberry, ginger, etc. For our meal, we ordered a cross-section of rolls–including spicy tuna and Cancun, as well as tapas like warm spiced octopus with potatoes (delicious), octopus and shrimp ceviche (served with olive oil toasts), yellowtail crudo (one of the stars of the night), and a half dozen oysters to kick things off.
Overall, we were impressed with the range of things this restaurant did right. The sushi menu, while reasonably broad, certainly can’t compete with my favorite joints in the city, but the tapas certainly pulled their weight. Together, all of the dishes impressed, and the convenient location, parking and friendly service were all welcomed. Not to mention, art/s is a great place to hit when you just can’t decide exactly what you want to eat–the variety gives even a large group (and the space can fit a large group) an opportunity to sample a range of ‘global’ dishes.
Local Pairings: Mark Matos & Os Beaches – Words of The Knife + art/s
Words of the Knife is the latest release from Mark Matos, the former front-man of the Tucson-based group, Campo Bravo. Musically, Words of the Knife demonstrates that Matos has the spirit of a wandering soul, a trait likely passed down to him from his father who moved to the Bay Area after having been drafted into the Portuguese Army in the late 1960s. During his time serving in Africa, his father became a committed pacifist and left Angola, where he had been stationed, to move to San Francisco to start a new life. Once in the Bay Area, his father and grandfather founded one of the Bay Area’s first Portuguese marching bands and hosted a radio show on a Portuguese radio station in San Jose. It was a bold move, and one later repeated in spirit by Mark. Inspired by the minds of the beat generation such as Jack Kerouac, after graduating from high school, Matos spent the next decade traveling across the United States performing odd jobs and playing music in Alaska, Boston, Tuscon, etc. Upon returning to the Bay Area, Matos began his new project with Os Beaches and subsequently recorded Words of the Knife. It is an exciting collection of psych pop tunes characterized in part by leisurely melodies infused with rootsy Americana. When listening to Words of the Knife, there is a definite sense that Matos’ music is heavily infused with the experiences, philosophies and environments of his decade of travels as well as those passed down to him from his family. The result is an album that is both personal and intriguing. Continue on to Musical Pairings to read the full review. –Matthew