Super Strict Score [understand my S3]: 7
Chocolate tart: 8.5
Praliné palet: 6.5
Chocolate mousse: 6
In 1 word: avant-garde
Assortment: cakes & desserts | viennoiseries | bread, sandwiches, savories
A wattwurmnashi × vittlemonster crossover!
[yo we totally should’ve taken a photo to be inserted here]
vittlemonster was so kind to take me to Craftsman & Wolves, a head-turning contemporary pastry shop in the Mission district. It is a venture of the Outfit Generic boutique culinary group whose creative head, William Werner, recently received San Francisco Magazine’s 2014 Best Pastry Chef award. Outfit Generic’s portfolio speaks of a niche approach while endorsing quality produce like chocolate makers Valrhona & local roaster Highwire’s coffee.
Aren’t their artsy fartsy delicacies quite something?
- Chocolate tart
Chocolate cake, crunchy chocolate, blonde chocolate, salted caramel sauce, coconut flakes, sweet corn
Essentially a chocolate cake with lots of frills, the sweeter, buttery quality of the blond chocolate is not only opposed in taste by its darker, more heads-on cocoa sibling, but the textures of the silky blond mousse & crunchy-crispy chocolate insert likewise meet in yin-yang fashion. The salted caramel core harmonizes especially well with its enclosing blond ball, but I’m not 100% sure where that sweet corn went. The coconut flakes are a solely visual & maybe textural addition, but I could see coconut working as another element of the actual tasting experience as well.
- Praliné palet
Praliné, concord grape jelly, nasturtium
A delicate & delicious enough cake, but – all that praliné doesn’t taste like praliné. The cake isn’t nutty, let alone have a roasted at all. More like a weak hint of caramelized white chocolate. In the face of that disappointment, the jellies don’t fail to shine, especially the nasturtium has a nice sourness about it. From its composition in taste alone, I would’ve rated this cake an 8 but as it’s supposed to be praliné, I can’t but hold it to its own standards.
Valrhona bitter chocolate mousse, kettle corn, coffee laced peanuts, milk jam
As expected from a Valrhona chocolate mousse, the main star in this verrine doesn’t fail to shine with predominant notes of cocoa, nuts & just a hint of bitterness, although I have to say the character of the chocolate comes across as somewhat pared down. I neither understand the purpose of the milk jam nor the kettle corn – the latter might have added a dimension in texture but I think the dessert would’ve been better off with bigger corn to that effect. I’m not convinced the coffee really adds anything to the peanuts & they are too far & few between to tell anyhow. If say the kettle corn & peanuts were at a more equal ratio & conjoined by some coffee caramel or some such, I could see a revamped version of this dessert working to better effect.
The drink menu is as original as the pastries with items like a warm salted butter caramel drink with croissant shavings, or a brown rice caramel horchata, but also including trusted old favorites like Valrhona hot chocolate but I saw that too late. The comparatively boring cappuccino chosen for accompaniment is very pleasant & not too strong to be enjoyed alongside the pastries which opt more towards the elegant & subtle rather than bold, strong flavors. This place is a pastry lover magnet & doesn’t have much seating, but turnover is rather quick & the atmosphere, in spite of the sophisticated cuisine, very relaxed with minimalistic decor further enhancing the martian landscape feel & a community table the centerpiece.
Incidentally, bean-to-bar chocolate maker Dandelion Chocolate is a couple of doors down the street. Stay tuned for reviews of Dandelion Chocolate’s desserts, chocolate drinks &, of course, chocolates, soon to come! [Have a sneak peek at vittlemonster’s post!]
Craftsman and Wolves
746 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110