Whether you feel the avocado trend is over or not, it’s difficult to nail down when avocados became a thing in food culture, either praised for their healthfulness or mocked for their extreme pricing and capacity to to keep millennials from becoming homeowners. In any case it seems apropos the alligator pear is ripe for a menu glow up at RH’s new, opulent San Francisco flagship and its Palm Court Restaurant, situated inside the historic Bethlehem Steel Building.
Yes, San Francisco is at peak caviar and, at least at Palm Court Restaurant, the avocado is the vessel of choice for the tiny, salty fish eggs. The restaurant revolves around a live-fire grill where several menu items are kissed by flame before being brought to your table, including this wood grilled avocado. After being scorched on the grill, the avocado half is then topped with a dollop of creme fraiche in (what I like to call) the avocado’s belly button, and 10 grams of Petrossian Kaluga caviar (described as having a “mild and buttery flavor”) draped artfully on its bed of dairy and hit with a smattering of chopped bits of chive. The dish costs $42. And if you want to check it out, note that RH San Francisco is currently the only RH restaurant where the dish is offered.
Is this a caviar dish? Is this an avocado dish? All signs point to this being a caviar dish, since the ingredient likely stands as the main driver of pricing, but it’s an interesting question to consider. The RH avocado haunted social media in the days since the debut of RH San Francisco in May, from former San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer to a video declaring it “the most expensive avocado in San Francisco.” But it’s perhaps not as unusual of a pairing as it might seem to those with less-than-caviar-tastes: other restaurants are also dressing up their avocados with bits of briny caviar. Some digging turned up places such as Alderwood in Santa Cruz, which offers a similarly grilled avocado version as RH — a Brokaw Ranch avocado served with smoked avocado tree honey, creme fraiche, and extra virgin avocado oil for $14, with an add-on of 30g of Kaluga caviar that bumps its price to $85. Ernest in San Francisco, meanwhile, has its own version of a grilled avocado, but with Everything Seed, sprouts, and smoked trout roe for $17.
I won’t presume to tell you how to consume caviar, but if you prefer your avocado without caviar, and vice versa, RH does have a whole smashed avocado served with charred ciabatta and aged balsamic for $22 at lunch, and caviar options available at dinner starting at $60 (15 oz) and up, paired with “classic garnishes.”