12/11/2012 04:47 pm ET Updated Feb 10, 2013

SF Chefs Fall Dinner Party: Mind Your SPQRs And AQs

This article comes to us courtesy of 7x7 magazine.

By Allie Pape

While the first two dinners in the fall Dinner Party Project series embraced stalwarts of the San Francisco restaurant scene, the final dinner was all about the young guns.

Though they're both only 34, SPQR's Matthew Accarrino and AQ's Mark Liberman have racked up impressive credentials, working for the likes of Thomas Keller, Tom Colicchio, and Daniel Boulud. Liberman earned AQ a James Beard Award nomination for Best New Restaurant this year, while Accarrino has just published his first cookbook.

The pair chose to work together after dining at each other's restaurants and being impressed with the food, and their collaboration reflected a modern approach, without sacrificing the attention to ingredient quality that defines Northern California cuisine. As Liberman put it before the dinner, "In New York, I worried about what size I cut a carrot into; here, I worry about what size I should ask the farmer to grow it to."

The meal kicked off with an umami-rich veal consomme with black truffle and cubes of a tofu-like root vegetable milk, which the chefs filled with delicate, handmade tortelloni.

As diners polished off the soup, plates of pinwheeled fennel rolls arrived on the table to pair with the first course, Accarrino's guinea hen terrine encased in a cider gelee and topped with a powder made from the crispy skin of the hen. The contrast between the soft rolls, creamy terrine, acidic gelee, and crisp, fatty skin was delightful, and showcased an attention to texture that would repeat itself in both chefs' dishes over the course of the evening.

The second dish, a stew crafted by Liberman, was equally stirring, with firm abalone and salsify playing against a creamy green sauce and crisp topping.

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