With bar superstar power in place at Jasper's, Startlight Room, and the Fifth Floor, Kimpton Hotel group seems to be determined to improve the quality of cocktails for visitors and locals alike. Now, Kristin Almy is at the Grand Café, where she's revamped the menu to serve what she describes as "contemporary takes on classic French and American cocktails."
She adds that, "I wanted the cocktails to taste like drinking with Picasso in Monteparnasse."
Almy's creative approach to the menu emphasizes French flavors and a sense of the era evoked by the restaurant's decor rather than simply focusing on traditional French cocktails. The aperitif cocktail Merci ($8, Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, housemade blackberry liqueur, sparkling wine) rides a nice balance of interesting, not too sweet, and lightly fruity and herbal. The Bardot ($9, lavender infused Absolut, St. Germaine, lemon, rosemary syrup, egg white) has an Herbes de Provence quality that lends more fragrance than overpowering flavors. Almy describes the Moulin Rouge ($10, Tanqueray 10 Gin, Pernod, housemade lime cordial, Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon soda) as a gin and tonic meets traditional pastis and water. It tastes like like a patio drink you would enjoy on sunny day in France.
The menu will rotate out once a quarter, and with the great success that the other Kimpton properties have had drawing in locals and visitors we're looking forward to see how Almy's menu and the Grand Café develop.
Grand Cafe, 501 Geary (at Taylor), 292-0101