My dad told me about this restaurant, some of his friends had mentioned that it was very good, so on Friday I went to check it out.
The Shut-Up-and-Give-it-to-Me-Quick Version:
Winner. (The meatballs and cheesecake were orgasmic.)
Not at all a Persian restaurant, but delicious nonetheless.
Mon – Thurs 4 pm – 10 pm
Fri 4 pm – 11 pm
Sat 5 pm – 11 pm
Closed on Sundays
The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:
I was really looking forward to trying this, seeing as I’m half Persian. I know that a lot of people are disappointed because they are expecting a Persian restaurant, but having looked at the menu beforehand, I knew what to expect. Flytrap has a menu that is influenced by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, but by no means is this a Persian restaurant. If you go in with the right expectations, you won’t be disappointed.
As soon as we walked in, we were greeted warmly and decided to take a seat at the bar since we were early. Every staff member we came into contact with was very gracious and super friendly. The bartender delighted us with a bit of storytelling. Flytrap has a very rich history; they are the fifth oldest restaurant in San Francisco. The owner used to put flytraps under each table because of all the horse and buggies in the city and the restaurant quickly became known as “that flytrap restaurant” and although the owner hated it, the name stuck.
As we were sitting at the bar we were admiring the décor; the high ceilings make the place look much bigger and the dim light and wallpaper really make the place feel classy, but comfortable. I must say the only thing that feels really out of place are the restrooms, the ambience of the restaurant definitely doesn’t translate to their old and unkempt bathrooms.
Sidenote: Attire is casual, there were some people that were more dressed up and they didn’t look out of place, but most were less formal.
What we ate (and drank):
- Pomegranate daiquiri ($12)
- Mai tai ($12)
- Roasted eggplant “kashk bademjan” ($13)
- Grilled stuffed calamari ($14)
- Pistachio meatballs ($14)
- Black cardamom braised short rib ($29)
- Goat cheesecake ($9)
- Cucumber yogurt pudding ($9)
We told the bartender that Dennis (the boyfriend – I think it’s about time he gets a name) likes sour drinks and I like sweet ones. She decided to make him a pomegranate daiquiri and gave me the mai tai. Dennis loved it and even ordered seconds (maybe thirds, but shhh don’t tell anyone) – which is very unlike him. I really liked mine, it definitely wasn’t sweet, but it went down smooth. The pomegranate daiquiri was made with rum, veev, pomegranate syrup, and the glass was dipped in pistachio bits. The mai tai, which they refer to as “Flytrap’s original mai tai” has rum, solerno, orgeat and lime.
For the appetizers, the calamari was brought out first, which was a nice start. It wasn’t traditional as it was grilled, stuffed with chorizo and dressed with a tomatillo “emulsion”. The flavor was subtle but the sauce really helped bring everything together. The squid had just the right amount of bite, it left a good aftertaste and the chorizo provided the right kick (it is the most dominant flavor). The calamari was chewy, but not overly so.
The second dish we were served was the meatballs. These, to me, were much more Middle Eastern influenced, the meat definitely had some kabob seasoning and the flavor was rich and dense. We both loved this! This was, by far, one of the highlights of the night. The pomegranate on top added a needed crunch and the pistachios throughout added texture. The sauce was sweet and complemented the slight tartness of the meatballs. The red harissa didn’t make the dish spicy, but it added to the explosion of flavors. It was really love at first bite!
The last appetizer we tried was the eggplant, which was served on onion focaccia with walnuts, dried yogurt, mint, and turmeric cream. This was probably the most disappointing dish of the evening. I really like eggplant and I understand that it has a milder flavor, but this was a little too bland. Even with the flavored focaccia, the whole dish lacked seasoning. It might have been different if it came before the meatballs, but I found this dish underwhelming.
Since we weren’t overly hungry (and we had three appetizers – and we were leaving space for dessert) we shared an entrée. We chose the braised beef which came served on a bed of quinoa, cranberry beans, black eyed peas, natural jus and salsa verde. This dish was very good, the beef just slid right off the bone and although I like quinoa, I don’t usually find the need to order it when I’m out, but it was cooked very well. Each element added it’s own flavor and you could really taste every ingredient. It wasn’t super abundant in flavor, but still delicious. My only qualm was the salsa verde, I wish that it would’ve had more. It got lost in the dish and when I was able to single it out, it made the dish that much better- adding a refreshing element that tied the whole thing together.
When dessert time rolled around we ordered the cheesecake and the cucumber yogurt. The goat cheese cheesecake was probably one of the best cheesecakes I have ever had. You obviously have to like goat cheese, but for those on the fence I would urge you to try this. I was in love! The cheesecake is served with candied almonds and eggplant jam. As much as I enjoyed the garnishes, I preferred the cheesecake by itself. The “crust” had a shortbread-like texture that was sweet and went ravishingly well with the goat cheese filling. You know those sounds that I explained were a tell-tale sign that something was orgasmic, well we definitely made those sounds haha. I couldn’t get enough of this dessert.
The cucumber yogurt was much different in flavor. For those who have had the traditional cucumber and mint yogurt, it tasted a lot like that with a much more gelatin texture. It is served as two small mounds of pudding with sour cherry preserves, rose petals and cardamom. The cherries were sweet and sour and although I thought the actual cherry was too sweet, I enjoyed the cherry sauce because it upped the flavor of the pudding. I really liked that the pudding had actual bits of cucumber. I liked this dessert and was glad to try something really different but I am not sure I would order it again.