The bed of lacinato kale and maitake mushrooms was both visually interesting and tasty, but the most arresting characters on the plate were the pair of butternut squash tempura, tabs of orange flesh battered and flash-fried. "They're sweet!" cried my tablemate, a noted dessert maven, but they weren't that sweet and also retained a savory richness.
And speaking of savory richness: we come now to the mushroom ravioli ($22), the free-form kind, like a trio of round sandwiches built with disks of spinach pasta and filled with a dice of sautéed wild mushrooms lifted to the sublime by the earthy breath of black truffles and an impressive, buttery wash of what the menu card calls "mushroom consommé." Here at last we had a liquid worthy of being sopped up with the fine bread, but the fine bread was long gone by then.
Bread pudding is an exercise in both frugality and expansiveness, so why not make one tres lechesstyle ($8), with an angel foodlike cake soaked in various forms of milk? For additional interest, sauce it with dulce de leche (sugar caramelized in milk) and toss a few tapioca pearls in there. The result was sweet but not cloying, substantial but not heavy, and wet but not soggy. Our knives went right through it, and they weren't even Globals. *
Breakfast: Mon.Fri., 710:30 a.m. Brunch: Sat.Sun., 7:30 a.m.1:30 p.m. Lunch: Mon.Fri., 11:30 a.m.2 p.m. Dinner: Mon.Thurs. and Sun., 5:3010 p.m.; Fri.Sat., 5:3010:30 p.m.
Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF
Beer and wine