The Prix Fixe lunch at Citron in Rockridge has got to be the best white-tablecloth deal in town. I'd only been to Citron for dinner before, and the prices are high enough for me to have passed it up several times when we were walking down College Ave. looking for an impulse dinner. But this impulse lunch was a revelation.
The Prix Fixe of the day - Mesclun Salad, Lamb Sugo with Grilled Eggplant, Gnocchi and Mint, and Strawberry Ice Cream - sounded substantial on paper, but exceeded expectations in the flesh. The portions were FULL SIZE, and the lamb sugo was spicy, deep, and vibrated with baritone flavor. The ice cream (a generous 2.5 scoops with two large cookies and fresh strawberries), tasted like mom's best, made with a backyard surplus of yummy organic berries and thick, rich, cooked cream. Our meal started with a delectable Amuse Bouche (I know, an Amuse Bouche at a reasonably priced lunch place, crazy!) of salmon cakes on butter lettuce. This cake was incredible, dotted with minute cubes of celery root, which somehow balanced out the lemony flavors of the fish. I was charmed, this place had me at Amuse Bouche!
We also ordered a bowl of olives to share for $5. This at first seemed a little high to me, until I saw the bowl. There was easily 3/4 of a pound of olives in there, a top notch mix of Luques, Picholine, Nicoise, Cerignola, and a couple of others I couldn't identify. Each olive was perfectly and distinctively itself. The portion was so large that our server asked us if we wanted to pack up the remainder to take home. I should have said yes, I thought as I was driving away.
We rounded off our meal with an appetizer salad, another pristine beauty of generous proportion: gorgerous persimmon/ochre striped heirlooms, interspersed with lemon cucumbers and a cucumber gelee (which was a nice idea, but lacked punch). Overall, delicious.
Total for the meal (before tip): $37.00 for more than two hungry people could eat, very good service, and a gracious atmosphere. What's not to like? Dress code seems pretty Rockridge fancy, BTW.