Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dinner @ La Folie in San Francisco, CA

I finally got the chance to hit up La Folie in San Francisco.  La Folie is one of San Francisco's most famous French restaurants, having been there since 1988.  It's been awarded a Michelin star since the first guide in San Francisco in 2007 and has a four star review from the San Francisco Chronicle.

La Folie offers either a tasting menu that's 5 courses (plus the amuse, petites, palette cleansers, etc.) or a "pick-n-choose" price fixe menu.  You can pick anywhere from 3 to 5 courses out of a list of about 20.  It includes appetizers, entrees, and desserts.  The only rule is you can't pick more than one entree item.

We elected to go with the pick-n-choose and we both decided to stay conservative and order just 3 courses, an appetizer, entree, and dessert.  That was a wise choice.  We would have been stuffed with more.  If you go with more than 3 courses, I'd recommended choosing dishes that are a bit more light and small (such as soup).  We did however, add a small course of a half of an ounce of caviar, just for fun.  So it was pushing 4 courses anyways.

So first we got some amuse dishes.

1) foie gras soup / cappucino

The waitress said this was one of the chef's specialties, a foie gras cappucino, although I think it I would liken it more as a foie gras soup.  The waitress even called it a foie gras soup to the table next to us.  I thought it was really tasty.  Admittedly, I haven't had enough foie gras in my life to discern the foie gras flavor, but it was a very tasty broth.

2) quail egg w/ corn soup

Next was another amuse dish, a small poached quail egg in a corn soup.  I thought it was an interesting dish overall.

3) russian osetra caviar w/ lobster potato blinis and creme fraiche

Next came our caviar tasting.  I was actually a bit surprised how much caviar there was, as I thought a half ounce was gonna be a lot smaller.  The picture perhaps doesn't do it justice.  I didn't know what lobster potato blinis was, but it apparently was just some lobster between two small potato-like pancakes.  It was an actual nice chunk of lobster claw, not just little lobster pieces which I thought it would be, so that was nice.  I thought the caviar was delicious. I probably would have enjoyed it more just by itself, although everything else was nice as well. 

4) day boat scallop, with uni, crème beurre noisette, braised young leeks - w/ corn

My date and I couldn't figure out what to have as an appetizer and we both really wanted the scallop, so we got the same one.  It was delicious.  The picture doesn't do this scallop justice as it was quite large and sizable.  Not the normal "entree" like scallops you normally see.  I had this feeling that corn was in season, as there were numerous corn dishes on the menu.

5A) Liberty Farm Duck Breast, Tokyo Turnips, Confit Cockscomb, Stone Fruit - Duck Jus - w/ Plums, Bok Coy, and Foie Gras

I got the duck breast as my entree.  It was cooked rarer than I think I've ever had duck before.  It was quite soft and far better than the duck I recall having a Cotogna.  There was a small bit of foie gras that was added (it's the small roll at the bottom of the photo) that was infused with some citrus flavors.  It and the grilled plums were particularly delicious.  I wasn't particularly enthused with the cockscomb, which had a bit of a muschroomy like texture to them (which I hate mushrooms).  I didn't even know what the ingredient was and had to ask the waiter at some point.

As an aside, I almost ordered the lamb as my entree.  I'm glad I didn't when we saw another couple order it at another table.  The rack was probably twice the size of the duck breast.

5B) Trio of Devil’s Gulch Ranch Rabbit, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Summer Vegetables, Natural Jus - w/ rabbit liver

My date got the trio of rabbit for her entree, which ended up with a bonus of an extra part of the rabbit.  Included were the rack of rabbit, a wrap of the rabbit loin, rabbit liver, and another part of the rabbit that I can't recall.  I thought the coolest part of the dish was the garden of vegetables lined up at the back of the dish. 

It was a lot more food than my duck breast.  The waiter actually told my date, "It's a lot of food, you don't have to try and finish it all".  I actually had to help her eat a nice chunk of this plate and we still couldn't finish.

6) summer berry soda

Then we got a light refreshing summer berry soda as a palette cleanser.

7A) Tasting of Melon, Watermelon Consommé, Cucumber Granite, Espelette - w/ Cantaloupe Sorbet

For my dessert, I specifically wanted something light.  Normally this dish comes with pineapple, but since I'm mildly allergic I asked them to remove it.  Overall, a nice refreshing sorbet with fruit.  It was a nice end to dinner.

7B) Mousse Au Chocolat, Smoked Chocolate Cremeux, Chicory Ice Cream, Cocoa paper

My date went and got something a bit heavier for dessert.  From what I tasted, also quite tasty.  The cocoa paper was particularly nice.

8) petite fours

And finally we got some petit fours.  The strawberry gelatin was particularly good.

The meal took about 2 hours total, which was perhaps a tad fast by most fancy restaurant standards.  It's perhaps part of the reason we were a tad stuffed after our entree course.   The heavier meat entree dishes definitely stuffed us.  The portions for every course at La Folie (with the exception of the dessert) were quite sizable, which was a surprise.  So for those looking to head over there, be careful of ordering more than 3 courses.

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