Wednesday, November 29, 2006

coi

To celebrate Lisette’s birthday we dined at Coi.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoI was expecting to enjoy our meal for several reasons. First, Lisette selected the destination, and she is pretty good at picking restaurants. Second, Coi’s chef, Daniel Patterson, is well-known from a controversial NYT article and innovative stints at Elisabeth Daniel and Frisson.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoThird, Coi was one of the most anticipated openings of 2006, and the follow-up press suggested that it was not a disappointment. Gayot, for example, just named Coi of the country’s 10 best new restaurants.


the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoCoi (pronounced “kwah”) is archaic French for calm, and that is a perfect adjective for the simple, elegant and modern décor (photos). Coi is small – less than thirty seats in the main dining room and fewer than 20 in the outer lounge – and it is ideal for groups of 2 and 4.

Diners are presented a choice of a 4 course menu (of which there are 3 options for each course) or the 11 course tasting menu. As the pictures suggest, we opted for the latter.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoEach item we sampled offered wonderful surprises. In some there were unusual tastes, others offered a variety of temperatures, others still used texture to delight, and all used ingredients in unique ways. Each was delicate, balanced, perfectly prepared and utterly delicious.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoAfter starting with an amuse-bouche, we had a pink grapefruit foam with citrus underneath. A drop of fragrant oil with hints of ginger, tarragon, black pepper and grapefruit, designed to be placed on the wrist and sniffed before sampling the foam, enhanced the flavors and the fun.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoThe second course was rich and decadent: farm raised Osetra caviar on top of sautéed bone marrow. A warm buckwheat bellini and a beet gelee complete the dish. This was followed with sea bream sashimi. White soy and citrus yuzu were well-matched with the subtle fish.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoThe meal continued on its adventurous path with a soft-cooked egg yolk with bacon, onion relish and parmesan foam. And, it continued to combine the unexpected with the fifth: a smooth squash soup poured over walnut brittle, cipollini onions and cold cocoa mascarpone.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoMore intriguing still was the “pappardelle” in curry and coconut milk. Instead of flour and egg, the “noodles” were fashioned from yuba (tofu skin). None of the listed ingredients are favorites of mine but the combination was delectable.


the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoYou would think that we would be full at this point, but the portion size and the novelty made us anticipate each course to come. Next were two perfectly cooked scallops with jicama, green apple and a refreshing “Buddha’s hand” emulsion of hibiscus and mint.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoCourse eight extended the culinary delights with foie gras poached squab with endive, hibiscus and vanilla. The medium-rare squab was extremely tender and reason-alone to order the tasting menu. However, my vegetarian friends should note:

there are always non-meat, non-fish options on the four course menu and, with notice, a vegetarian tasting menu can be assembled as well.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoMy favorite item was the ninth: an onion tart with gruyere and arugula to provide balance. The pastry was sweet and flaky, and this dish provided a wonderful transition to our deserts. As a bonus, it was especially nice with the Vacheron Sancerre we were drinking with our meal.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoAh, the deserts. First were huckleberries, tapioca and maldon salt. I love maldon salt! Second was a chocolate brioche bread pudding with coconut ice cream and a mango sauce. And, finally, warm malted milk with the best peanut butter cookie I have ever had.

the tasting menu at Coi Restuarant, San FranciscoOur thanks to Daniel Patterson for a very entertaining menu and to his staff for their extreme professionalism. I am looking forward to a return visit and, if you haven’t been, I can’t recommend it highly enough. There is still a month left but I suspect that tonight’s dinner will be the best of 2006.

Coi: 373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA (415) 393-9000

3 Comments:

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had an outstanding meal at Coi earlier this year as well... easily one of the most interesting dinners we had in 2006. Chef Patterson is really doing some fantastic work!

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger allthingslucid said...

Paul,

Where did you hear that Coi is an archaic French word that means casual or tranquil?? Can you tell me where you came about this??

Secondly, how much is this restaurant? From what you described and from the pics, it looks EXTREMELY pricy. So I appreciate you telling me what the total of your bill was.

Thank you!

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger paul said...

Wikitionary has Coi as quiet, like

Le coi de la nuit

San Francisco Magazine may have been the source for the definition above.

The tasting menu is $105. If you order a la carte in the dining room or the bar you can escape for much less per person, but the tasting menu is fantastic. I saw a friend last night who had just taken his wife for her birthday and he was raving about the food.

 

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