Thursday, May 29, 2008

FLEUR DE LYS, San Francisco, CA

After a couple months of getting settled into our new apartment the Bay Area, we were finally ready to explore the vast array of top-notch San Francisco restaurants. We figured the best place to start was a romantic trip to Fleur de lys, rated one of the top restaurants in the country. Known for their Cal-New French cuisine and magical setting, we were excited to be able to finally experience this highly regarded restaurant.

lentils and butternut squash soup
We didn't quite get the connection between the butternut squash soup and the lentils (if there was even supposed to be one), but each bite was very tasty and got us excited about what was to come.

baeckeoffe foie gras, truffles and fingerling potato
seared duck burger and foie gras on brioche bun
The "baeckeoffe" on the left is Chef Hubert Keller's take on the classic dish from his native French province of Alsace. Traditionally made with lamb, his updated version was a mix of delicate fois gras, potatoes, and vegetables with a lovely hint of black truffles. The duck burger on the right was topped with a layer of melt-in-your-mouth fois gras.

with jalapeno brioche, truffle duxelle
This was the best dish of the night. The cappuccino consisted of a rich and chunky oxtail and wild mushroom soup, topped with a creamy mushroom foam. It was extraordinary. The jalapeno brioche and truffle duxelle were very good as well, although almost superfluous.

with a lobster truffle mac & cheese "en brioche"
accented with a red wine, shallot, thyme bordelaise sauce
The seared fillet was topped with a nice chunk of lobster, and was surrounded by a very lovely red wine sauce. The lobster mac and cheese was very good but not the best we have ever had, mainly because the brioche was a bit chewy and not as flaky as we would have liked. Still a solid dish though.

thinly sliced with rustic vegetables
enhanced with a spicy lemongrass, ginger & red wine sauce
Keeping with the meat theme, our second entree was a buffalo strip steak. Compared to a regular strip steak, the buffalo was extremely tender and very flavorful. However, Suni wasn't wowed by the rustic vegetables or sauce, so overall he wasn't impressed by the dish.

lightly spiced dark chocolate ganache, home made beignet
banana flavored milkshake, frozen fennel ice cream "pomme frites"
Fleur de lys' famous fleurburger is an artistic and whimsical take on the classic burger, fries, and shake combo. The burger was made up of the following: beignet (bun), passionfruit gelee (cheese), chocolate ganache (meat), strawberry (tomato), and kiwi (pickle). The frozen fennel fries sat in a chocolate cup, next to dollops of strawberry "ketchup". The banana milkshake was served with a warm donut hole. Definitely an A+ for presentation and creativity.

presented with an apple-brioche sandwich and warm chocolate donut
cooled off with black & white chocolate sorbets
This was also a fun and interesting dessert, with a nice variety of flavors. The apple-brioche sandwich on the right was topped with tapioca balls, and the bittersweet chocolate mousse in the middle had a layer of strawberry white chocolate on top. The warm donut on the top left satisfied our chocolate cravings, as did the two chocolate sorbets. The plate was finished with a nice brush of lemon curd to balance the sweetness of the dish.

Extremely full, we almost groaned with the petit fours arrived. The plate was filled with a combination of truffles, fruit tartlets, marshmallows, and passionfruit candies. I tasted each one, but Suni was too full to partake.

Our overall opinion of Fleur de lys is that while the restaurant was absolutely beautiful and the service was amazing, the food wasn't quite as good as we hoped. Compared to Daniel in NY, we just weren't as impressed. Granted, we had very high expectations, but we felt that the food was inconsistent. Not all the dishes had the "wow" factor we would expect from such a highly regarded restaurant.

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