I was just in San Francisco last week and tried this restaurant for the first time, believe it or not. I normally do not like to blog about restaurants who has already received a Michelin star or stars because most people already know about them. Just buy the Michelin guide or search on the net, you will find those restaurants that are already approved by so many professional people in the food industry. I can’t say that it’s my “discovery”.
There are many more reasons for not wanting to blog about Michelin star restaurants. One of the minor reasons is I don’t want to have a “snob blog” that I taste and praise only the well-approved, pricy or even over-priced restaurants that you really have to break the piggy bank to go to on a “special occasion”.
La Folie has been well known for a long time–the restaurant opened its doors in 1988! I have to admit that I wasn’t that excited to go. I though it was probably another one of those “stiff manners” French restaurants. Can you tell it wasn’t my idea to go to this restaurant in the first place?
My husband’s friend Ali, who is a regular customer at La Folie, recommended this place and even made sure to slip us in to the reservation book on short notice. Thanks to Ali, I don’t know how long in advance you need to make a reservation.
Right after we were seated, our waiter approached, and his manner was so smooth without being stiff, I decided that I would take pictures of every course, just in case, still not believing I’d have anything much to write about the place.
Even though I like all kind of foods and French food is also one of my favorites, but I don’t write about it that often. There are so many courses until, toward the end, I’m normally beyond full and I don’t even want to look at the pictures of the dishes I took during the meal. Let alone going back to the restaurant again in the next few months, or even years.
I just want to tell you that La Folie is quite different. The atmosphere is so cozy even in the formal set up. I didn’t feel like I was being “watched”, and we didn’t have to wait too long for the next course. The waitstaff were walking around doing their thing and when we needed something, they showed up, just like magic.
Our waiter, Trey, was excellent. He expertly explained about the foods, gave us some idea about what to expect and left us to decide. The portion of each course was “traditional”, he warned us early. They don’t do “tiny decor on the big plates”, and they only serve five courses or less. Not the twenty-five-course-one-bite-each style.
Our waiter told us that we may only need four courses, but we wanted to have the full experience so we decided to go for the full five courses. We finished most of each course, and still want to go back there to try something else! Everything was excellent. You can see the pictures as a proof, but I took pictures under the dim lights with my little compact camera so they didn’t come out as great, but as I was looking at the pictures I wanted to go eat there again.
Pricing at this restaurant is totally reasonable. OK, in the month of September, 2013. The price for five courses is only $100 per person. I think the four course was $90 and there is a three course choice as well. Also, the tasting menu, which is a five course fixed choice, chosen by the chef, is only $110! This is really, really reasonable for the kind of food they served! I spent more than this at a sushi joint, easily. I was really surprised.
At the end of the night the chef, Roland, who was just finishing in the kitchen (I guess) showed up in the dining room, and he didn’t mind taking picture with us too. I almost whispered to him “Your foods are so amazing, you don’t even need to make the rounds to greet us. You can stay in the comfort of your kitchen and we will still be coming back for more of your food.”
Haha…it’s just my personal theory, that the chef doesn’t really need to greet the diners unless he knows them in person OR he wasn’t so sure about the food he served. Then he should come out to see what the diners thought. I’ve dine at a place where the chef/owner was considered a “celebrity”. He came out to make his greeting round at 8pm. I was wondering, “Who’s cooking then?”.
WHERE: La Folie
2316 Polk St., San Francisco 94109 (between Green & Union St. in Russian Hill)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (OMG aol.com still exists? Now you know how long they’ve been there!)
Web site is www.lafolie.com
WHEN: Monday – Saturday 5:30pm – 10:30pm
HOW: Online reservations are available at OpenTable.com
WHO: Roland Passot and his wife Jamie
Amuse bouche roasted fig Gorgonzola spiced walnuts. (on my instagram)
Second one. Coddled egg yolk with cream, leek and potato crisp and brioche stick (that is the photo at the top of this blog)
Third: smoked salmon lollipop with marscapone cheese and caviar and pickled carrots.
Cauliflower and lobster soup
Octopus and uni with sturgeon caviar and avocado mousse
Vanilla roe over oyster,
kafir lime roe over scallops
and brandy roe over kampachi sashimi
You might have thought that this is bone marrow…but that’s not correct.
It’s snails in Pernod butter topped with bone marrow gratin surrounded by parsley foam
Black cod over ratatouille and…
a fried squash blossom stuffed with mussels
Massachusetts day-boat scallop ove squid ink spaghetti and uni topped with a shaved, cured tuna heart.
Rabbit, three ways: leg, loin (rolled) and rib rack
Rabbit rib rack (pretty tiny)…
with the liver,fried and placed over leeks
Quail and squab rolled and stuffed and wrapped with potato crisps, and a quail egg sunny side up over a sweetbread pancake on the side
Shaved Italian black truffles over both the quail and rabbit