La Folie, San Francisco

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 1

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)
Phone: 415.776.5577
Email: lafoliep@aol.com (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

WHAT:

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.

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 1 (1)

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 3

Cauliflower and lobster soup

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 4

Octopus and uni with sturgeon caviar and avocado mousse

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 5

Roe Sampler

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 7

Vanilla roe over oyster,

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 9

kafir lime roe over scallops

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and brandy roe over kampachi sashimi

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You might have thought that this is bone marrow…but that’s not correct.

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 6

It’s snails in Pernod butter topped with bone marrow gratin surrounded by parsley foam

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Black cod over ratatouille and…

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a fried squash blossom stuffed with mussels

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet

Massachusetts day-boat scallop ove squid ink spaghetti and uni topped with a shaved, cured tuna heart.

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Rabbit, three ways: leg, loin (rolled) and rib rack

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Rabbit rib rack (pretty tiny)…

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Rabbit loin…

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet (1)

Rabbit leg…

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with the liver,fried and placed over leeks

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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

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet (3)

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet (2)

Shaved Italian black truffles over both the quail and rabbit

Dessert——

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 18

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 19

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 20

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 21

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 22

La Folie San Francisco by The High Heel Gourmet 23

18 thoughts on “La Folie, San Francisco

  1. Lovely photos and interesting food! I don’t know when I will get back out to San Fran, but this is definitely a destination to keep in mind. Everything looks Delish! (Even if I can’t eat the tree nut items.) I do have to agree with strawberryquicksand –a lot of the price will go into presentation, alas.

  2. Looks AMAZING! I love that the restaurant wasn’t stiff and the staff wasn’t hovering. Nothing worse than paying $$$…or more and having to feel uncomfortable and irritated. I passed this link on to my cousin and his wife in SanFran. 🙂

  3. Welcome to San Francisco! Hope that the rest of your trip was a good one. There are Michelin-starred places that are more casual and have no pretensions; and there are those that are on the pricier side with over the top service. In either case, everyone who loves food deserves a splurge dinner every now and then :-P.

    • Do you know any others? I didn’t know that La Folie got the star in the beginning until I decided to blog about them. I went to Hakkasan too because I missed the original restaurant in London but this is not a Michelin star place. I ate at Sobo ramen in Oakland and another Italian place on Post in this trip too. I like all kind of restaurants and even street foods.

      • There are plenty of Michelin starred places in SF – the new list is due out any day now, but we can highly recommend the following places (there are plenty more, but these are worth getting to):
        2 Stars: Atelier Crenn, Benu
        1 Star: SQPR, Frances, Gary Danko

        Atelier Crenn (modernist cuisine), Benu (Asian-influenced continental) and Gary Danko (contemporary) are all prix-fixe multi-course chef’s menus.

        SPQR and Frances are more casual and provide a la carte dining off the menu.

        Next time you come to SF, we can help you with restaurant rec’s (you can read about some of them on BarFlySF too).

  4. I’ve heard about the coveted Michelin rating maybe once before your blog. (I’m not into all the top chef ratings and such.) I love discovering new places to eat in my City by the Bay. But just curious, is Michelin mainly for “snob” high-priced restaurants?

    • I’ve never seen any taco truck got the Michelin star. In order to be awarded the Michelin star, the service has to be acceptable too. So, I think mostly they are on the “snob” side, unfortunately. La Folie isn’t as high price as other French restaurant but they’re not cheap either. That’s why I don’t like to blog about the restaurant that got the Michelin stars that much. I’ve found that I like the one star much more than two or three stars.

      If you really look at La Folie they’re more casual but still not the place you will stroll in with jeans and flip-flops. There is another place in NYC that got one star and I like so much too. I might blog about it later this year when I get to go there again. It’s more casual than La Folie but they serve Chinese food though.

  5. the food sure looked very well plated and if you say they tasted great, i believe you. You’re my taste bud there, hahaha… but rabbit meat I’ll skip. i do quail, tuna heart, squid and everything else 😉

    and totally agree about the dim lights, i suffer the same thing, low light classy restaurant with good food. why can’t they let us show them in full glory? Haiz, i’m in search of a good low light lens. can’t have flash in French restaurants, can we?

    • I don’t want to disturb the other diners in the same restaurant with flash so I never use it. I don’t know what’s camera brand you are using but I use my compact camera. If you are using Nikon DSLR I love my D7000 with just f/1.4 normal lens (55mm) or macro 55.

      (I do like quail more than the rabbit too.)

  6. The food looked delicious, albeit a little pretentious. I find that the dearer the food, the less you get of it and the higher your expectations are… so that sometimes it’s not that great after all. It sounds like you enjoyed yourself and the food despite your reservations!

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