It’s been a while since we had our dinner date, our first since our baby boy was born, at the charming and busy Frances. Who would have thought being a mom would also mean blogging about such a special restaurant 2 months later. Oh Frances, where do I even begin…everytime I mention your name, the first thing people ask is ’How did you get the reservation’? My reply, I was dealing with a crying baby in the wee hours of the morning and was able to make my reservations exactly 60 days out. And yes, I had a reminder in my calendar and reserved it online at 3:00am. And even though we had reservations for 7:30pm, we made it to the restaurant when they opened and were able to get seats at the bar facing all the action-the crazy yet organized kitchen. We LOVED our seats since the main dining area was small and crowded. I would also like to add that we were greeted by happy and friendly Paul, who we soon realized was the wine guy of the place.
Speaking of the wine, you MUST get their house wine. I don’t usually drink, but after I tasted their house wine I wish they sold it in stores so that I could enjoy a glass at home. Their house wine is blended by Paul, the super smiley wine guy, and Marco Cappelli from Miraflores Winery. And it is blended based on the seasonal menu ingredients selected by Chef Melissa Perello. This isn’t the only unique thing about the wine…they also charge 1 dollar per ounce. They serve the wine in a tall pitcher with measurements and anything you don’t pour into your glass, they actually take it back and won’t charge you for it!
The other special thing about this restaurant is that they feature a daily-changing menu focusing on seasonal local ingredients. So everything I’m mentioning here from 2 months ago may or may not be on the menu. We started with the ’OMGoodness’ Applewood Smoked Bacon Beignets served with Maple Chive Creme Fraiche. What the bacon is in this thing? We couldn’t even see the bacon but the flavors were infused in it!
We then shared the Dungeness Crab Risotto with Celery Root Confit and Meyer Lemon Cream. We probably should have ordered two, one for each of us, why did we even bother sharing when we were practically licking the cream off the spoon (okay, maybe only I was). This dish featured chunks of fresh Dungeness crab and serving it with the hint of zest from the Meyer lemon cream was genius! We also ordered the Persimmon Salad with Little Gems, Castelfranco Radicchio, Toasted Walnut and Blu di Lanzo, who knew persimmons tasted so good with blue cheese?!
For the entrees, we ordered the Five-Dot Ranch Bavette Steak served with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Caramelized Sunchoke and Persillade and the Sonoma Duck Breast served with Baby Kale, Delicata Squash, Lady Apple and Cipollini Onion. There is just something about all natural meat and poultry, they just taste better, more fresh and tender. And having it seasoned and cooked to perfection doesn’t hurt too. The chef selected the best accompaniments to serve with each dish!
Last but not least, the one dish that’s usually hard to make it to, the dessert. We were seated in front of the pastry person, we were eyeing everything she created the entire night. The one dessert that everyone kept ordering was the Chocolate Torte & Pecan Pie with Rum Caramel and Brown Butter Pecan Ice Cream. So seeing that it looked like the winner dessert for the night, we had to get one too! And yes…we were full, but we were not too full for this. There was chocolate sauce oozing out of the Chocolate Torte and it paired so well with the ice cream!
Wow Frances, you complete me, what an experience! If you want to taste ingredients for what the are, you must eat here!
This blog is dedicated to my grandpa, he passed away the day after this dinner, that’s probably the other reason why it took me so long to blog about this restaurant. Thank you grandpa, if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have this good life I have now. As I go on with my daily life, sometimes I forget about what my grandpa has gone through, his stories always made my life look so easy. I will always remember how much you sacrificed to give this life to us, we are truly blessed and fortunate in so many ways.