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What The Michelin-Starred Grub is Like at The Intercontinental San Fran

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  Site Where: 888 Howard St. [map], San Francisco, CA, United States, 94103
October 28, 2009 at 12:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

Though Michelin decided to skip rating Los Angeles restaurants this year, we caught word of their just-released 2010 San Francisco rankings and noticed that Luce at the Intercontinental San Francisco just got its first star under the direction of recent Iron Chef competitor, Dominique Crenn.

After our meal there this past weekend, we totally understand why.

The meal begins with an unassuming amuse bouche of panna cotta-textured celery root mousse with citrus foam to get your palate ready for the unexpected flavor combinations still to come. Appetizers on the menu, which is small but still impressive and diverse, run the gamut from a warm and hearty autumn vegetable medley, to a streamlined Kona kampachi tartare served with pickled apples and shaved cauliflower with bright green celery sorbet, to a combination of both styles in the modern dressing up of an erstwhile working-class comfort food: roasted bone marrow (served in-bone lest you have any doubts) with garlic confit, fried capers gremolata and grilled bread.

Smear it all together and you’re transported back to a 19th century farmer’s table.

Likewise, entrees present a combination of rustic yet sophisticated fare like juicy squab accompanied by pears, chanterelles and a creamy brioche velouté with vanilla port; meaty Niman Ranch tenderloin slow-cooked with parsnips and brussel sprouts; and delicate organic papardelle with moist short ribs in a rich wild mushroom sauce.

Despite the richness, portions are well considered, and you should have room for desserts like the huckleberry financier pastry with coconut-lime sorbet, or the paper-thin apple tart…even if you do indulge in one of the bottles from the extensive but extremely well priced and geographically diverse wine list.

As is the latest trend, many of the menu items come with an attribution to the farms that produce the meats, vegetables and fruits used, and a portion of the proceeds of certain dishes goes to the San Francisco Meals on Wheels charity. Unfortunately, we don’t think any money from the hotel’s room rates starting at $275 per night are directed towards charity.

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