Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quince - San Francisco

The birthday celebration for Alyssa J. Rapp was a beautiful 20 person private dining affair at a well known San Franciscan destination named Quince. We were treated to a tour of the private wine cellar and a delicious rose bubbly before sitting down to our four course meal.

Alyssa chose the wine pairings which, not surprisingly, delivered a perfect complement to each course and presented a highlight in their own right. The food, however, was disappointing. I realize expectations run high for a one-star Michelin rated restaurant, but I arrived with an open mind. Our first two courses displayed signs of brilliance and quality of exceptional cuisine, but not consistently and certainly not with the main course. Private parties of large size probably present unique challenges to the kitchen, but that is not an excuse. I would also like to see and possibly explore the entire menu, but all I have to work with is our meal.
Our amuse-bouche was a delicious melon gazpacho with mint and cucumber. The first course was a single seared scallop topped with a muscle served over a potato puree. The scallop was perfectly cooked and tender, but I did not see how the oyster or puree added to the flavor of the dish. It was a nice start, but too bland with all the ingredients used.


Our second course was the best and a popular favorite among the diners. It was roasted red pepper and cheese filled tortelloni. There were amazing flavors that grew more complex with each bite. The pasta was handmade and tasted fresh. Everything worked well and I could have consumed at least 10 more.

The main course was a choice between chicken and lamb. I choose lamb and Erica chose chicken. Neither dish impressed us. My lamb had flavor but did not seem to be anything more complicated than what I or my better cooking friends could produce at home on our grill. There was no sauce and the sides of fingerling potato and artichoke puree were small and strange, respectively. It was also a rather small portion, especially for the main course of a four course meal. Erica’s report on the chicken was similar and my one taste did not reveal anything I would describe as special.

Alyssa made a good decision by selecting a cheese course as opposed to a traditional dessert. The cheeses were very good and well portioned. I could have done twice as many, but I love cheese and some self restraint is a valuable quality. I don’t know how much credit to give a restaurant for a cheese plate. They didn’t make the cheese, but I recognize there is a skill to selecting high quality cheese. The wine pairing stole the show though - Chateau Haut-Peyraguey Bordeaux, Sauternes, 2005 . It was the best dessert wine I have enjoyed because it was not overly sweet. There was a perfect balance of smoothness and sweetness that leaves a special taste and feeling in the mouth. Perhaps the wine is the reason I loved the cheese so much…

I hate to sound like the meal wasn’t great, but the best part of the evening was not the food. We were with great company in a beautiful private room drinking world class wine. One dish was worthy of high acclaim, but the rest were forgettable. I am certain Quince is deserving of the recognition and awards and I would like to return for delicious Italian cuisine. If the tortelloni were any indication, I bet there are some knock-out pasta dishes. For now, it was a great birthday celebration with many more to follow.

Full Menu
Sea Scallop  (binjte potato puree, oyster and saffron emulsion)
paired with Zacherle Viognier, 2007

Tortelloni (oven dried tomato and burrata cheese)
paired with Venica Malvasia, 2009

Watson Farm Lamb (fingerling potato, taggiasche olive, fennel and orange)
paired with Chateau Montelena, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007

Tome dolce, comte grand cru and reblochon cheeses
paired with Chateau Haut-Peyraguey Bordeaux, Sauternes, 2005

Quince on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could have joined for the meal. Looks seriously gorgeous.



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