I call this comprehensive because of how much different food we went through.
I will start a seperate thread tomorrow on the wines, all but one of which we brought. The wine we ordered off the list was the 1996 Salon for $295, which is about $50 SOUTH of retail. Relative to my expectations, it was a let down, though still an awesome bottle of Champagne. More on that in my thread coming tomorrow...
We started with the corn soup with bacon and wild mushrooms -- one of the best soups I've had in SF, and a serious value @ $9. The corn gave real sweetness, but the saltyness from the corn kept the dish fresh, as did the earthy mushrooms.
The other two then had the fois gras which they seemed to enjoy very much.
We then had the cod with pork belly. Excellent. The fish was not "fishy" at all. It was fresh and, again, the mushrooms and pork belly played perfectly with it. The beans provided a hint of green. The dish was able to stand up to the 1991 Leroy Clos de la Roche we were drinking with it and, in fact, I would reccomend against any medium or lighter-bodied white with this dish as the prok belly really does add a rich component without masking the cod.
Next was the duck served several ways. This was unquestionably the food-star of the evening. The seared breast was excellent, but the orange skin and breast preperation (I forget exactly what it was) served with it was nothing short of phenomenal. One of the three best duck preperations I've had in the US. Just spectacular. This was a perfect pairing both for the Leroy and for the 1997 DRC La Tache.
Next was the beef short ribs. There isn't much to write about here. The dish was impressive, but how many times do you order braised short ribs at a nice restaurant and get let down? My friend found his to be slightly tough, though I did not find mine so, though I have had less stringy preperations. This might have slightly overwhelmed the Leroy, which was finished just before this was presented, but both the La Tache and the richer-than-expected 2001 Spinetta Barolo Campe were terrific matches.
Two terrific cheese plates were presented to finish the evening with the Barolo. The only service tick wasw when a server (not our main server) said that one of the cheeses on our plate was a cow's milk cheese when I am quite positive it was goat's milk. But that is a *seriouly* minor point and not the type of thing I would hold against anyone.
Service was absolutely expert. Wine service as well. Corkage was $15/bottle. They charged 2 x menu price for each dish on the menu despite there being three of us as they gave us slightly smaller portions (because, you know, we wanted so many main course courses). VERY accomodating. And, to be honest, after ordering a bottle of Salon, and having so many courses, getting out for $260/person (other than the wines we brought) after a very nice tip seemed like a good deal.
All-in-all I would not say that this is a cutting-edge restaurant. But it is deffinitely very good, and the type of place I think everyone would be able to agree on. This should be on people's RADAR for a fairly casual, but very nice, meal when adventuresness ought to be taking back seat to comfort.