Hands down, this was our best dining experience in San Francisco. We loved the intimate environment and the friendly, knowledgeable, and straight-up excellent service. (Thank you, Gemma!)
I had the tasting menu- "A Taste of AME" with the wine pairings. (My husband Tom was still pretty full from our meal at Gary Danko the night before so he chose 3 courses a la carte, including dessert) Here are the courses and the wine pairings:
First Course: Three preparations of sashimi. 1) Thai snapper with green beans and tomatoes, 2) scallop with sea urchin and cucumber, and 3) and smoked trout with trout roe, apple fennel slaw, and horseradish creme fraiche. Oh. My. God. Two of these were some of the tastiest bites I had throughout my entire trip (this includes our lunch at French Laundry.) All three were wonderful, but the scallop/sea urchin and smoked trout were truly special.
Paired with saki- Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo. lovely.
Second Course: Cream of Sunchoke Soup with Fois Gras Tortelloni. Also amazing. The texture and flavor of the soup, the simple richness of the tortelloni- really, just wonderful.
Paired with Schafer-Frolich Reisling Spatlese 2007 "Bockenauer Felseneck." A very nice pairing.
Third Course: Broiled Sake Marinated Black Cod in Shiso Broth. A definite contrast to the lusciousness of the previous course. Very straight-ahead, clean umami flavors.
Paired with: Fountaine Gagnard Pommard 2006 Premiere Cru "Les Rugiens" from Burgundy France. At this point in the meal I was in a total blissed out state, and don't have a particular memory of this wine, but I am sure it was awesome.
Fourth Course: Grilled Quail on Risotto with DeVaro Beans, Pioppini Mushrooms, Summer Beans, and Fois Gras Sauce. Yum. I think I was post-verbal by this course, so that's all I have.
Paired with Albiouness Sangiouvese 2006 "Game Farm Ranch" from Napa.
Fifth Course/Dessert: I chose the Apple Dumpling in Apple Cider Sauce and Buttermilk Ice Cream, which was paired with a Hungarian apple wine. Very nice- autumn-esque and light after the meal.
1) "Lissi's Staff Meal" as the name suggests, a comfort food jumble of awesomeness. Cuddlefish cut into "noodles," sea urchin, sunnyside up quail egg, trout roe, okra, and fermented soy beans. He loved it.
2) A full serving of the smoked trout sashimi that I'd had a bite of in the first course. Lightly Smoked Tasmania Ocean Trout "Mi cuit" with Apple Fennel Salad, Trout Roe and Horseradish Crème Fraiche. He loved it as much as I did.
3) Sautéed Gulf Shrimp and Ezo Abalone in Garlic Parsley Butter Sauce with Maitake Mushrooms and Preserved Lemon - good, but not as good as the two courses previous, in his opinion. He thought the mushrooms were the best part of the dish. (Man, we had a lot of awesome mushrooms during our trip)
He shared my dessert and we had cappucinos at the end.
The food was really a revelation. Also, this was the first wine pairing of the trip that I had so it was the start of a really wonderful education as far as wine and food goes. I can't speak highly enough of this place, in every aspect of the meal.
689 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
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