Please bear in mind that I am not a full grown chowhound which means I don't really remember everything I eat but I do have some observations and would love to see what the "grown-ups" think.
By mere coincidence, I went to 3 French restaurants in the last 3 months - Masa, Charles Nob Hill and Gary Danko.
The worst bread - Gary Danko - cold and chewy.
The best sommlier - Gary Danko - even though we didn't order a very expensive bottle of wine, he still spent a good amount of time with us. Masa's sommelier was MIA. I did have had great wine at all 3 places.
The best valet - Gary Danko - the cost of the valet was included in the bill and our car was waiting for us as we exit.
The best foie gras (my must eat dish) - From a taste standpoint, Masa for sure. GD's was paired with caramelized onion and was SO sweet that it really over powered the foie gras itself. I actually had to leave most of the onions because it was so sweet. The waiter suggested trying it with a dessert wine and even com. us on it which was nice but I am not sure I would pair it that way again. The best presentation was CNH. It was served 3 different ways - seared, mousse and pate sytle. The seared version was also very good, the pate was a little too salty and the mousse was very rich (read heavy) and I can't say I tasted the foie gras at all.
Tasting menu - I like the GD's choices.
The meat dish - I had duck at Masa, beef at CNH (too salty) and quail(a little oily) at GD. Masa again was the best.
Atmosphere - I still remember the times when Masa was "old school" where everyone whisper. I thought, at that time, it was too stuff. After suffering from the "4 bells" restaurants all over town - including Masa, I miss the old days. I think all 3 restaurants are par for the course.
I had the GD cheese course and it was fabulous. They didn't have Tazmanian blue so may be next time.
After all these years, I have to say, Masa still rocks. All of their dishes were wonderfully executed.
On a separate note, I had great meals at Bistro Ralph in Healdsburg and Terra Brazillus (?) in SF recently.
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