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fantastic birthday dinner at chaz

felice | Sep 27, 200409:40 PM

For my birthday, Nathan treated me to dinner at Chaz in the Marina district. Chaz is a small quiet French restaurant that I had read about in one of Patricia Unterman's Examiner reviews. I was impressed that the chef did all the cooking himself and I was surprised that there were very few people eating there - one other couple, and one lone diner.

We started off with lobster consomme with crayfish dumplings and foie gras torchon with fig marmalade and grilled bread. The broth was good but probably not the best I will have in my lifetime. On the other hand, the dumplings were heavenly. They were bursting with crayfish, and the flavor was fresh and pure. The foie gras was creamy and extra smooth - good but not spectacular, mostly due to very subdued flavor. When I eat foie gras, I want it to taste like foie gras, not butter.

The entrees were mindblowing. We had lamb crusted with espresso laid on top of cabbage and tomatoes. The espresso worked very well with lamb and the flavor combination was new and exciting for me. Of course, everything was perfectly cooked, yada, yada, yada. We also had venison with persimmons and fettucine. The persimmons and venison were another match made in heaven. Any further descriptions of this dish would not do it justice. Both entrees would be worthy of an Iron Chef competition - displaying flavor combinations that best showcase the main ingredient.

For dessert we shared a chocolate tart that was warm, not too sweet, and very good.

Overall, I thought the food was better than the food at any other restaurant in its price range (entrees $24-$30). The flavors are more interesting and less mainstream.

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