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Frisson Report (long)

Lauren | Mar 12, 2006 10:30 AM

Went to Frisson Saturday Night and not only did I love my time there, but have never seen it mentioned here so here it goes:

To start we had the Japanese sea bream sashimi with pickled mango salad and a rice wine sort of vinaigrette. The sashimi was served thinly slices and spread as sheets over the large white plate with a chiffonade of the mango. The sea bream which I had never heard of was a lot like a yellow fin I think. Also to start we had spice seared scallops with roasted cauliflower and tomato chutney. The cauliflower was both sauteed and pureed and you wouldn't beleive how well cauliflower (and butter) go with scallops. It was delicate but also had an earthy flavor, just as the scallops do. You first take a bite and love the texture, with a richer flavor coming next. 3 large scallops were served in a small bowl. For $13 it was typical, but still a good amount of money for a small starter. They also have on the menu a foie gras pb&j with rhubarb jelly like Hawthorne lane, didn't try it though.

Onto entree's. I had the roasted rack of lamb with herb and black olive gremolata with roasted vegetables. The olives crusted to the outside were delicious, and had just the salt that the robust lamb needs. It was beautifully prepared so that the major meet portion was actually cut off of the rack/ ribs but put back together on top, basically making it much easier to eat and not loosing the tall presentation. The only thing that would have made this dish better would have been if the lamb were less done and more pink/ red. I should have mentioned this was my preference, but since they didn't ask and I was on my second glass of champagne...

My friend had the herb and pancetta monkfish with saffron butter and lentils. I generally only like shell fish and loved this dish (though I have since heard that monkfish is the "poor-man's lobster"). I would certainally agree with this statment, especially with its saffron butter. The fish had great texture, not too flakey, and the lentils were so full of soft buttery flavor. My friend thought the fish could have used more salt. We agreed that there wasn't enough pancetta and that if they salted the fish in addition to the pancetta, they run the risk of going overboard.

Cheese plate came next with what they call "a cow, a sheep and a goat". I don't remember anything specific but I do remember eating the plate clean.

Desserts were amazing!! Small portions so we tried three dishes. Vanilla and nutmeg panna cotta with two kinds of orange salads (one with hazelnuts) and a dollop of "roasted banana ice milk". I didn't care for the ice milk, and though the orange salad was delicious, all I wanted was the panna cotta. It was perfect! Also had the a chocolate mousse roulade with blueberries and a thyme vanilla ice cream. The menu says thyme bluberry sauce with vanilla ice cream but it was not this. The thyme ice cream was the most amazing thing I have had in a long time (just barely out did the cauliflower and scallops). It is exactly as it sounds - sweet and vanilla at first with the destinctive lemon-like thyme at the back of your mouth. I suspected this to be a Ciao Bella treat but they said they make it in-house. Also had the Smokey pear tart - one pear tart, one whole roasted jasmine pear, and cinnamon nougate glace. The nougate was like a more firm version of the panna cotta but delicious none-the-less. The tart has slight burn marks as if it were in a brick oven. The savory char with with cinnamon nougate was delicious, which I followed by the sweet soft whole roasted pear. There was also a lychee soup with spiced and toasted coconut but my friend and I couldn't actually order 4 desserts!

After all that food review, there isn't much to say about the wine. Their wine list was very extensive with an emphasis on French and Italian wines. I just had a few glasses of whatever the sommlier gave me.

I do have to make mention of the ambiance, decor and staff which was all perfect (and makes up for the steep side on pricing). The decor is Miami/ New York. Hip and trendy with lounge music to match. The circular dining room was white with a circular dot lit ceiling, square textured walls, and semi open kitchen. There is an orange glow to the room, with very comfortable orange tweed seating. But despite the trendy east coast feel, the staff was undeniably San Franciscan. So warm, kind, helpful, and talkative. The managers, I found out, have a long history in other well known SF restaurants such as Fleur d'Lys, Azie, and Lulu. Service had no bumps at all.

But of course I am curious what others think. Give it a go if you have the chance and report back. As of now it shouldn't be too hard to get a table, but I would imagine that it won't be this way for long.

Frisson
244 Jackson Between Battery and Front

Link: http://www.frissonsf.com

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