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Lovely dinner at Foreign Cinema

operagirl | Nov 16, 201105:52 PM

Just wanted to write in a quick report -- the bf and I went to Foreign Cinema last night, and it was really wonderful. Both of us are gluten-free, so it's not always easy to navigate restaurant menus, but our waiter was knowledgeable about all of the menu items and made it easy for us to find gf options.

We started with cocktails, one "city of god" (menu description: Fresh lime, Oronoco Brazilian rum, papaya purée, served tall, with a salted rim) and one "smokey and the bandit" (menu description: Ice cold Belvedere vodka strained into the arrestingly good Ardbeg of Islay single malt scotch. Served up with lemon rind and "drunken raisins"). The city of god was a bit sweet for both our taste, but the salted rim did help balance things out. And the smokey and the bandit was quite strong (it's basically a vodka martini with scotch instead of vermouth), but well-balanced.

Along with cocktails, we tried six of their oysters on the half-shell, ordering all of the Canadian varieties (what can I say, I'm dating a Canuck. Tomales Bay will have to wait . . .). The Kusshi was my favorite -- the smallest of the varieties we tried, it was plump, and briny but sweet.

After oysters, we shared three dishes, one from each of their menu categories of "Urban Picnic," "Premieres," and "Features." These were the "Smoked salmon, salmon caviar, ruby grapefruit, frisee, créme fraiche," the "Natural beef carpaccio, Dijon-horseradish sauce, gaufrettes, fried rosemary, Parmesan," and a seared fish dish -- I can't remember what type of white fish it was and their online menu doesn't appear to be up to date. In any case, the fish was served with green beans, cranberry beans, and a creamy sauce.

Both the smoked salmon and carpaccio were spot-on delicious. The "gaufrettes" on the carpaccio dish were actually paper-thin slices of parsnip and yuca, providing a great textural contrast to the beef.

The fish dish suffered from being well-done (we had requested medium), but all of the components were tasty. I'm sure if we'd made a fuss, they would have fixed the dish, but we were having such a nice time that I didn't want to mention it and disrupt the pacing of our evening.

Our waiter brought a dessert menu over, and remembering our gluten-free state of affairs, noted that the pumpkin cheesecake could be served without a crust. My boyfriend's eyes lit up instantly at that one! The cheesecake was creamy and smooth, with a pumpkin layer on top. It came served in a half-pint mason jar, a perfect portion for two.

The service all night was very, very attentive, verging on comical -- the busboys must have been watching us with hawk eyes, as they repeatedly came to clear our dishes just a few seconds after we finished each dish. They also bussed the dishes extremely quickly, hurrying back and forth at quite a clip! I think this actually detracted from the lovely mood and atmosphere a bit -- the outdoor dining area is very pretty and romantic, with plenty of overhead heating for an autumn night in SF.

And so, we left feeling satisfied but not stuffed, having enjoyed a great meal for our six-month meetaversary.

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

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