First Off: Winterland (Japantown: Sutter @ Steiner)
My ears perked up when my girlfriend mentioned a chef from Daniel (New York) had opened up a place in the Bay.
I said: Where!?
She said: Sutter @ Steiner
I said: Julia's!?
She said: No, Winterland!
Huh, no longer Julia's... anyway, food.
My girlfriend and I had started with the Foie Gras with the eel/granny smith apple torte in a duck broth. Good, not great and ordered a Gold Coast Vineyard Pinot Noir to go with the meal (I chose the wine and the me in me chose with my meal in mind). The eel and apple combo was a little too sweet. duck and eel went well though (the whole notion that you can serve a creature with what it eats kind of works here, not so much with pigeon and hot dogs/cigarettes combination). Our friend had corn soup with crab and corn mold. She thought it was lovely, I thought it was slightly bland.
We split a half dozen malpeques and miyagis before the main course (can't go wrong here).
For our entree I had the duck breast covered in some sort of foamy sauce with a sort of gluey fried chickpea thing and a leg confit. THIS WAS DELICIOUS! Best duck I've had in the states, bar none. I eat duck almost any chance I get and the breast was not only perfectly rare and moist by the confit wasn't too, how shall I put it, confit-y. The leg didn't taste of fat but rather of duck. The chickpea thing, not so nice. My girlfriend finished with the tuna tartar/caprese which I thought was good for what it was (tuna, tomatoes, mozarrela[?]). Our friend had the octopus carpaccio which we all liked. To finish I had a chocolate cake type thing... it looked like a moeleaux but had way too many garnishes, hence too many flavors and textures. It was okay.
Nice atmosphere for a new place and all in all I was fairly impressed. I hate suffocated kumquats and pheasant-ass jello, but for a New-wave American Restaurant the food was extremely palatable.
On to Chapeau! (Inner Richmond: Clement @ 15th Ave)
I'd been meaning to come here for years and finally had the chance to yesterday evening. Despite the place being utterly packed the chef, whose embroidered smock said Phillip Giradelle, came to greet us and introduce himself before we were seated. At our table I was initially put off by the lack of space between diners. Once we had the menu things immediately took a turn for the better. We ordered a bottle of Vacqueyras and I opted for the tasting menu, choosing smoked trout with fingerling potato salad and anchovies to start, then a scallop on a dollop of squash risotto in lobster-cream sauce, followed by a calvados and green apple sorbet (we got too choose our palate-cleanser!), and lastly a cassoulet. My girlfriend had the foie gras (with a glass of sauternes) for starters followed by the wild salmon over a fingerling mash with a little pitcher of chicken jus.
Everything was really, really, good. My starter of smoked trout was amazing, as was the foie gras. The scallop on risotto was amazing, especially the lobster cream sauce to bind the elements together. Our entrees were also very good. My cassoulet was excellent with your prerequisite crust and liberal distribution of well-prepared of meat (lamb shank, confit, and toulouse sausage). The confit was a little on the tough side, but everything else was fantastic. The salmon was also good, the chicken jus complimented the salmon and mash very well.
To finish I had the panna cotta and my girlfriend had the moeleaux. My panna cotta was fine. The blueberry sauce that came with it was a little cloying. The moeleaux, however, was phenomenal. They added just barely enough sugar to it so that you tasted more chocolate than anything else; the accompanying ice cream was good to. All in all, we had a delightful Sunday evening here. I'd recommend the place in a heart beat.
I've said my piece.