We loved Alinea in Chicago, and since that experience have been questing other great Molecular Gastronomic experiences. I had heard that Coi (pronounced “kwa”) is the best (only) experience SF has to offer in Molecular Gastromony…(meaning they have exactly one more option than LA…) so of course this was at the top of my list. There were five of us. #5 just got his pilot’s license that day so we were also celebrating his triumph. The wine was inadvertently themed…they were all from the 2000 vintage. First a Vietti Barbaresco, then a Altesino Brunello, then an Arrowood Cab. We brought 2 bottles and purchased the Altesino was from the wine list. I had prearranged the purchase a few days before so they could decant it for 3 hours. It was a great value at $130 and I think the favorite of the table, but it was a really tough call vs the vietti…oh well, on to the food!
We all agreed that we would do the 11 course tasting menu. One really nice aspect of the menu was that for about 4 of the courses you had a choice of two items. THis worked out brilliantly as my husband and I each agreed to try one of each, meaning we had more like a 15 course tasting. ANother guest is not a fan of fish so she was quite satisfied with her many alternatives.
One of the most intriguing dishes was the first one, which is standard every night. For the “pink grapefruit” course you had to first apply some grapefruit oil to your wrists like perfume and the instructions were to smell your wrist while consuming the course. This was very cool and similar to the kind of thing at Alinea.
The rest of the courses were most impressive in the strategic yet subtle use of contrasting flavors and textures to create unique experiences in your mouth. (Ok, it was not nearly as sexual as this sounds, but it was REALLY good) I go to fusion this and eclectic that all the time and in my experience they typically don’t work more than they do. Coi not only made it work, but did it without the effusive use of butter, cream, animal fat, and all the wonderful goodies that always make chefs seem better than they really are. Most of the dishes were light and possessed delicate flavor, but were highly complex. Kinda like the way you might describe a great older burgundy or bordeaux…which probably would have paired better than what we brought…oh well, maybe next time.
This menu is very close to what we had. Sadly, I have been trying to get them to email me our actual menu for over a week, they keep promising but no menu. THe show must go on. Note a few pix on the bottom.
PINK GRAPEFRUIT ginger, tarragon, black pepper
ROASTED BEETS smoked salt, Bellwether sheep’s milk yogurt,cilantrp
white soy, yuzu, shichimi togorashi
CARAMELIZED ENDIVE TART black olive vinaigrette, herbs
WILD NETTLE SOUP ricotta enrobed in lemon gelee, oxalis flowers
WARM ARTICHOKE AND PUNTARELLA SALAD green garlic, spring onions, farro, mcevoy olio nuovo
MONTEREY BAY ABALONE GRILLED ON THE PLANCHA fennel, radish, pan di zucchero, dickson ranch olio nuovo
YUBA ‘PAPARDELLE’ mushroom dashi, winter vegetables
LOCAL WILD MUSHROOM RAVIOLO celery root, perigord truffles, hazelnuts, chervil
MONKFISH ROASTED ON THE BONE
vadouvan, manilla clams, pea shoots, lime
SLOW-COOKED SOUL FOOD FARM EGG chard, wheatberries,
brown butter-parmesan sauce
POACHED AND SEARED GUINEA HEN bloomsdale spinach, turnips, bacon, sage
|COI Restaurant | Ph 415 393 9000 | 373 Broadway Street San Francisco, CA 94133 | © 2007 Coi Restaurant.|