I really enjoyed Chaz
I just had dinner at Chaz (Fillmore at Chestnut). It was just written up in Chron, and Patricia Unterman had raved about it a while ago in the Ex. I thought Chaz was amazing at the price (most expensive entree was about $20).
The food was very finessed. What I really like about Chaz:
Great service - professional, hospitable, knowledgable and dignified. Everything I had was recommended by the maitre d' and I loved all of them.
The appetizer - crabmeat canonelli (sp?) with a cream sauce. Lots of tasty crabmeat in a delicate blanket of pasta.
The riesling (that was comped) that matched the crabmeat perfectly.
But what really impressed me was the entree - venison with chocolate sauce. It sounds gross, but Chaz did an amazing number on this dish. The chocolate sauce wasn't overwhelming at all, and there weren't any traces of bitterness. In fact it was sweetened by dried fruits (prunes?) as well as the accompanying mashed beets and what I suspected was mashed yams. The mashed vegetables were incredible - very fine and creamy. Everything in the dish made the venison spectacular. (This went fairly well with a Kunde '97 Cab.)
Tab came up to $48 (not including tip) for appetizer, entree, dessert and 1 glass of wine.
I am really happy to read your positive post! Can't wait to try it myself. I was stunned when I read the prices in Chron's review - now I have confirmation that it's really true!
Two of the finest meals I've had in SF were at Charles Solomon's The Heights. So original yet still refined and not bombastic. The chef was very concerned about the dishes matching up with our wines too.
We were heart-broken when The Heights closed and we couldn't find out where CS had landed. I was overjoyed to learn that he'd returned to Baghdad by the Bay.
re: Melanie Wong
I went back to Chaz for dinner again last night after a great first visit. I was not disappointed - the second time was just as enjoyable.
The best dish of the evening was a crab soup that was intensely and deliciously crab with airy puffs of garlic beignets.
Entree was a stuffed rabbit loin - excellent rabbit (one of the most moist and tender versions I've encountered); the meat was very mild compared to the other rabbits I've had. There were a couple of sinewy bits beneath the skin but that was only a mild distraction to me. The stuffing had a light livery flavor and indeed there were morsels of liver in it. This came with a light creamy red wine sauce (they told me it was a syrah) and was also accompanied by spinach and candied carrots.
Dessert was a terrine-like slab with a layer of light custard and a layer of chiboust (sp?) which the maitre d' described as a moroccan fruit (the best description I can come up with is that it's like a cross between a watermelon and an orange *grin*) - very refreshing and tasty. The custard was a great match for the tangy fruit. On the side was a little salad of blood orange with thin strips of orange peel and chopped mint leaves which was also very good.
Tab was $43 something with appetizer, entree, dessert and a glass of wine, not including tip.
On this trip I noticed that they have a 3-course "pre-theater" menu for $29 - salad or that fabulous crab soup, an entree of either duck or something else (don't remember) and a choice of either the chocolate and praline pave or a selection of ice creams & sorbets for dessert. I estimate it represents a savings of about $5-8. You have to be seated by 6:30pm for this deal.
re: Melanie Wong
One of the best things was actually not having to get a reservation. I walked in at about 8:30pm on Tuesdays on both occasions and there were only 3-4 tables occupied.
On this visit, I sat at a table with a view of the kitchen counter and Solomon was there working behind the counter on the plates before they were turned over to the servers. Very satisfying to see that the chef is actually involved.
I think I'll return sometime in Jan, hopefully when he has new menu offerings. If you're going I'd recommend the crab and game dishes.