HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice
TELL US

We LOVED Coi!

o
OnceUponABite May 23, 2007 12:09 PM

We were impressed with Coi. It’s not often we have a very memorable meal where we felt our taste buds were intrigued by the flavor combination, but at Coi we were! It could’ve easily gone too far and become too much, but in our opinion it was just right amount of culinary inventiveness mixed in with clean intense flavor of each ingredient. Sure, the herby perfume you are suppose to rub on your wrist while you ingest the grapefruit dish is a little kooky, but I can appreciate how the chef thought of all of the senses during the dining experience. Although I have to admit I didn’t like their signature grapefruit dish, as I prefer my fruit not to be salty but just to taste like fruit.

All of the vegetarian preparations were excellent. One perfectly cooked fat asparagus took my breath away. The braised artichoke and carrots, while simple, was delicious. The slow cooked egg was breakfast perfection. Once you poked the yolk open and mingle the golden liquid with the potatoes and the morels, you almost wish they served a slice of toast!

By far my favorite dish was the king salmon. Succulent, perfectly cooked, sitting glistening on top of the saffron broth, that piece of fish was probably one of the best cooked salmon I’ve ever had.

I have to comment on the yuba pappardelle. Being Chinese, and having eaten yuba, or tofu skin often, I was not impressed with Coi’s interpretation. Merely sautéed with some greens and chili, the taste was bland and fell short of my expectations. While I appreciate the exotic nature yuba can present to customers not familiar with the ingredients, calling it parppardelle was just silly, especially since yuba is found in every dimsum restaurant in the bay area.

All three of the dessert courses were perfect. We started with a light vanilla cake that is still hot out of the oven, the delicate crumb paired nicely with the strawberries. The cucumber ice milk, weird sounding nonetheless, was a surprise hit with the chocolate parfait. The refreshing cucumber taste balanced the rich creamy taste of the chocolate.

All in all Coi was a great experience for us. Having eaten in many high end places and forgetting what we ate as soon as the meal is over, we were happy Coi was not like one of those places. Satisfied, impressed, and happily we left Coi.

We will definitely go back again.

Complimentary amuse – a shot of cold soup (veggie? Can’t remember)
Pink grapefruit with ginger, tarragon, black pepper
Scallop and caviar ‘raviolo’ sea urchin foam
Zuckerman’s aspargus with Meyer lemon sabyon
Caramelized endive tart
Braised artichokes and carrots with baby leeks, green cardamom and cilantro
Yuba ‘pappardelle’ with baby fava beans and harissa chili
Poached local wild king salmon with mussel-saffron broth
Slow cooked farm egg with morels and potato
Aged guffanti pecorino with apple slices and rooibos
Warm vanilla cake with strawberries and olive oil gumdrop
Bittersweet chocolate parfait with cucumber ice milk
Complimentary dessert – a shot of ice coffee smoothie

$115 plus 18% service charge included.

  1. a
    AndreaFeldman Oct 10, 2007 11:34 AM

    I recently had the pleasure of eating at Coi and had one of the most marvelously sensual meals I can recall. There's an imagination and delicacy at work that is really quite special. Not everything was equally inspired (I for one found the yuba papardelle —this time in a curried broth with Thai basil— too leathery in texture, the broth too astringent) but for the most part each dish was an exquisite surprise. (I will dream about the Early Girl tomato consomme for ever more.) One minor disappointment was the wine. We didn't go for the wine pairing (bad move) and the sommelier's suggestion (the Prinz Riesling) was overpoweringly sweet. I should have gone for the Gruner Vetliner.

    When they brought the grapefruit with the olive sorbet and the daub of perfume, I admit I rolled my eyes at the off-the-charts pretension of it all. But I have to admit to being completely won over (so much so that I nearly bought a bottle of the scent to take home with me!). The perfume was an ineffable but lovely accent to the dish, and a wonderful way to introduce the restaurant's singular viewpoint and philosophy.

    1. Paul H Jul 6, 2007 02:42 AM

      Place/contact link:

      -----
      Coi
      373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

      1. b
        Bryan Gros May 29, 2007 09:59 AM

        Thanks for the notes.

        What is the story with this restaurant? The menu is entirely vegetarian, except a scallop and a salmon course? Is that typical, or did you order a vegetarian menu?

        Is there a theme or philosophy behind the place? Sounds good, but I'm not sure I want to pay that much for vegetarian, personally.

        thanks.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Bryan Gros
          The Dive May 29, 2007 10:08 AM

          Daniel Patterson will tailor the menu to dietary preferences, so my guess is that this is not the normal menu. When I've gone, there's always been pork and lamb dishes on the menu, as well as that fabulous beef marrow dish.

          1. re: The Dive
            Paul H May 29, 2007 10:23 AM

            The menu above is pretty representative for the tasting menu. Patterson's food tends to be about fresh ingredients with clean flavors, but there are usually choices where you can get more or less meat/vegies (see below). I did a special wine dinner there a few months ago where the wines were selected to go well with the tasting menu. Because there aren't that many red meat dishes (usually none), we had five white wines and two red wines.

            As another example, here is the menu from May 1st:

            COLD TURNUP CELERY SOUP, walnuts and celery

            PINK GRAPEFRUIT ginger, tarragon, black pepper

            ROASTED BEET TARTARE fresh andante dairy goat cheese, citrus sorbet
            or
            CALIFORNIA OSETRA CAVIAR sautéed bone marrow, beet gelée

            ZUCKERMAN'S ASPARAGUS meyer lemon sabayon, mcevoy olive oil
            or
            KAMPACHI SASHIMI white soy, yuzu.shichimi togarashi

            WARM CHANTENAIS CARROT 'RAVIOLO' vadouvan, fennel, arugula

            BRAISED HEIRLOOM ORGANICS ARTICHOKES baby leeks, blood orange, litsea cubeba

            YUBA 'PAPPARDELLE' fava beans and leaves, nasturtiums

            TRUFFLED RICOTTA PUDDING english peas, spring onions
            or
            JAPANESE SUZUKI yuzukosho, flowering tatsoi, scarlet turnips, sage

            SLOW COOKED FARM EGG morels, potato, ramp emulsion
            or
            POACHED AND SEARED LIBERTY DUCK BREAST artisan foie gras, endive, hibiscus

            GUFFANTI PECORINO LUCANO pink pearl apple, rooibos

            MEYER LEMON SODA

            WARM VANILLA CAKE strawberries, olive oil gumdrop

            BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE PARFAIT cucumber ice milk, lime

            ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN DOLLARS wines paired eighty five dollars
            ANY FOUR COURSES, EIGHTY FIVE DOLLARS wines paired fifty five dollars

            Personally, I love the emphasis on vegetables and fish. If you want lamb, duck, and beef done three ways, go to Michael Mina.

          2. re: Bryan Gros
            Robert Lauriston May 29, 2007 10:09 AM

            The current 5/18 sample menu includes Marin Sun Farms pig's head.

            http://www.coirestaurant.com/menu-din...

            1. re: Bryan Gros
              o
              OnceUponABite May 29, 2007 11:00 AM

              I don't really know all the background on Coi. I just picked this place because it was talked about a lot on this board. Simliar to the menu posted by Paul H below, the selection of choices when we dined there were you decide between one vegetarian option and another. I think there was a pig head course (where it came as thing slices of meat, not a whole head :) ) and a steak something, which my husband picked. But in general I'm a seafood person and I prefer veggies over red meat.

              Overall there were definitely more vegetarian options at Coi then other restaurant of that caliber, but if you count seafood as meat, then it's not strictly all vegetarian. I use to think like you as well, that just vegetable shouldn't cost the same as meat. But for Coi I felt I was totally satisfied and the price was totallly worth it.

              1. re: OnceUponABite
                b
                Bryan Gros May 29, 2007 11:06 AM

                Thanks for all the replies.
                I like the menu that PaulH posted, but we will likely satisfy our curiosity anyway for an anniversary dinner next month. Gives me time to decide whether to go with the wine pairing, or bring something from the cellar...

                1. re: Bryan Gros
                  b
                  Bryan Gros Jul 1, 2007 11:01 PM

                  So we did go for our anniversary yesterday. Enjoyed the menu a lot, but not necessarily all of the courses. Hard to compare to other places (Fleur de lys, masa's) as the style of food is so different.

                  Our menu was:
                  Amuse was a candied cumquat slice and a pistachio covered marshmallow. Interesting flavors, unsure how they melded together.

                  PINK GRAPEFRUIT salad, ginger, tarragon, black pepper.
                  the "signature dish". Served with a drop of grapefruit, tarragon and pepper oils. Didn't really work for us, didn't get the black pepper in the foam, not a fan of the tartness of grapefruit, odd to call it a "salad".

                  CHILLED YELLOW SQUASH SOUP, Vadouvan, mint, nasturtium
                  or
                  CALIFORNIA OSETRA CAVIAR slow cooked farm egg yold, chives, creme fraiche

                  FULL BELLY HEIRLOOM POTATOES, Mcevory olive oi, sel gris, peper cress
                  or
                  KAMPACHI SASHIMI white soy, yuzu, shichimi togarashi
                  While we likely have these potatoes in our fridge, the preparation was great and worked well with the olive oil. The sashimi was also enjoyable, without a lot of flavors to cover that of the fish.

                  EARLY SUMMER VEGETABLE SALAD, sweet onion-sorrel puree, anise hyssop. This was a great salad, with each vegetable perfectly cooked (carrot, beet, etc), and the onion-sorrel dressing subtle, yet nicely balance.

                  CORN-BRIOCHE CUSTARD huitacoche, cilantro. Great dish, sweet, corny, custardy with a funky, grey foam that must have been the huitacoche

                  YUBA 'PAPPARDELLE' English peas, fava leaves and basil. This was great also, a new thing for me. Loved the peas in the sauce, worked well with the "yuba pappardelle", but I thought the basil didn't work with it--just bitter and not complementary.

                  POACHED LOCAL WILD KING SALMON, lemon and aremenian cucumbers, fennel, horseradish. Great texture on the salmon, nice balance of flavors. We both chose this over STEW OF MORELS AND BLOOMSDALE SPINCACH, oloroso cream toasted almonds.

                  LIBERTY FARM DUCK BREAST, glazed tokyo and scarlet turnips, purslane, plu-tobacco sauce. We both chose this over ROASTED LOCAL PORCINI, potato foam, garden rosemary, ramp emulsion. The breast (half a breast each?) was rare and very tasty, the sauce balancing well.

                  HERVE MONS TOMME DE BERGER thyme poached apricot.

                  CHEVRE 'CHEESECAKE' nicoise caramel, strawberry sorbet. This, the first of the desserts, was fabulous. "Deconstructed" cheesecake, with the custard spread across the plate and a quensnelle of sorbet. both were great individually, and togther, really nice.

                  WARM CHOCOLATE PUDDING, balsamic, malted vanilla ice cream. The balsamic drops on the malted ice cream was fabulous, and the dark cocoa crispy layer under the rich chocolate pudding was really nice. Overall, complex and really well balanced between all the components. Maybe the highlight of the evening.

                  Not listed on the menu, but then we got a SALTED CARAMEL MALTED MILKSHAKE, with a chocolate Madeleine. Fabulous, and the salted caramel was perfect.

                  ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN DOLLARS wines paired eighty five dollars
                  ANY FOUR COURSES, EIGHTY FIVE DOLLARS wines paired fifty five dollars

                  We got one wine pairing and really enjoyed the variety. Nice champagne with the first couple courses, sake with the next two courses, two rieslings in the middle, Saint Joseph with the duck, Lindeman's Frambois (lambic) with the cheesecake was a nice match, madiera with the chocolate pudding was a great match (few things match chocolate well), and a nice beerenauslese to finished things off. Good choices generally from a fairly high priced list. The service is great and they are happy to pour a little extra of any wine selection.

                2. re: OnceUponABite
                  c
                  cookiecutter Jul 2, 2007 12:29 AM

                  Daniel Patterson was the guest blogger on Chez Pim a while back. His entry is about opening Coi. It's a really interesting read.

                  http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/2007...

                  (I was hoping to create a link here, but I'm not sure I succeeded)

                  1. re: cookiecutter
                    c
                    cookiecutter Jul 2, 2007 12:32 AM

                    Well what do you know, the link works.

              2. Robert Lauriston May 23, 2007 01:23 PM

                You mean $115 before the 18% service charge, right?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  o
                  OnceUponABite May 23, 2007 02:26 PM

                  yes.
                  I thought they short changed themselve by imposing the automatic 18%. At this kind of restaurant, we'd tip at least 20%.

                  1. re: OnceUponABite
                    Paul H May 23, 2007 02:29 PM

                    You can add more. I usually do when dining at COI.

                Show Hidden Posts