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any thoughts on Coi?

We're going to be in SF for the weekend and wanted to try something new. I had several suggestions about Coi. anyone tried it? What did you think? any other suggestions?

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  1. Take a look at these reports...

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/404445
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364319
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406107
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45436

    If you like food that is innovative, using the best ingredients, slightly intellectual, and served in a relaxing environment, then you should definitely go. For what I look for in food, this is the best place in San Francisco right now.

    1. I agree with Paul...I was really impressed.

      1. Just a note of thanks. We ate there Saturday night and it was excellent. I was really knocked out by the caviar appetizer and by the lobster mushrooms and artichokes.the "wine" pairing with the chocolate cake dessert was just suberb; a cocktail of Charbay sweet vermouth with a few drops of Fee bros. whiskey barrel aged bitters. It tasted like a ginger spice cake in a glass. Patterson is a great new talent. thanks again.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chazzerking

          For the wine pairing, you should thank Paul Einbund, another talented fellow.

          1. re: chazzerking

            Patterson's not a new talent. He started out at Babette's in Sonoma in the mid-90s (Food & Wine named him Best New Chef in 1997), then had Elizabeth Daniel, then was the opening chef at Frisson.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I ate at Babette's twice and was not very impressed, but it sounds like he's really developed into an extraordinary talent in the intervening years.

          2. Anyone know if Coi has a dress code? Can I get in with a coat and jeans? Heading there next week. Is the tasting menu the only way to go or do some think the ala carte four-course might be a better value?

            2 Replies
            1. re: singleguychef

              just went last week and no problem with jeans, at least not for the ladies. the guy in our party wore khakis and a sweater and didn't look out of place. the tasting menu seems to be the only option for the dining room; ala carte not offered.

            2. I had the tasting menu at Coi last week as a special splurge dinner. I'm pretty conflicted about the experience. On the one hand, I found some of the dishes to be really complex and tasty. On the other hand, I felt the price of $120 was a bit overpriced for the tiny portions delivered. It was an 11 course tasting menu, but when courses are like a spoon of something or even a piece of cheese, it really leaves me feeling cheated.

              I ended up eating at the lounge, which serves the tasting menu and a lounge menu. But I went for the tasting menu, which recently got bumped up to $120 from $115. (Even Bauer in the Chronicle's Top 100 listing still shows Coi's tasting menu at $115.)

              The highlights of the evening was a Wild Nettle Soup that was beautifully presented and had a complexity in taste, from savory to tart to a hint of curry. I also liked the shaved artichoke with fava beans and risotto. The Kampachi sashimi was nice and refreshing, so was the grapefruit starter (although I wasn't that impressed by the grapefruit scent that you dab before eating).

              The low lights were the yuba pappardelle, that was heavy on the five-spice, and the fish (a Madara, Japanese cod) had a fishy smell. The desserts were nice but not spectacular. They included a citrus sorbet, then a carrot cake ganache and then a banana confit.

              I started with an aperitif that was refreshing and just had one glass of red wine (a Pinot Noir from Sleepy Hollow). The total bill with tasting menu and two drinks and tip was $188. In the end, I didn't feel like I ate $188 worth of food. And again, while I like trying different things to get a sense of a chef's technique, I do feel the portions need to match up to the price you're paying.

              I have no problems paying a high price for something that I feel is worth it. For example, my one glass of pinot noir was $17 and that's the most I paid for a single glass, but it was filled like a normal glass and tasted superb. It went well with the later part of my dinner. So I didn't think anything of paying $17 for just one glass.

              Here's a more detailed look at the dishes and some photos: http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200... (Keep in mind that I took the photos pretty close so some of the servings look bigger than they actually are.

              )

              Anyway, does anyone else feel this way when doing a tasting menu? For some reason, in my mind tasting menus portion sizes should be like what I see on Iron Chef. But what I got at Coi was like that Visa commercial where the woman says she tried so hard to get reservations at the hot new restaurant and when she got there they got itsy bitsy food. That's how I felt after I left Coi.

              On a side note, the service was fine but a bit robotic. They weren't very friendly.

              10 Replies
              1. re: singleguychef

                Funny write-up on your blog that had me chuckling. Was that butter really that bright day-glo color or is it just my computer?

                Makes me wonder if the staff stands in the back and giggles at people dabbing stuff on their wrists. I would have been totatally undone not knowing what flowers I should eat or sniff or which dribbles I should eat or dab somewhere.

                Very entertaining.

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

                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks rworange! Actually, the butter wasn't that day-glo yellow. It was partly the yellow lighting of the lounge--another reason why I wished I had been seated in the main dining room.

                  I have to say, the mixing of flowers in the presentation is a bit confusing. Like the amuse bouche that came out with the flower and a spoon of the milk and honey pearl. I would have thought I was supposed to eat the wildflower if the waiter didn't tell me that I was supposed to just sniff it. For the rest of the dinner, whenever there was a flower (and there were quite a few), I just went with my instinct of whether to eat it or push it to the side.

                  1. re: singleguychef

                    I have a reservation there for Friday night and you have me worried! I'm going to have pencil in a late night snack after Coi. =)

                    Great entry though, very informative and I enjoyed the photos too!

                    1. re: Syphrite

                      I can't wait to see what you think. Again, the menu changes often so who knows, maybe you might luck out on portion sizes if the chef feels generous that night! (I was really tempted to go get a burger as I left Coi.)

                      1. re: singleguychef

                        They have a thumbs up so far because they called today to confirm my res and asked if I have any food allergies, which I do. I was planning on telling them anyway, but I'm glad they took the initiative.

                        I'll report back on my dinner. Are they ok with cameras in there? I figured if not then I would use my cell phone for photos. =)

                        1. re: Syphrite

                          I use a small Canon digital camera and try to be discreet when shooting the photos, but I'm pretty sure the servers caught me a few times but they didn't say anything. I bet since you're sitting in the main room you'll have better lighting, so hopefully you'll posts your photos! ;-)

                          1. re: singleguychef

                            Sweet! I'll give it a try and I'll definitely post pictures. =)

                    2. re: singleguychef

                      I'm kind of shame-proof in these types of joints. Truly you can't take me anywhere ... ask the Chowhound group who went with me to the French Laundry years ago ... there are times I have no couth. I would have asked for each flower after that first experience ... so ... do I eat this, admire it or smell it? My exact phrasing would have been ... "so ... what's with this flower?"

                      1. re: rworange

                        LOL, that's funny. I wish you were with me that night because your questions may have lighten up the servers.

                        1. re: rworange

                          boy, rworange, you sure have a way with words! I love it! I hope that someday I have the opportunity to dine with you, I think it'd be great.

                  2. loved it, can't wait to go back!

                    1. I went here on April 11th and while I had a good experience it wasn't superb. I'm in on the same boat with SingleGuyChef, I thought that the portions were insanely small. When Coi says taste they really mean taste! I mean a few of the dishes like the salad had only a few leaves in it and that's it. Luckily I had tacos before I went there, but if I hadn't eaten before hand I would have been starving.

                      The food itself was good, but nothing really blew my mind away except for the coconut sorbet they gave me for dessert.

                      I did like that they accommodated my gluten/lactose allergy and created a few things off of the menu for me.

                      Overall it was ok. Would I go back? Probably not. I posted about it in my blog with photos if anyone wants to take a look: www.misterbelly.com.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Syphrite

                        Syphrite, sounds like your tasting menu was the same served on my night (except, of course, the special dietary dishes they did for you). I agree that a more appropriate pricing for Coi's tasting menu should be around $80, possibly $95. But what they serve is nothing close to $120 (again, that's without tax or the automatic 18 percent tip they added on, and I actually gave more tip because despite the portions, the service was a lot of work with all the utensil changes so I felt bad for them.)

                        I'm surprised the main dining room actually had more poor lighting than when I was out in the lounge. I wonder if it's because you ate later? Anyway, I'm still ambivalent about Coi. I like the technique and some of the flavors, but am not blown away for the money.

                      2. How formal or informal is Coi? I will be eating in the main restaurant, with the mandatory tasting menu. Not sure what to wear (i'm a guy). Is this a slacks and a dress shirt kind of place or a sport coat kind of place? It looks sleek on the website.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Senor Popusa

                          The local concept of dressy has a no-man's-land between a nice shirt and a sharp suit.

                          1. re: Senor Popusa

                            I'd wear a sport coat as the staff all wear jackets. However, if you don't wear a sport coat, you'll likely not be the only one. It's really up to you.

                            1. re: Senor Popusa

                              While I was there, I wore a sports jacket and fancy jeans. But I noticed others who walked in with business attire, some suits, and some just polo shirts and jeans. So really, wear what you'll be comfortable in.