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Oct 4, 2008 09:03 AM

Canteen Prix Fixe a Revelation

Had dinner at Canteen for the first time. Happened to be on a Tuesday, the night of the prix fixe dinner.

O. M. G.

Simply put the menu was an amuse bouche, an appetizer of smoked salmon, beef filet, a figs with blue cheese. But it didn't taste simple at all. Apparently the chef chooses the dinner menu that afternoon when he shops.

I honestly don't remember what the amuse bouche was. My memories have been usurped by the other food. The smoked salmon came out with chives, avocado, cucumber...and I had always thought that avocado and cucumber should not cooexist. But the salmon itself. Goodness me. it had a citrus taste that was just extraordinary.

And then the beef filet, came out in pieces, on a squash puree, and spinach. All in some kind of reduction. It tasted amazing.

I am not good at food writing. I forget too much. I become non-verbal. In fact, all I could say during the meal was, "Wow". "Yum". "Delicious". But this dinner reminded me of eating in France when I was 21, and visited Alain Chapel's restaurant in Lyons, and was unable to leave for an hour or so, being wholly stunned by the food.

And the whole thing was $39 without the wine. Plus you get to watch Dennis Leary, cooking ALL BY HIMSELF, in the corner. Peering at the pans, seasoning dishes, placing the vegetables just so. Sit at the counter on the end.

Anyway, thanks Mr. Leary. Much appreciated.

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  1. Nice, report, thank you. I've only been to Canteen for brunch over two years ago, but your report makes me want to try dinner soon. Were the figs cooked in any way or just served fresh? I don't know how Leary can oversee Canteen and The Sentinel at the same time, but both seem to get positive reviews...

    817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    3 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      I wish we were going to be there on a Tuesday night during our upcoming November visit but at least we have already booked for the regular menu on a Friday. We had such a great meal at Canteen in April that I can't wait to eat there again (and yes, we went for breakfast two days later and it was outstanding also).

      The San Francisco conundrum: so many restos I still want to try and so many revisits to ones we have loved on past trips to fit in...

      1. re: Carb Lover

        The figs were cooked, not to a pulp, but lightly in a tangy syrup. I don't even like figs and these were delicious. The blue cheese was salty. One of us liked this very much, the other two were a little overwhelmed by the taste contrasts.

        I didn't even know Leary had another restaurant.....

        1. re: LPCagain

          The Sentinel is more of a take-out breakfast/lunch place, but has generally had positive reports on this board. The morning pastries sound wonderful. Click on the place link below for more info...

          The Sentinel
          55 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105