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May 11, 2009 05:12 PM

Quince Prix Fixe Only

I didn't see this anywhere here. Quince is now prix fixe only, with the over $100 many course menu and the $68 four course option. With the four course menu, you get choices in four categories - starter, pasta, main course and desert.

I find this very disappointing, mostly because I find the pasta dishes incredible and the main courses not particularly exciting. I went in January and again last week, and both times found the main courses to be significantly less interesting and well-prepared than the pastas (or the incredible rolls.) The starters on this visit were better than the January visit and the pastas were spectacular. The result of this menu change is that dinner is probably about $20 higher (not including tax and tip) than what I would otherwise pay, maybe more since I don't usually order desert.

I'm wondering if this has something to do with business. By all appearances, on a pleasant Thursday night, they were doing about 1.5 seatings, and it was half-empy at 8:30. It could be the recession, but it could be that there is no longer a way to eat there at a price under $100/person ($68+wine+tax+tip), and for someone who wants a three course meal with pasta as their main course, well there's nothing. I suppose the pasta could be ordered for two courses, but the portion of the pasta in the prix fixe menu is actually quite small.

I assume that the new bigger space will put more upward pressure on the price.

Quince Restaurant
470 Pacific Av, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. They're opening a lower-cost second place called Cotogna, next door to the new location.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. When I go with friends, we usually order some of the starters and all the pastas and share everything. Bummer, can't do that anymore.

      I agree with you about how the pastas are way better than the main dishes. Funny thing, though, is I ran into a guy who insisted it was the other way around. I guess it is all in the mouth of the beholder.

      1. I went this past weekend, and enjoyed my meal - I went with app/2 pastas/dessert, while my friends ordered one from each category. Everyone agreed that the mains were the weakest part of the meal (they both ordered a lamb with lavender sauce). Pastas were uniformly excellent - their agnolotti dal plin is unbelievable, their gnocchi are the lightest I've ever had, and even a rustic fusilli with fish (forget what kind) in a spicy tomato sauce was very good (although the fusilli were dried - I should have gone with another hand-made pasta, I think). I loved my starter, too - a cauliflower soup with lobster-stuffed morels.

        The pasta dishes are small, but they're pretty rich, so I actually was full at the end of dinner. My friends commented that in the future, they'll be more likely to just order an app and three pastas - I think I might do the same. It is definitely pricey, though - at $17/course, it's hard not to compare it to Oliveto, where $17 buys a much larger serving of not significantly inferior pasta (although I have to say that Oliveto is much less consistent. When they're on, though, they can be on par with Quince. Well, maybe not with the gnocchi and the agnolotti - those are significantly better at Quince.)

        4 Replies
        1. re: daveena

          >>they both ordered a lamb with lavender sauce

          My three companions had this and weren't that excited about it. I had the duck and thought it was better than the lamb but still not at the quality of duck I've had elsewhere. I like to eat duck when I'm out since I rarely cook it at home (FWIW, the best duck I ever ate was a confit at Bayona in New Orleans the year it opened, 1990.) I didn't find Quince's squab that good on my previous visit in January.

          The $17/course price is one way to look at it, but deserts are rarely over $10. If you back out desert at $10, you are around $20/course, which is OK for a main but not for the others. There are plenty of other places I would prefer to go given the price, and because the pasta is so good, I'm not really happy about that.

          1. re: daveena

            While I'm sure the restaurant is more than happy to give you 2 pastas instead of a pasta and a main course, I wonder if one might ask for three pastas instead of dessert and a main course? Or, conversely, no pasta and two main courses?

            Whilst the 4-course prix fixe menu is posted online, I see not a reference or link to the $100 multi-coursed tasting menu mentioned by reaspear above. Has anyone had it? I've heard it's not worth the trouble or money.

            1. re: ulterior epicure

              I had it once, a year ago. I wasn't paying, so it was fine. I think the price is $119, but I had the same reaction - the pasta courses were stupendous, everything else was good enough. If I was going to pay out of my own pocket, I'd go for a different restaurant at this price.

              1. re: realspear

                Thanks, realspear. I went. And I would have to agree with the consensus: the pastas here are the high point.

          2. I noticed their menu is updated pretty frequently now on their website.

            1. Quince started this in late March, early April. I called on Mar. 11 for reso's on April 11 and they told me it would be prix fixe only. We waited for their website to be updated for weeks to no avail, so we cancelled our reservation. I saw they finally updated it a few weeks ago. We really enjoyed our meal there last September but didn't want the constraints of a prix fixe.

              2 Replies
              1. re: meggie t

                Update from the SF Chronicle: Michael and Lindsay Tusk of Quince have set their sights on September as the month for the move to their new location, the former Myth (470 Pacific Ave.), followed several weeks later by the opening of the more casual Cotogna (490 Pacific Ave.). The Tusks envision a fairly quick turnaround, closing their current spot (1701 Octavia St.) shortly before the move.

                Lindsay Tusk says the couple have not decided what to do with the Octavia Street space (they're the long-term lease-holders). Nor have they selected a chef for Cotogna. But they have chosen a new wine director for Quince and Cotogna. He's David Lynch, Italian wine authority and co-author of "Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy." Lynch was wine director at Babbo and John Dory, both in New York.

                1. re: baron45

                  lynch is a good man. i've listened to his lectures at italian wine merchants here in manhattan and keep his book in a handy spot in my kitchen.

                  it's almost as if the tusks traded for derek jeter. excellent acquisition.