Has anyone tried Thermidor yet?
After a horrifically disappointing meal at nearby Heaven’s Dog, I have BFF Lisa to thank for whisking me away to Thermidor for dessert. I had recalled they had a specialty doughnut on the menu and with iPhone in hand, she had mapped out that it was close enough to a theater where I had tickets for the evening and just enough time to grab dessert before curtain time.
It is pastry chef Kyle Caporicci who has created the dessert which called to me; Coffee, Cigarettes and Doughnuts with carrot cake, white chocolate custard and coffee ice cream. The “cigarette” is a stylized, thin white chocolate tube filled with a creamy mousse and is apparently infused with tobacco leaves reputed to give a nicotine buzz. I can’t comment on whether or not it gave me a nicotine buzz, per se, but the presentation and flavors did excite me. I’m giving some leniency in this because the “doughnut” is not actually fried dough, but carrot cake. But being the Ho that I am, I was terribly impressed with the plating, concept and flavor combinations. The coffee ice cream is some of the best I have tasted (and surprisingly, it is not coffee colored the way one would expect it). The classic cream cheese frosting was lightly studded with sprinkles but the little cakes were set upon some ground
Working the bar was a chap named Morgan and we felt an instant affinity, partly for his gregarious nature and for his gorgeous culinary tattoos. I just asked for his particular favorite gin cocktail and all I remember was him saying he had freshly made some raspberry purée and we just instructed our assent to construct whatever he deemed fit. It was a beautiful site, watching Morgan throw himself into the cocktail making was like watching Nijinski approach Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring; raw and inspirational and entirely heartfelt. We loved this place already. I wished I had written down what else was in the cocktail but we did know there were egg whites which produced a creamy and rich libation.
And then a tall man in a white jacket — Chef Bruce, no less! — walked up with an order of Pommes Dauphine (warm potato croquettes) served with lobster butter. Yep, I got a real fried dough entry out of this visit along with a cool dessert and an amazing cocktail! The Chef was confused as to who had ordered the appetizer because he could see we were already well under way with a dessert. Laughing, I coaxed him over. In a rush to catch a play, we didn’t care what order our dishes had arrived and the only disadvantage seemed to be in the fact that the intensely tender morsels of fried potato dough was the fact that garnished with salt and served with the unctuously rich lobster butter, it came across as too salty after the sweet dessert and fruit-sweet cocktail. Chef Bruce told us he made the lobster sauce fresh from live lobster and the quality was exquisitely discernible. The fried dough offerings were light and perfectly fried.
There was no bigger regret that we had eaten elsewhere beforehand and that our time was so short. But between two amazing courses and better than superlative service, this is a restaurant I will return to very shortly.
Pictures on Fried Dough Ho: http://frieddoughho.com/thermidor/
Visited by accident last week when I was in the area and was planning to go to 54 Mint but noticed this place instead. There wasn't a sign outside so went to check it out. Looks kind of small, two-story of seating. Has a vibe like a club room with chandeliers, matches its neighbor Chez Papa Resto but brighter in lighting.
The bar is small, but very experienced (and cute) bartenders. I tried one of their specialty drinks that was well done (sorry, forgot the name, but it's the first one on the list!) and then tried a few appetizers. The caesar salad was prepared differently with the romaine sliced across the head of romaine and then coated with thick caesar dressing with breadcrumbs. Tasted classic but presented differently. Also had the pulled pork crostini that was a bit dry. Also had the scallop thermidor served with lobster sauce, and it was a beautiful presentation but really tiny for the price (think it was $14 and it was just one scallop diced into pieces mixed with the sauce). Tasted great but price doesn't match the portion size.
Overall, it's an interesting spot although a bit pricey. Tastes seems good and I'm going to go back to check out some of the entrees.
Chez Papa Resto
4 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103
54 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Finally got my photos up: http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/201...
Also, I went for dinner on Monday and was seated at the bar tables, which is nice casual spot off to the side. The bar really can get busy during the happy hour time, seems very popular. Dining room quiet but all the tables were reserved.
I had the chicken kiev and it was good, nice presentation, but dry on the edges. The center was OK. The mashed potatoes underneath was amazingly soft and silky. I also started with a special summer melon salad and it was fantastic, very fresh and beautifully presented.
I ended with the Baked Alaskan and it's a rip off. The size was super small and the sponge cake inside was really hard. I was disappointed even though it looked pretty.
I have to say, I like the concept of Thermidor and the bar drinks are great, along with the salads. But some of the other dishes are hit and miss. All inventive, but not all cooked the best way. And it is pricey.
8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103
Well that was disappointing. Maybe this place is still getting the kinks out but this was not very good at all. You know you are in for trouble when 3 other diners warned you off the signature dish, Lobster Thermidor. We took the hint. We ordered a Mai Tai and Something called an 1865 cup with Pimms and Gin and blackberry syrup. It took 25 minutes for our drinks to appear. The hors d'oeuvres we ordered came and went before we got our cocktails which were tasty. The Chips and Local Caviar with Smoked Trout was delicate and fine. and the Goat Cheese Fritters and Pommes Dauphin made us think we were in good hands. However it the Scallop Newburg was miniscule and salty. Another 30 to40 minute wait for the entrees. The Chicken Kiev was overcooked and dry with no butter herb center to ooze out when cut. The pork chop was bland and deserves no further mention. The long wait for food is not helped by the fact that no bread is offered. Other guests sitting on either side of us complained at the long waits and overcooked main dishes. We did not stay for dessert.
8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103