Exquisite lunch at Cyrus
I had heard only good things about Cyrus and did so look forward to my time there.
First, Healdsburg is gorgeous and I would stay there a few nights and never get bored, though might gain a few pounds. Pfffft, would be worth the longer workouts.
We arrived there not knowing what to expect and how scrumptious it is to be offered champagne and caviar first thing! I did have champagne and truly enjoyed it, though no caviar this time around, I do plan on it next time around!
We chose the 5-course menu, and it was a treat to be able to substitute plates from the vegetarian 5-course tasting menu, which we did.
I want to mention service and décor, which both really take the cake. The service is so much fun, I was always pleasantly surprise, never felt overwhelmed, always on point and with good humor and smiles. I could tell that everyone enjoyed the sommelier also, as I stuck to champagne, I did not have the chance to deal with him much, too bad for me, but planning on it next time again.
The whole event starts with canapés, unexpected and fun, as the cuisine leans towards molecular with an Asian influence, the bites we had were quite good, the two that really stood out for me was the infused blueberry and a miso and mushroom soup served in a miniature bowl.
Then came the amuse-bouche, which again, just appears and wowed me in the sense of an intense awakening of the taste buds.
By then, I was excited about our plates to come and the gazpacho was memorable, full of flavors, cool, but not cold, something to really enjoy, eating it slowly is a prerequisite as the serving is not large.
I think my best dish of the day was the Foie Gras Torchon with cherry, pistachio and ginger; it is a must for any foie gras lover. There are only two other instances in which I was so enamored with foie gras, it was perfectly silken, it was heaven in my mouth and I could have had a whole meal of it too!
Between two dishes came a palate cleansing sorbet popsicle, readying us for the main meal ahead. I had the Kurobuto Tenderloin with black-eyed peas and potato, persillade. The meal itself was beautifully presented, as a matter of fact, each dish served was a feast for the eyes, and if one eats with their eyes first, it is going to be a happy day. The dish was also quite delicious, the meat tender and persillade perfectly delicious as an accompaniment.
As for desserts, There was a few options, one of my companions had the Thai Coffee,it is sumptuous with many layers of sweet and savory, creamy and satisfying after such a beautiful meal. For myself, I was offered the cheese tray, it is a very Europeen thing to do, but one I really enjoy and when I had seen the tray slip past to other customers, I was craving it before the meal ended. There was a good variety to choose from, goat, to cheddars, ash rind and blue cheeses. I had three of them, and with them comes a tray of the most exquisite crackers and toasted bread, also with it is a fruit compote that marries
However at Cyrus, it does not stop there, there is too the tray of mignardises that is brought over and we get to pick a few for ourselves, almost as if to keep the experience going just a bit longer, each of the tiny pieces of sweet perfection made in house, it was hard to resist, and we did not, we did enjoy them, as the time seem to slow to a stop and there was only the sensations having had a wonderful meal, at a beautiful place and setting, and now savoring the last moments of such.
But even when we thought we were done, given to us in a gift box was a chocolate pastry to enjoy later. Which I did. Yum.
Glad you enjoyed it - but we must have had very diifferent servers. I went for lunch on 9/3/11 and found the captain to be fine but many of the others quite "blah"...especially the guy who acted like it was a hassel to drescribe each of the 10 cheeses on the cheese cart (I wanted a name, not the high quality presentations common at 2*-3* restaurants in Paris.) I will admit, though that the bread girl was kind of adorable and super happy.
The food - I don't know - it was just so "expected" - that standard French technique with an eastern slant. Nothing was bad - actually everything was quite tasty, but only the amuse, the foie gras, and the warm chive biscuit from the bread basket really impressed me. Having heard so much of Plue's desserts I think I expected more - they were good, but not "Beard Award Winner" outstanding.
Overall it is a good restaurant and I'd certainly return if I was in Healdsburg but I'd not make the drive for it (or Meadowood) from San Francisco. The 2* rating seems a bit high, imo.
Hey, we were there for lunch on 9/3 too!
Our main server (one of the ladies) was happy to go into detail about the cheeses and what she would recommend for different people (some stink-o-philes a couple that wanted mild only). We really liked her.
There was a fumble on one course description where the guy seemed to really be forcing it out (maybe your guy since they seemed to do a tag-team for that), but overall we really enjoyed the service. Yeah, the bread girl was super happy . . . maybe too happy for us ;-)
The foie gras was great, but my favorite was the corn & black truffle risotto with taleggio from the Vegetarian menu (pays off to have a pescatarian g/f).
By "Captain", do you mean the older gentleman who was mixing the cocktails and pouring the champagne? If so, he's a co-owner with Keane
Nope - guy named Roger - shorter, uncertain where his accent was from, moustached.
Again, it wasn't bad - it was a very "nice" meal - but for the money and travel I'd be hard pressed to do it again when I enjoyed benu, saison, commis, plum, crenn, and others on previous trips more.
I also was put off by the cheesy overhead piano music and the fact that they dictate "choose 3 cheeses only" whereas the vast majority of other restaurants I've been to will let you sample a larger number and simply serve smaller bites of each.
I'm surprised you put Plum in that list. It's pretty casual compared to the rest though a place we like.
I didn't really notice the music at Cyrus. Maybe with a group of 5 there was more conversation to push that to the background?
Everyplace has it's ups and downs. Less lows expected at a Michelin 2* and I haven't been to Saison or Benu, but Crenn from your list (and Luce with Crenn at the helm, for that matter) we didn't like at all. Been only once to both, but it was enough to not want to return any time soon.
Crenn was too much pretension & presentation (did you get the actual Bonsai tree serving dish thing?) with decent food. Luce was poor execution of food (3hrs for 2 course meal. 1.5 hrs between clearing of apps & presentation of mains. 3 of 5 main dishes served at room temp) and bad service. We verified Crenn was in the kitchen that night and it was only 1/3 full.
We had recently saw her win on Iron Chef America so were excited to dine there, but it reinforced the fact that being on that show (and winning) doesn't mean much.
Maybe we have different tastes or just good/bad luck when we've gone.
Good food and good service is good food and good service regardless of how casual a spot is - especially if the ingredients are well sourced and cared for. Plum should be on your must-visit list for its price.
It is interesting how people in the Bay area see Crenn as pretentious while outsiders (myself, the GQ review, a number of folks I know from Chicago and Los Angeles) see her presentations as artistic. Perhaps this has something to do with the overall lack of molecular cuisine in San Francisco because to me the log or the bonzai tree seemed a clever (albeit unnecessary) service mechanism in the same vein of what is being done at MANY 'mg' spots, but more organic.
I haven't watched Iron Chef in easily 4 years and don't watch cooking television in general at all so the reason I went was the palates I trust - something I don't think you can ever put enough stock in.