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nopa, Quince, NOPA, Foreign Cinema and La Folie

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Just got back from a trip to SF and thought I would give my two cents on our dining experiences.

nopa (http://nopasf.com/) - very good for a late night dinner with friends on our fist night in town. food was good, but not excellent. wine was very good. service was hit and miss. scene was fun. I wouldn't rush back, but I wouldn't avoid it either. Servings were extremely generous - almost too big.

Quince (http://www.quincerestaurant.com) - i was very excited about Quince, but things got off to a rocky start. Our dining companions were late, so we sat on the couches in the lounge and waited for a cocktail. And waited. We were given cocktail menus. And coasters. Just no cocktails. I asked the people having cocktails beside us if they had to get them at the bar - negative. I gave up to go to the bar anyway, and was finally offered a cocktail on my way there. The same guy who brought us the cocktail menu and the coasters generously intercepted me with "would you like a drink?"! Kind of a dumb question after 10 minutes holding a cocktail menu.... oh well.

We eventually got tired of waiting for our companions and asked if they were holding off on seating us (as many places do) until our entire party arrived. We were told that they were in fact holding off because "they thought that would be nice". I asked to be seated. It's a bit petty, but they definitely should have offered us the option to be seated or wait in the lounge... oh well.

We had some lovely palate cleansers and friends finally arrived. Two of us had the 8 course taster, the other two had the 5 course taster. The reservation specified a gluten free diner but that detail was overlooked - not to worry as the restaurant adapted seamlessly. Then something I am still laughing about - the wine manager (who oversees the sommeliers) came over and spoke at length to the two of us with the 8 course menu about a fantastic wine that we were about to have and how well it would go with our lobster. When I mentioned we weren't having lobster he cratered, got visibly upset, pursed his lips, handed the bottle to our server (who was excellent) and stormed off, never to be seen or heard from again. What a jackass. Our server just laughed it off and the meal itself went very well, with fill in courses galore for the two 5 course eaters. Great wine pairings, great food. Since we started late, we were the last of two tables in the restaurant near the end of the night, the other table being quite close to us. Chef came out, sat at the other table for half an hour and never acknowledged our existence. Not a nod. Not a hello. Not a thank you. Nothing. Don't get me wrong - he clearly knew the couple and that's fine by me; I didn't expect an invitation to his Christmas party. I do, however, when spending the better part of $1000 on dinner, expect, if the chef is on the floor, some sort of greeting, however brief. We won't be going back to Quince.

Foreign Cinema (http://foreigncinema.com) - totally fun spot for a more casual meal. the food was very good and the service attentive. Wine list was limited but the recommendations very good. I'd go back with a large group any day.

La Folie (http://www.lafolie.com) - There is a reason that La Folie has a Michelin star. It's amazing. From the cocktails (how does bourbon, bergamot mint, and ginger infused congnac over ice sound?!) to the amuse bouches to the mains to the absolutely outstanding wine list, La Folie was outstanding. Every staff member seemed happy to be there. Everything I ate was heavenly. And unlike Quince, chef visited every table, however briefly, over the course of the night. La Folie has moved into my top 5 meals of all time, although I'm still sorting out where on that list it ranks. Highly recommended.

We also cancelled our reservation at Coi and opted to take a drive out to Sonoma and eat at Cyrus. From a culinary perspective, I'd like to unwind that decision.....

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La Folie
2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. I'm exhausted just reading about your Quince experience. My experience with SF restaurants is that most do best when you don't push them with 8-course tasting menus--I mean that especially in terms of service, but it's true for food too. There are lots of great mid to high end places with delicious food--but hard to find anything worth the extreme extra expense.

    What did you eat at La Folie and at Quince? and what wine would pair perfectly with lobster but not anything less than that?

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    La Folie
    2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

    1. ...interesting, I look forward to hearing what you have to say about Cyrus as I too was underwhelmed.

      http://endoedibles.com