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Apr 3, 2013 12:16 PM

La Folie for special dinner [San Francisco]

We're going to La Folie for my husband's birthday.

Any advice re what to order that's esp. lovely?

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  1. Two of my favorites:

    "Triple T Ranch Tempura Duck Egg"
    "Roti of Quail and Squab"

    1. cheese souffle is a must

      1. May I suggest you eat very lightly for the day or two before going to La Folie. The food was wonderful, but the portions were humongous. I ended up having to tell the waiter halfway through our meal to not bring me the next course at all, even though we would still have to pay for it. While I've never had to say this about a fine dining experience before or since, La Folie was just way too much food. I wish the portions were half as large.

        7 Replies
        1. re: artemis

          why didn't you ask for it to go?

          la folie definitely has large portions, but some of the reports i've read make it sound like the cheesecake factory - i don't htink they're obscenely large, chef passot is more just rebelling against similarly priced french restaurants where you leave hungry after dropping a considerable amount of money.

          1. re: vulber

            I had a funny experience at a restaurant recently.

            This was NOT at La Folie, but...
            We were 5 for dinner, but one had to leave before the main course arrived. I asked the waiter if he would box up that one entree to go. He replied that he would do so, but *first* he needed to bring it out plated, and he would box it when we finished our entrees. This is because the chef does not do takeout. :-)

            1. re: vulber

              the foie might have been a bit obscene, but passot did love his foie :(

              1. re: vulber

                I'm sure Passot still loves his foie, even if he can't currently serve it to his customers.

                  1. re: vulber


                    Our dinner was mixed. Which I think says as much about my relationship to fine dining as anything else.

                    Some things lovely. Gorgeous space. Every amuse (including petit fours) wonderful.

                    Buttered lobster appetizer beautifully & deliciously conceived, prepared. That and the lobster risotto that my husband had dis-proved my Massachusetts-born/bred prejudice that you can't get great lobster outside of New England. He also loved his asparagus soup (which I tasted and thought was fine) and his roe (which I again wasn't knocked over by--my association was to shaving truffles over everything--when you top everything w/ the same ingredient that is so distinctive and assertive, you can lose the delicate and subtle difference of the items that were topped off).

                    And we both loved most (but not all) of our meat course. I had the rabbit--delicious, perfectly prepared, delightfully garnished--except for the rack, which was difficult to eat (couldn't cut between the ribs and hard even when I picked the whole thing up, glancing around me for the table manners police). My spouse got the beef ($20 supplement)--and he loved all but the wagu slider (out of season tomato? really?).

                    The server was more than very capable, but the recitation around each dish, as it was served--while clearly the trope--felt intrusive. And all the servers seemed to raise voices for said recitation, so you were intruded upon not only when your dish arrived, but when diners half-way across the room were served.

                    The big miss for me was the snails and marrow. And this was my miss as well as theirs--intimidated--how could one say this to a great chef?--I didn't ask for some salt (goes without saying, not on the table) or politely say that it seemed to be under-salted (somehow got lost on the line). Too bad on a number of levels (and memo to self for the next time I'm shy in a temple of grand dining)--but I bet it would have been great w/ a sprinkling.

                    I only had three courses, which was just right. My husband (the birthday boy) had five and left feeling too full.

                    The bill was, of course, steep. And worth it surely, for those for whom this kind of dining is the ultimate treat. My husband felt very well feted for this, his "will you still need me, will you still feed me" b'day.

                    As for my b'day, which is coming up, I'm debating between keeping the res. we have @ Frances--or taking our chances in line @ Sushi Sho and then heading up to Rivoli for a hot fudge sundae (w/ a candle).

              2. re: vulber

                Because it was our wedding night and we were staying in a hotel.

            2. I love the goat cheese tatin, although last time somebody on the line miscalculated and put a too-garlicky mayo underneath.

              Lobster & mushroom risotto. Small serving but extraordinarily rich.

              Tasting of Passot Roe is my DH's favorite dish here. It's always a little different, always good, but when it's really on point, it's amazing. That vodka marinade is superb. I just wish he'd switch from salmon roe to tobiko, which I love so much more.

              The meat entrees tend to be large at La Folie. But the lamb chop is one of the most savory hunks of meat ever. I'd skip the terrine, which is usually either pig's feet or oxtail, often with sweetbreads. It's good, but very heavy and the only dish I thought was really much too big.

              Yes, we miss Passot's foie gras. His torchon with spiced peach consomme was the single finest FG dish any of us had ever had, before or since, during a family dinner there.

              We usually skip dessert at La Folie and just end with good coffee. The sweets are okay, but the savory food is better.

              For us, the only place one absolutely must have dessert is Aziza, where Melissa Chou invents the most remarkable meal endings for Lahlou's great fusion food. To miss her desserts is to spoil the overall experience.

              At La Folie...not so much. Four courses are fine for us, but definitely, some dishes are much heavier than others. It's the one criticism I have about their service. They're really not that adept at guiding people through the menu.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jaiko

                as mentioned below, the cheese souffle is a must - an absolutely brilliant sweet/savory combination, and fairly petite-sized compared to the rest of the courses there; one must end with it

              2. I was at La Folie last week for dinner and got the four-course selection. Although the entire meal was fantastic, the Miyazake Wagyu ribeye with bone marrow custard was undoubtedly the best piece of beef I've ever had in my life. Great cut of wagyu, and the chefs prepared it perfectly to showcase the marbling. Highly recommended.

                We also had the dish topped with black truffle, at the chef's suggestion. Although that increased the decadence, it didn't really need or benefit greatly from it.

                8 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Raw truffle, they were adding it optionally on any dish for a surcharge. The chef suggested adding it to this dish.

                    1. re: calumin

                      White truffles should always be raw. Black truffles, personally I say a waste of money unless cooked.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        In my admittedly limited experience, truffles need to be allowed to come into contact with fat to release their essence. Just shaving them raw on top of something isn't going to achieve that nearly as well as integrating them towards the end of the cooking process.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I'm not sure black truffles need fat. Many of the recipes I've seen that call for for luxurious quantities roast or simmer them.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I like this one.
                            "Chickens are stuffed (with foie gras, milk, breadcrumbs and black truffle) then wrapped in linen and buried in the ground for up to two weeks. When nicely done, the chickens are slow roasted, and almost certainly delicious. "
                            If I remember correctly it uses a very large amount of truffles.

                            1. re: wolfe

                              They were very generously shaved over a bordelaise sauce so there was some fat there.

                              Mind you, it was very good. But the star was the Miyazaki wagyu.

                              1. re: calumin

                                It almost certainly would have been a better use of the truffle to cook it in the sauce. That's a classic variation.

                                Some chefs like raw black truffles, though. Maybe if you eat enough of them they start to make more sense.