New chef at the Palace? Has anyone been? [San Francisco]
- susancinsf Aug 19, 2013 02:57 PM
All those years hubby and I lived in the 'hood and dared each other to try the Palace Steakhouse on Mission (but never quite got up the nerve), and now this startling report makes it sound like an entirely different experience.
Sigh...you can thank me for leaving the neighborhood, in the same way that the area around Kaiser Center in Oakland started flourishing (at least as far as restaurants go) right after I left my job in that area...
Here's a link to Bauer's full review,
It lists this contact info:
3047 Mission St (at Cesar Chavez Street), San Francisco
Dinner 6-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. No liquor license. Reservations accepted via text message only. Credit cards accepted for a 3 percent charge (American Express not accepted). Generally easy street parking.
I went a week ago and tried the five course tasting menu. For the most part I found the dishes unmemorable. Another restaurant that focuses a bit too much on presentation over flavor. And they do that annoying thing where you can upgrade individual courses for $10 or $20 (I skipped the truffle and wagyu upgrades).
Yuca amuse was oily. Oyster was just ok. Grilled lobster bite was nice but the other preparations (ceviche and soup) were not. The pork course was not notable aside from the extremely hard rind.
The highlight was the steak, which was served with some braised bitter greens and au gratin. I kind of wish they had just made this a full blown entree and skip the other courses. It wasn't especially creative, but the simple preparation and flavor contrasts made this the best dish.
Dessert wasn't memorable either.
Fiance and I went last night.
The amuse was very interesting - ahi bite with lots of other flavors that definitely awakened the taste-buds.
I really liked the oyster with two tobiko offerings and sauce.
Of the lobster offering, the ceviche was in a rather thick, overpowering mealy cup. The grilled portion had a bit of a kick that I found overpowering and the bisque was a bit too thin, but had good flavor.
Next came the quail upgrade; a confit leg that was deep-fried (could have probably skipped the confit) and a breast that was infused with lavender that was quite lovely, all topped with shaved black truffle. Honestly, the truffle did less for the quail than it did for the cauliflower puree which turned out to be a fabulous pairing with the Argentine wine I had brought (no corkage!).
The pork plate was the most interesting to me, but filled me up too much; the chorizo was a bit dry and the rind WAS too hard, but I liked the braised bits in the rich sauce, topped with a grilled bok choy that was seasoned with blue cheese. I cleaned my plate but my fiance was less impressed.
We got one Wagyu upgrade and that was more interesting, sadly, than the other beef offering but as we were getting fairly full, we opted to just bring the beef home with us. Nice grilled mushrooms and a red- and golden-beet puree on the plate made for an interesting component.
Two desserts were also offered ($10 each); a Dulce de Leche souffle that was more like a steamed pudding, but quite tasty (albeit a bit small) served with house-made passion fruit ice cream and fresh fruits with a brown butter glaze - and a spiced poached Asian pear with the same ice cream, glaze and fruits.
Service was attentive, even if there were spans of time between some courses, which I don't mind. They need bigger dessert spoons (using the miniature spoons that get served with the oysters and lobster course seems pointless). I would go back and just stick with the straight $50 for Five Course offering as a deal for what they are doing, but once we included the upgrades, It made for a $200 meal which was a bit too much.
Three of us went a couple of weeks ago. Many of the dishes have been been described well by others so I will focus on overall impressions. Very enjoyable place with prices that made the food taste even better than it was, which was very good.
(Food just tastes better when it is priced reasonably. Have you ever noticed that 75 cent oysters in New Orleans taste better than $1 oysters in SF which taste better than $2 oysters in SF and presumably the $3 versions, which I have never tried.)
Anyway, the oysters started the meal well at the Palace and each course was interesting and nicely presented. There was a heavy focus on meat and in the end probably too much food for everyone. So we never even tried the dessert.
I recall the pork was stellar as was the upgraded Wagyu beef, which one of us sprang for and which was divine and worth the extra. It was better than the regular beef.
Wine glasses were in short supply for the BYO, but that and the interesting furniture did not detract from the overall warmth and quality of this place.
I think we will be back.
Finally, finally made it over here last night. There is now only a prix fixe option, and no printed menu, but our server/co-owner, Katerina de Torres, kindly gave my BF the option of going ala carte if he wanted, as he’s not a seafood fan and two of the courses were fish. she said the chef had lots of food and could make anything he wanted. he didn't want to be too much trouble so he ended up going for the prix fixe. Katerina said the chef would make him something else for those two courses, which we really appreciated.
first up was a wagyu beef carpaccio amuse bouche, with little flowers, a plaintain chip, sesame oil, and a couple of other things i don't remember. a lovely first bite, very flavorful.
my next course was ahi tuna with a tomato concasse filled with tomato water gelee, a frico, some minced olives, and again other things I can’t quite remember, but it was an exciting plate of flavors and textures, all working very well together. for the BF, they subbed a couple of thick slices of mortadella sausage for the tuna, which he loved, in the same prep.
next, i was served salmon (very lightly seared), with fava beans, roasted baby carrot, diced avocado and tomato, and tangerine flowers (?) (they tasted like tangerines), and a habanero water. another simply lovely dish with clean, unique flavors - loved the slight heat from the habanero water. the BF got 3 nice chunks of wagyu beef on his plate, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
then came a soup course - chicken soup in a very rich chicken broth, slightly cuminy, with chitarra noodles made of plantains! great toothy texture - i wouldn't have known it was not pasta - with a slight sweetness to them. the chicken was perfectly tender and flavorful. the veggies - carrots and celery - were a tad mushy. there were some fresh corn kernels in their as well. this was a very homey dish, totally unlike the three that came before it. i loved it, though it did seem a bit out of place.
our next course was lamb - one frenched chop each, cooked sous vide, and perfectly so. it rested on a bed of pureed squash/onion (although the puree had no discernible onion flavor), and was accompanied by three different squashes - one was completely bland, another had tiny oniony flowers of some sort but which imparted very little onion flavor, and i don't remember the third. Katerina poured a lamb jus over the whole plate at the table, which watered down the puree and did nothing for the flavors, not to mention ruining the aesthetic of the dish. it was our least favorite dish of the night, even with the lamb being so delicious.
our final course was steak - i opted for the supplement of wagyu. the wagyu was perfectly cooked and mostly tender, but surprisingly i found bits of gristle in it. the other steak - not sure what cut - was a larger hunk, and difficult to cut with the non-steak knives we had. there was a really delicious but small tangle of wilted greens and mushrooms, and too few pieces of a very tasty yucca "gnocchi" - which was not like gnocchi at all - not pillowy, not soft. the texture and taste was more like fried yucca. which was fine, because it offered a nice texture to the dish. the worst thing about this course is that it came out lukewarm - the meat, the jus from the meat, the whole thing was almost cold. it would have been much better served hot, but all-in-all, just not a spectacular dish.
the problem is that, as they recently stated in an interview with Eater SF, they do it all themselves. Chef Torres and his sous chef even brought out several of the dishes. which is great, but there were rather long waits between the courses, especially between the lamb and the steak, which probably accounted for the low temp of the meat. there are twelve tables and eleven of them were full by the time we left, and no one left while we were eating - so, the three were kept very busy. that said, the service was very attentive, friendly and warm. my only other quibble is that, because there is no printed menu, Katerina must remember to tell you everything, and she didn't. i saw at another table these beautiful little cocktail shakers and when we inquired were told that there was a fresh fruit cocktail available, made with one of 4 fruits - guanabana, moro, lulo or maracuya - and a tequila wine. i went ahead and ordered one - the maracuya - even though i'd already started my glass of Vouvray. the chilled shaker holds enough for two people to have 3 or 4 shots. it was very tart and refreshing, but did not taste like it had any alcohol in it.
the other thing she forgot to tell us is that half glasses of wine are available. i overheard her telling another table this after i'd finished my second glass - a Rioja - and my meal. i'd been milking the wine to last through the end of my dinner. since the meal takes two hours, another half glass would have been perfect for me.
we weren't particularly full, but opted not to have dessert, which we were told was dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream and queso fresco.
the meal clocked in at $200 with tip. It’s worth noting that each course had protein in it. The BF would have liked a salad or veggie course at some point. While the first few courses were stunners, we were disappointed that the meal ended on a low note via its last two dishes. I can’t say that $200 for 5 courses (with additional free wagyu for the BF’s substitution), two glasses of wine and the “cocktail” is overpriced, but we didn’t really feel like it was a $200 meal.
a few pics (the amuse came out fuzzy so i'm not including it.)