La Folie, San Francisco (July 2008)

My decision to dine at La Folie was undoubtedly influenced by Opentable’s Best Food category. Starting the amuse fusillade was an heirloom tomato salad with red peppers, cucumber, and a tomato gelée. 

Next came a poached egg with leek cream, a thin potato crisp, chive, and brioche.

The third amuse bouche was a dungeness crab salad atop an English pea panna cotta. Layers of sweetness did not become overwhelming due to three piles of briny roe.

I ponied up the $10 supplement for the foie gras, which came in a peach consommé. This remains the largest piece of foie gras I have ever been served in a restaurant, although Picasso might be in contention.

For the second course, I went with the trotter, sweetbread, and lobster terrine. It is a dense terrine, but the frisée dressed with hazelnut vinagrette cut through the richness, as did the lentils, carrots, and crisp applewood smoked bacon.

Yet another magnanimous portion for the entrée from Chef Passot. The rabbit leg was stuffed with three kinds of mushrooms; the stuffed loin pieces burst with carrots, garlic, and spinach; the infinitesimal rack evinced superb knife skills but had little meat to show for it. At this point in the meal, my liver felt like the goose’s I had consumed earlier, unable to store any more fat, so the lean rabbit was an appreciated course.

The cardamon pudding and cherry granita supplied a necessary palate cleansing.

A savory dessert peaked my interest: Edam cheese soufflé with fromage blanc sorbet, crispy bacon, and a white sesame tulie. Edam has a mild flavor to it, in contrast to stinky cheeses. Given the amount of food I had eaten in the first four courses, the modest sized portion was a relief.

Among the mignardises, I liked the dark chocolate hazelnut ganache and passion fruit jellies.

La Folie definitely gives patrons their money’s worth. Passot’s menu has plenty to chose from. The restaurant, moreover, may not be in the poshest area–Russian Hill–yet upon entering, one is greeted warmly by a French maître d’ and other francophiles. If you happen to mosey through this San Francisco neighborhood and have two hours to spare, this is the place to go.

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