One Market, San Francisco (October 2008)


Leaving the decisions to Chef Dommen proved judicious. For two hours the well-paced seven-course meal steadily escalated in sumptuosity.

One cannot go wrong with a gelatinous oyster topped with caviar. 

Amuse Bouche: oyster with caviar and crème fraîche on a sea salt mountain

This dish jolted my palate posthaste. Strikingly acidic grapefruit elided wonderfully with sweet pieces of crab. 

First course: Crab salad, olive oil sorbet, sliced grapefruit, radish, cilantro, and grapefruit gelée
Never have I tasted such a robustly flavored trout. Although the trout earned center stage, the oozing egg yolk and crispy potato pancake helped make a texturally pristine dish. 
Second course: Smoked trout, potato pancake, quail egg, and a pancetta vinaigrette
Underneath what looks like feline saliva rested a petite foie gras slice. Several months had passed since this lipidic delicacy graced my presence. I, therefore, segmented the liver into as many slices as possible, savoring each wedge with the belief that it would be months before our two paths crossed again. 
Third course: Foie gras, grape purée, peanut foam, and roasted peanuts
That perfectly cooked scallop wrapped in pork fat leaves me salivating even as I write this. 
Fourth course: Pancetta-wrapped Day Boat scallops chanterelle mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, spinach, smoked onion foam
The sweet elements in this dish easily could have routed the timid duck breast. The duck confit’s piquancy, however, prevented any such misfortune from transpiring. 
Fifth course: Roasted Liberty Farms duck breast duck leg confit, roasted figs, vanilla and sweet potato purée, and Chinese five spice jus
A dessert as rich as cheesecake ought not be too big, so this portion pleased me. 
Sixth course: Pistachio crusted cheesecake with a candied lemon
Had the meal ended with the cheesecake, I would have left utterly enthralled with One Market. It did not. No, upon finishing dessert, the server invited me to the kitchen. There, I not only met Chef Dommen, but since service was relatively quiescent, I conversed with one of the sous chef who cooked my scallop, making a great evening that much more memorable.

Pros: Exceptional service and a great tasting menu
Cons: The only possible gripe, if I had to be a fusspot, is a noisy bar scene.

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