As mentioned in my most recent post on Coi Restaurant, the dining room will be expanding in early April, and the amazing lounge will transition from being casual, affordable offshoot to a formal, tasting menu only extension of the dining room. While I'm sad to see it go, I'm excited for the transformation and what surprises Daniel Patterson and his team have in store for us lucky diners. That said, I obviously had to sneak in one last time to give the lounge a proper farewell.
Because I've already gone into great detail describing how incredible recent experiences in the lounge have been, I'll refrain from writing another essay here. Instead, I simply wanted to convey my most recent visit through a few beautiful photos. Enjoy!...Continue Reading
Although panna cotta has been making appearances on dessert menus in San Francisco for years, it seemed like in early 2010 there was an absolute explosion across the entire city. Not only did it seem like panna cotta was listed on just about every menu that I came in contact with, but suddenly dozens of different, interesting variations were popping up. Now in early 2011, everyone seems to have their own unique version to proudly display on their menu. While many variations are interesting, there are only a few that stand out from the panna cotta chaos and deserve special recognition...Continue Reading
My love affair with Coi began roughly one year ago, when I stepped into the serene dining room and proceeded to have one of the best meals of my life. That 12 course tasting menu featured some of the most inspired cooking I had ever had the pleasure to devour. So inspiring, in fact, that I was compelled by an unstoppable force to ignore all fiscal responsibilities and go back for that tasting menu two more times within the span of three months. I quickly realized that maintaining such a regular schedule at one of the most notable, and expensive, restaurants in the Bay Area was sheer madness, and a cloud of sadness crept over me. Until I discovered one of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets: the Lounge at Coi...Continue Reading
7) Buttermilk Panna Cotta w/ Cherry Blossom, Coi
Yes, Coi pops up on this list for the second time. Although I wanted to get a good mix of restaurants represented in my top 10, I just couldn’t avoid including this dish – it was just too damn incredible. The dish, which I was lucky enough to get on my first visit to this restaurant, will forever remain in my memory: buttermilk Panna Cotta accompanied by cherry blossoms and topped with budding shoots of wild fennel. First and foremost, the flavor was overwhelming - the buttermilk (a special culture acquired through their in-house butter-making process), infused with cured cherry blossoms, along with the hints of pickled and wild fennel was a perfect balance of delicate freshness and creamy richness. And, the aromatic qualities the cherry blossom twig, left on the plate purely to smell, transformed the flavor into something truly unique and created a dish that really represents Daniel Patterson as a chef. It was the culinary incarnation of early spring. To read more about the other dishes from that night, check out my full account of Coi.
1) Chilled Eggplant Purée, Coi
For a couple of months it seemed like the only thing I wanted to talk about was Daniel Patterson’s Chilled Eggplant Purée (made from puréed eggplant, fresh pole and shelling beans, preserved lemon, cilantro, and tomato water gelée). I was honestly bringing it up in conversations with people who had absolutely no interest in the subject and could only respond by smiling and nodding. But I didn’t care, I wanted the world to know how incredible cold eggplant could taste. And I didn’t just talk about it, I chased it down as much as possible knowing that eggplant and tomato would soon be out of season and I’d be left with a void in my soul. Even after eating it 3 times in only 3 weeks, I was still blown away and craving more. You can read a full description of the dish here, but for me, this dish exemplified sophistication through simplicity and balance.
Roasted White Chocolate Parfait with Huckleberry and Tarragon
The Time and Place:
November 7th, 2010, Dinner at Plum
When was the last time you dined at a restaurant where ordering dessert was an absolute must? In a city obsessed with every aspect of the dining experience, it seems that dessert is one aspect often overlooked. And understandably so! After a couple of appetizers, a sizeable entrée, and a few glasses of wine it’s nearly impossible to walk, never mind find the room for another dish. And while most restaurants boast signature savory dishes, few have reputations for serving desserts so good that skipping them could be considered a crime, reinforcing dessert’s status as an afterthought. Enter: Plum...Continue Reading
The Dish: Chilled Eggplant Soup with fresh pole and shelling beans, preserved lemon, cilantro, and tomato water gelée.
The Time and Place: August 27th, 2010, Dinner in the Lounge at Coi
The Description: To say that I first tried this dish on the 27th at Coi is a bit of a lie. In fact, the first time I had it was August 9th at the Plum preview dinner at Il Cane Rosso - Chef Patterson had to step into the kitchen at the last minute and therefore brought a couple of his signature dishes along with him. Actually, the 27th wasn’t even the second time I ordered the dish; the second time I had it was as the third course of Coi’s tasting menu on August 24th - a course which proved to be my favorite of the night. What’s listed above is actually the third time in three weeks that I, again, succumbed to the soup’s advances. But there’s a reason for listing that date as the one that was truly revelatory. The night of the 24th was the first time that I was driven back to Coi by an overwhelming craving for the purity and freshness of the flavors contained in this dish; it was officially the night that a dish, a healthy, vegetable-centric dish at that, stripped me of all of my self-control and had me crawling back to Coi’s front door...Continue Reading
It's no secret that I consider Chef Daniel Patterson to be one of the two best chefs in San Francisco (Matthew Accarrino of SPQR being the second), and just simply a culinary genius. Every interaction I've had with him has been friendly but professional, and more importantly, extremely interesting; I have no doubt that if I had the means, I would eat at Coi every week. So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that, for a limited time only, he'd be in the kitchen at Il Cane Rosso heading up the Plum preview dinners...Continue Reading
That disheveled hair. That 3 o' clock shadow that gives them a mysterious, yet inviting, appeal. That straight brow and hard stare. Is it the look of an evil genius? Is it just coincidence? Or is it something more? Whatever the reason, there's no denying that the resemblance between Rudy Cooper, the Ice Truck Killer from Dexter, and Chef Daniel Patterson of Coi, is uncanny...Continue Reading
Let’s face it, there are some restaurants that a diner can’t help but enter with high expectations. Many of these restaurants live up to said expectations; a select few exceed them. Then, once in a blue moon, you stumble upon a restaurant that doesn’t just go above and beyond, doesn’t just become another entry in the book of memorable meals, but redefines your concept of food. Coi is one of those restaurants...Continue Reading