dinner @ Frances

3870 17th Street | San Francisco, CA

Frances on Urbanspoon

We came here to try Chef Melissa Perello’s (fairly) new modern California cuisine restaurant and to help celebrate a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago.

So the reservation for this place was crazy. I had to book months in advance for a table, but it was all worth it.  I had the reservation back in March but then I had a conflict, so had to give it up, but the good thing was that we got three reasons to celebrate this time around. 1) A bday; 2) a milestone achievement; 3) finally able to try Frances.  Yes, I count trying new restaurants as an accomplishment. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures…  😉

And oh boy, was I excited! Even G was pretty excited because he started reading the menu online and quizzing me about what to eat…

Fast forward to dinner time.  After we checked in, we got our table right away, and started ordering some yummy drinks.  We each opted for something different.  N had the Rooibos tea, Nia ordered the Strawberry Frizz, and I had the beer on tap which was Magnolia Brewery – Sara’s Ruby Mild.  Goes really well with their food. Trust me on this.  Oh and if you are into wine, they have a pretty good list too.

Next, we sampled Frances’ bouchees (pastries):

  • Applewood Smoked Bacon Beignets with Maple Crème Fraiche & Chive
  • Panisse Frites  with crispy chickpea fritters and served with Meyer Lemon Aioli
  • Toasted Firebrand Challah with Stracciatella Cheese & Herb Salad

While my dinner companions complained about the bacon beignets saying that they don’t understand what the hype is and do not like them, I do want to point out that the smell of bacon in these beignets were strong.  The dough was soft and flavorful and essentially what a beignet should taste like.  I think people expected a bit too much from the word “beignet”, it just means “fried dough” in French.  I do think they are good for what they are.

Next we had the Panisse Frites and again, my dinner companions did not like this either.  Hmm…Am starting to think I am the only one who’s odd.  Well, anyway, their complaints were that this one’s too salty. I thought it tasted great.  Maybe my beer helped. Lol.

Finally, the Challah landed on our table, and all three of them liked the Challah! Yes!

We then skipped Appetizers and went straight to Entrees.

  • Napa Valley Lamb with summer squash, baked ricotta, braised lamb crespelle
  • Crepe Cannelloni with melt leeks, spinach, maitake mushrooms, Chevre
  • Herb stuffed Guinea Hen with creamy polenta, chanterelles, white corn and apricot
  • Smoked Steelhead Trout with fingerling potatoes, crème friche, and grain mustard

N had the lamb and was happy with it although not impressed. He wanted it a bit more “fall-off-the-bone” quality and this wasn’t it.  In the same breath, he didn’t want it cooked in a stew either.  I took a bite to taste and thought it was well done, but it wasn’t my favorite lamb dish ever either. I think my favorite thus far actually came from another restaurant but I haven’t been to that place in ages, so don’t know how their food fares now.

Nia had the steelhead trout and she was underwhelmed. She liked her fish dish but wasn’t very impressed with the overall meal in itself.

G had the Guinea Hen and it was quite delicious.  While he thought the hen tasted a bit like duck, he thought it tasted good and had the most interesting mushrooms (Chanterelles) in the dish that goes well with the creamy polenta.

Lastly, I had the Cannelloni and it was divine!  The melted leeks with the chevre went well with the maitake mushrooms and spinach.  The only complaint is that I actually had to share with others (so they can taste). I could have eaten two orders of this by myself.

Overall, I thought all the food was quite delicious.  But my favorite was the crêpe cannelloni because the leek and cheese were just so good together. Yummy.

For dessert, we had the Bittersweet Chocolate Pot du Crème with roasted bing cherries and vino visciole and a slice of corn meal pound cake with ricotta semifreddo, olive oil and summer berries and our wonderful waiter added a scoop of ice cream with a candle and presented to Nia.

Another wonderful meal adventure.

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