I have been wanting to check out Chez Papa Resto for some time, but for one reason or another, it has never worked out. Earlier this year for Dine about Town, Pdho and I had dinner at Chez Papa Bistrot and were pretty impressed with our tasty meal. So without a second thought, I purchased a $75 Groupon for Chez Papa Resto the moment I saw it. It was a cold and rainy evening when Pdho and I made our way over to Mint Plaza. It was surprisingly busy considering it was a Monday, but I’m suspecting it was a combination of it being the holidays and the fact that the Groupon expiration date was quickly approaching. Nevertheless, we got seated pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Pdho forgot his camera (which is such a rarity for him), so these pictures were taken with my iPhone.
It is hard to go wrong with foie gras. However, sometimes the richness of the foie gras can be overpowering, but thankfully, this was not the case here. Because it was a mousse, it was lighter in consistency and probably as a result, lent to a lighter flavor as well. It was prepared with slices of persimmon and arugula and drizzled with lillet and hazlenuts. Lillet is a French apertif wine that is a mix of Bordeaux wine and citrus liqueurs, so the mix of sweetness and bitterness from the Lillet and sweet persimmons helped to cut the fattiness from the foie gras. It was a nice balance of flavors.
The Albacore Tartare was very interesting! Instead of typical red tuna, they used albacore that was chopped and mixed with small cubes of Asian pear and served with Creme Fraiche and Sudachi Foam. I think there was some Kaffir lime in there somewhere. The flavors in the tartare were unlike any other I’ve tasted. It was a little salty and a bit tangy but not distinctly Japanese… Because of the Kaffir aroma, it was almost Thai-like. Nevertheless, it was extremely different and very well done.
The Grilled Ribeye was topped with cubes of turnip and served with a terrine of comte cheese, potato and house-cured bacon on a side of spinach. The meat was flavorful and pretty well-cooked to medium rare. It was a leaner cut than I’m used to with ribeye, but I think it was prepared so well that I didn’t mind it being a little less on the juicy side. The terrine was a clever execution on the starch side. It was kind of like a gratin in that they layered potato, bacon and cheese for several layers probably in a bread pan and then sliced it and presented it like a loaf of bread. It was interesting and tasted pretty good, but the distinct cheese taste seemed a little bit too overpowering for the plate as a whole.
The short ribs were supposedly braised for 48 hours and considering how tender and juicy the meat tasted, I realized that Pdho and I had a long way to go in braising short ribs at home in our Le Creuset dutch oven. The meat was topped with carrots, Brussels sprouts, and Cipollini onions and served on a bed of brown butter pomme puree and red wine jus. This was probably the best dish of the night. The rich and flavorful taste of the short ribs with the buttery creaminess of the pomme puree… it all went so well together.
We were pretty stuffed after absolutely cleaning off the appetizers and the main entrees. Normally, we probably would have given at least a try of at least one dessert, and we were tempted by the apple tarte tartin. However, since we only got a short work out in at the gym and we were planning on eating out at Delfina tomorrow with CAsper, we decided to end the meal at this point. All in all, it was an absolutely delicious meal. Inevitably, I had to compare the meal to Chez Papa Bistrot which isn’t totally fair, because the styles are different. There is a distinct French angle to most of the dishes at both restaurants, but I feel that Resto is more refined while Bistrot felt a little more casual yet markedly French. The Groupon was definitely a great way to experience Resto, but I would still recommend both places if you’re looking for some delicious tasting French food.
Chez Papa Resto
4 Mint Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94103
PAFO Ratings for Chez Papa Resto:
Price 4 stars
Ambiance 3½ stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars