San Francisco: The Beauty of Frances
Carina and I had planned out most of my trip before I even got there. Thursday was probably my heaviest eating and drinking day. By Friday, I was looking forward to a sushi lunch and Frances. I figured a couple of good meals would mean a not-so-hangover-y Saturday morning after a heavy night of drinkin‘.
Carina had made these reservations far in advance as Frances is a hot new restaurant. The small restaurant got packed as the evening progressed.
After starting with a cocktail each, Foggy Summer Fizz for Carina and a Apples and Honey for me, we moved onto wine.
Frances does this wonderful deal of paying only for what you drink. You have your choice of two house wines, specially selected red and white wine blends. We opted for white. And how much do you pay? A buck an ounce.
Carina and I have a foodie’s habit of turning every meal into a tasting menu. We decided on two “bouchees” the panisse frites and grilled calamari to start. We also wanted to share the dungeness crab salad. We then each ordered an entree and one side to split. Our server felt we really needed the white corn soup and surprised us with it.
He was right, it was a lovely soup to start with. When the next table decided not to get the soup, I said, “Uh oh” and convinced them they needed the soup as well.
The panisse frites are crispy chickpea fritters. They were so delicate and light. A wonderful dish to start with. The grilled calamari was simple, the epitome of a summer meal.
When Carina first went to Frances, she fell in love with the Dungeness crab salad. It was indeed good. I thought the tomatoes were the best I’ve had all summer.
When we received our side of roasted squash, I began to sense a theme. Beans, tomatoes, fresh herbs showing up in the dishes. And though the dishes had the same ingredients, the chef’s deft touch made you think they were all different and unique dishes.
Maybe because we’re generally heavy meat eaters but Carina decided to take a break and go veg. At least for her entree. She had the crepe cannelloni which was stuffed with leeks and beet tops. The cannelloni sat atop a bed of maitake mushrooms. Other than the shrooms being a bit too salty, I loved this dish.
My chicken was so intricate. How did the chef wrap up white and dark meat with the skin? I ate every last bite of it including the polenta.
I then very adamantly declared I was full and that was it.
Guess what? Our server was disappointed in us. More specifically me. I was on vacation. Couldn’t I squeeze in a bite? Okay, just one bite.
3870 17th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114-2030