SF: Return to Frances
Ever since I went to Frances a year ago, I’ve been dying to go back. I tried to go in January but couldn’t secure reservations (this was 3 weeks out– and the first available was two months later) then I tried to walk in and it was well over an hour wait for the bar. Frances is definitely a top restaurant.** So this trip I made sure we had a reservation. As it turned out it was nearly the 1-year anniversary of my first meal there. Let’s hear a collective “awww.”
We began our meal with a couple of carafes of wine. Frances charges by the ounce for house wine ($1/ounce). A carafe would run you about $8. It’s a crazy deal and I haven’t come across anything like it anywhere else. We also ordered a couple of the bouchees; the panisse frites and the bacon beignets right away. Ever since I had Frances’ panisse frites, I’ve been spoiled for anyone else’s. I’ve had some at other restaurants that seem way too heavy or were over zealous in their portions. The dainty, airy panisse frites at Frances are perfect.
A secret off the menu item are the fried chicken wings. Since Frances breaks down their own chickens, they make fried chicken wings for guests in the know. Really great flavor, non-greasy and hardly needed the dipping sauce.
Frances also sent out their fried squash blossoms and albondigas. My table went crazy for the albondigas. Really nice flavor and everyone was in such a good mood.
Then we ordered appetizers. Yeah, I know…THEN WE ORDERED APPETIZERS. My only defense was I was on vacation and at one of my fave SF restaurants. I got the lovely corn soup which I swear was even better than last year. Loved the lime-scented sea salt in it. We also shared the fried green tomatoes. The Dapper Diner ordered another secret off-the-menu item- the chicken liver mousse. Carina had the trottoloni pasta. I loved this pasta! Such a fun shape.
Throughout the night we saw plates of pork whizzing by. The pork chop was plated standing on its side. It was irresistible and I had to order it. In my haste to try to quickly take pictures of everything so I could start eating, I forgot to take a picture of it. However, luckily The Dapper Diner took a few pics. Pictured above is the pork chop. They gave us such massive chops (24 ozs!) that they couldn’t plate them standing up. I think we also got a whole grilled peach each along with polenta! He ate everything, I tried my best.
The salmon and the steak were pretty nifty contenders for great meals but pork reigned supreme this evening. I really enjoyed the mushrooms in the salmon dish and the steak was cooked perfectly.
We probably didn’t need the sides but what the hell, we were ordering practically the whole menu anyway. Loved them both but I favored the squash. It’s such a classic dish with basil, tomato and roasted garlic.
I need to turn in my foodie card. I didn’t want dessert after this enormous meal. But the others did and I had a couple of bites. The boozy affogato would the way to go if I had to pick a dessert although I really love spice cakes and the lumberjack cake was great. For those who want simple desserts, you can’t go wrong with the panna cotta.
Frances, until we meet again! Maybe it’ll be a yearly thing.
** oh yeah, it was SF Chefs week and there was a well-respected chef ensconced at the corner window table with his group. We tried not to ogle. Really, we tried.
3870 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114-2030 – (415) 621-3870