Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Frances Restaurant

I made it to Frances. On a Friday evening we decided to head over to Frances restaurant in the Castro to try getting a walk in spot at the bar. We got lucky and even got our choice of seats. We cozied up in the window and hunkered down for what turned about to be a scrumptious, sumptuous, 2.5 hour-long feast.
We ordered their house wine which is cleverly served in a 16 ounce beaker from which the diner can pour as much or as little as they please (not to mention it's $1 an ounce, which is pleasant).
For our starter we went with the chickpea fritters which were accompanied by a tomato aioli. The fritters are rich and the texture unique, but in my opinion, fabulous (think thick polenta). It had a wonderfully light and crispy crust (cornmeal?) with a perfectly smooth interior - the aioli was superfluous.
I am often a salad skeptic, I enjoy them but usually they remain a simple refreshing interlude between the main events. At Frances, I think the salad might have been my favorite dish. A lovely mix of fresh greens with roasted beets, a little bit of citrus and ras el hanout (a traditional North African spice blend). The ras el hanout was interesting but not overpowering creating a FABULOUS dish.
Despite the fact that there were just two of us we decided to go big and had a first course (we didn't want to be gluttonous so we split one between the two of us, of course!).
We ordered the ricotta gnocchi with chanterelles, corn and cherry tomatoes. Another deliciously rich and creamy dish. Basically chanterelles are like my kryptonite and once I see them on a menu I can't help but order them (see below for more of my vice).

As one of our two main dishes we tried the saffron risotto made with carnaroli rice, lobster mushrooms, squash and tomatoes.

Followed by soul food farms chicken with polenta, corn and, you guessed it, chanterelles! I should start by saying the polenta upon which this lucky chicken sat was stellar - melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The chicken was perfectly cooked BUT there was a little bit of stuffing in the chicken (I'm pretty sure it was a stuffing) which was seasoned with tarragon which in this was a bit overwhelming for me and overshadowed the other flavors on the plate.
The food was lovely, but in a way, what was more remarkable was how pleasant the meal was as a whole. The company, the atmosphere, the service, and the leisure with which we were able to enjoy our meal. Thank you, Frances.


  1. Still think you are great at capturing the essence with your photos, enjoy your writing and delighted you liked the company.

  2. Wow, sounds deeelicious! I haven't gone food shopping yet since I got back (four days ago) so could you please send some chickpea fritters? (For me, a[l]ioli is nearly always superfluous... blech.) For my second dish I'll have that saffron rice... woah, that sounds sooo good. Gorgeous photos, as usual! muak!

  3. yum that all looks really delish! i want to go there :)