One of the top restaurants in SF.. Quince is a high end restaurant in San Francisco’s Jackson Square area, near the Financial District run by chef-owner Michael Tusk. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, has cooked extensively in Europe, and used to work at Stars, Oliveto, and Chez Panisse. They serve California cuisine with northern Italian influences as well as Alice Waters inspired freshness. This restaurant focuses on local, organic, seasonal ingredients and moved to the space vacated by Myth, after a six year stint at their cramped location on Pacific Heights. Parking is slightly easier at the new location. Quince received one Michelin star in 2012.
Quince SF has a more casual restaurant next door called Cotogna.
Decor, Vibe – This is a modern elegant, dimly lit romantic restaurant with stylish chandeliers, exposed brick in the back, and high ceilings. Large main dining area with peripheral area in the back, long bar to the side, lounge in front, and a private dining room. Huge 10,000-bottle wine cellar. Clearly this is an special occasion restaurant. The restaurant just moved, so it was full of dressed old customers, foodies, and the well heeled. Most folks were 40+.
They have an ala carte menu, four course menu ($95), and Prix fixe tasting menu ($140). Prix fix menus are for the entire table. Menus can change every couple days. The tasting menu takes from 3 to 4.5 hours, so plan for a long evening.
Mojito ($12) balanced, strong, not too sweet. They know how to make cocktails here.
Amuse bouche round one – Basil madeleine with burrata cheese, pickled strawberry, warm chick pea panisse. Delicate, contrasting flavors and textures.
Amuse bouche round two – English pea veloutte with topped peas and dungeness crab was simply excellent.
King salmon crudo
Jade cucumber, apricot and royal osetra caviar – Equivalent to almost a half order of high quality sashimi, this fresh starter seems to make it on to every California cuisine menu!
Alternate: Freewheelin’ farm fava beans
La quercia prosciutto, pea shoots and lemon verbena ice milk – Very beany, is that a word? A bit dry, one of those dishes that vegetarians are stuck with.
Diver sea scallop gratinata
Cauliflower, green almond and lemon balm – Served in a scallop shell and perfectly cooked. A low key dish flavor wise.
Morel mushroom, vin santo del chianti and wood sorrel – Boy, this dish looked like a xxx. A nice fresh crunchy asparagus with excellent mushroom accompaniment.
Isle of skye blue lobster, squash blossom and nadia eggplant – Wow, this was a fresh pasta with excellent and lightly poached tender lobster.
Four types of homemade bread including an excellent brioche. You can ask for more brioche.
As with the rest of the service, there was never a need to ask for more bread. The selection will be changing in the near future.
Burnt flour “fagotelli”
Heger farm corn, spring onion and leek scape – One of the highlights of the evening. A lovely dish that utilized burnt flour that is a bit bitter, along with some corn silk that was fried. Topped with truffle shavings, this dish was awesome.
Alternate: “Carnaroli risotto”
Porcini mushroom, maine diver scallop, saffron and bone marrow – An excellent risotto with robust flavors that frankly kicked me over the top in terms of fullness.
Sonoma foie gras terrine
Nasturtium, radish, medjool date and lambrusco – The Foie ban is starting soon, so time for more of this awesome dish. Rich, smooth, salted, stellar.
(Supplement 20 per person)
Four story hill farm poularde
Green asparagus, crayfish and chanterelle mushroom with vin jaune – A small piece of very tender hen, decent but not awe inspiring.
Alternate: St. canut farm suckling pig
Green strawberry, spring onion and mustard – A better entree with pig three ways including a thin skinned, crispy version.
Lamb consumme was very strongly flavored and a bit on the salty side. A nice touch, but we would prefer some subtlety.
Watson farm spring lamb
Fennel, fava bean, wild rue and willey farm artichoke – At this point we were down-right stuffed. We took one for the team and sampled this beautiful 3 way lamb and found it flavorful, not gamey, and cooked perfectly.
Artisal Cheese was an option at $16 per person. The cart looked wonderful, but we were at 100% already.
Ginger pearls, cucumber sorbet and lemon verbena – A wonderful palette cleanser that featured a hidden cup underneath with the ginger pearls.
Peanut butter “bavarese”
Chocolate crumble, banana and popcorn ice cream – A large dessert with a sublime texture. Not too sweet and some fun crunchy bits.
Alternate: Szechuan pepper roasted pineapple
Yuzu caramel, macadamia nut and coconut sorbet – Frankly just too sweet.
Mignardise – Fruit gelee, madeleine, macaroon, and more.
Service impressed us. They were constantly circling the room and watching for anyone in need. Definitely a top-notch restaurant service in San Francisco. No need to ask for refills, messy eater spots on table cloths are covered quickly, napkin folding while you are away, the entire gamut is covered. They are gunning for star #2!
Food quality was excellent. Ingredients were fresh and innovative. There were a couple of minor soft notes, but all in all this is a worthy experience and priced reasonably for what you receive.
If you are on a budget, hit the bar for a solid cocktail and some more economical fare. Quince proved to validate Michael Bauer’s glowing review. This is one of the finest restaurants in the City, with quite possibly the best service. The service reminds us of Manresa and the French Laundry. Foodies definitely need to add this to their hit list. The restaurant has improved with age. We had dined in their previous location and in this venue early on.
Quince has an extensive wine selection with glasses from $8, bottles from $30. Specialty cocktails $11.