Ame Restaurant in San Francisco’s St. Regis Hotel serves up seasonal New American cuisine, blending of flavors from southern France, northern Italy and especially Japan. No sushi here though. Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani are also chefs and co-owners of Terra Restaurant in St. Helena. They received One Michelin Star in 2010 and have been open since 2006.
Decor, Vibe – Ame Restaurant is in the corner of the hotel on the ground floor and has a L shaped dining room with lots of wood paneling. Layered curtains help tune down the Street view. They have a small sushi bar area in the front. Ame was fairly full on a Sunday night with hotel guests and better dressed middle-aged folks.
Ame Restaurant Menu has major Japanese influences with a section devoted to cold Japanese appetizers, some salads, and large plates. A tasting menu with optional wine pairings is also available.
Their hot homemade bread is excellent.
Lissa’s Staff Meal; Cuttlefish Noodles Tossed with Sea Urchin, Quail Egg, Umami Soy Sauce and Wasabi ($15) is a very complex cold starter dish with excellent but slimy texture, and carefully sliced cuttlefish. The sea urchin imparted a strong flavor to this dish.
“Kaisen” Sashimi Salad with Japanese Cucumber, Hijiki, Tobiko Caviar and Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette ($17.50) a good-sized chunks of fresh Ahmad Chi, scallops, salmon with high-quality fish eggs drizzled on top. Bonito shavings and a light dressing accented this simple dish.
“Chawan-Mushi” Japanese Savory Custard with Lobster, Clams, Eel and Mitsuba Sauce (Please Allow an Extra 15 Minutes for This Preparation) ($17.50) was a beautiful yellow steamed custard with large pieces of seafood. The texture was excellent and the flavor slightly sweet. This dish had a strong Bonito flavor that was okay if you ate just a couple bites, but became a little overwhelming after eating the whole thing. We have eaten this dish at many restaurants, so you can check out our other ChaWan Mushi reviews.
Farmers’ Market Spring vegetable with Burrata Cheese and Bagna Cauda Vinaigrette ($16.50) was a combination cold salad with grilled vegetables and the very nice carving of cheese. The dressing was fairly light and the included olives and cooked persimmon added a nice touch.
Broiled Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in Shiso Broth ($34) is their signature dish. The fish was very tender and cooked perfectly. A sweet accent was imparted in the sauce and the included large dumplings were very good. Would’ve been nice to have some rice to finish off the flavorful broth.
Grilled Whole Maine Lobster with Gai-lan and Sea Urchin Yuzu Brown Butter Sauce ($39) was a good-sized 1.5lb lobster, with mushrooms, split into with all the meat readily accessible. The sea urchin sauce was on the more subtle side, but the many included pieces of Uni imparted a strong reflective flavor when eaten with lobster. They could’ve gone easier with the uni as the lobster was excellent in its own right. This dish also needed a starchy element.
Grilled Quail with Pithivier of Foie Gras, Asparagus and Truffle Sauce ($35) had a large quail that was bone in, tender, and cooked just right. The puff pastry was well done but the strong reduced foie gras inside of it seemed out of place. Fresh asparagus and large pearl onions rounded out the dish.
Parfait of Strawberry with Iced Strawberry Milk with Sesame Honeycomb ($10) was an excellent dessert with smooth ice milk and very fresh strawberries. The bits of the Sesame honeycomb added some crunchiness and some honey tanginess to this refreshing desert.
Ame Restaurant had solid professional service with knowledgeable waiters and never a worry regarding water or bread refills. Prices are pretty high here, no surprise given the location. Food quality and sophistication preparation is high, although not everyone will appreciate their fusiony style. If you love Japanese cuisine and have an imaginative palate, give this place a try. Asian fusion fans should also try The House. Those who prefer more straightforward Japanese cuisine should look elsewhere like Sushi Ran.