La Folie (the madness in French) is a long-running classic French Restaurant located in San Francisco’s Russian Hill. It opened in 1988 and earned one Michelin Star. Chef owner Roland Passot and wife, run La Folie, while Jesse Klaskey is the Executive Sous Chef. Mr. Passot can be found cooking in the kitchen and later out greeting patrons with a glass of wine in hand.
Decor, Vibe – La Folie has a small but luxurious high ceiling-ed dining room with a burgundy decor, long banquette seating, and a lower key lounge next door. Many well dressed couples out for special occasions as well as some bigger parties.
La Folie Menu
La Folie’s ever changing Menu has 3 to 5 course options, with several choices available in each class. Separate Vegetable Lover’s menu. Optional wine pairings.
Signature Dishes – Foie Gras, roti of quail and squab, Souffle, lobster salad
La Folie Picks:
Mojito ($12) was good, minty, and strong but didn’t have any mint leaves in a cocktail.
Amuse Bouche – Warm beef broth with shrimp noodle, mint, cucumber, and bergamot had a subdued brothy flavor along with a short noodle.
Amuse Bouche #2 – Classic Creamy Poached Egg in an egg shell with toasted brioche was delicious and very rich. The toasted brioche’s crunchy texture made it perfect for dipping into the egg.
Amuse Bouche #2 Alternate – Chilled Pea Soup with sweet onion sorbet, bacon bites had strong pea flavors and a hint of cilantro.
Warm mini French bread baguette is served.
Brentwood Farms Corn soup with crispy sweetbreads, lobster mousse stuffed squash blossoms ($15 Supplement – Southern France Black Truffles) was a decadent sweet and creamy soup extended even further with the rich and generously table shaved fragrant truffles.
Frog Legs “Bernard Loiseau” Garlic puree and parsley coulis was a beautiful dish with five small but fresh frog legs. A light flan was in the center.
Sauteed Burgundy Snails in Pernod Lemon Butter, parsley, bone Marrow gratin had good sized snails hidden inside a veal bone. You dig through the green crust in your quest for these little guys.
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Carmelized Peaches and a Spiced Peach Consumme ($10.00 supplement) was simply excellent. A huge piece of perfectly cooked foie on top of the tasty peach. The consumme was stellar, possessing strong peach flavors, making it a perfect accent to the rich foie gras. Bread was still necessary to maximize utility.
Butter Poached Lobster on English Pea ravioli with Truffled Beurre Fondue, pea puree, and Marcona Almond Salad – another beautiful dish with a poached small lobster tail sandwiched into the greens. Definitely not as good as French laundry’s, but good enough in San Francisco.
Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Minute ratatouille, Jus de Boullabaisse, Summer vegetables was the only clinker of the night. This dish was cooked well but came out really bland and just didn’t work.
Trio of Devil’s Gulch Rabbit (Loin butterflied stuffed with spinach, carrot, garlic and rolled up. Small Rack of Rabbit. Slowly Braised Leg stuffed with wild mushrooms) with Spring Vegetables and Natural Jus was a stellar, beautiful, and pretty meaty entrée. The rabit rolls had a nice balance of meat and vegetable, while the other parts of the rabbit highlighted the delicateness of the meat.
Roti of Quail and Squab, Boneless breast of squab stuffed with Mushrooms and wrapped in Crispy Potato Strings, Crispy Quail legs, and Natural Jus with Black Truffles, Potato basket with foie gras, seasonal vegetables was also an excellent entrée and very filling. A masterfully concocted combination that highlighted the tender squab and Quail meat. We had to bring some of his home and found it even better next day, as the potato became crispier.
Roasted Emigh Farms Lamb Rack with black olive sauce, Flageolet Beans and Chorizo, Taggiasca Olive Lamb Jus, Eggplant puree had two good sized tender lamb ribs cooked to a perfect medium rare. No gaminess, meaty legumes, and a weird savory sauce underneath the blueberries.
Palatte Cleaner – Melon Soda with pearls was refreshing and helped wash away savory flavors.
Valhrona Bittersweet Chocolate and Double Passion Fruit Bombe with chocolate and passion fruit mousee and a dark chocolate ganache coating, Chocolate Nougatine Tulie and Coconut Sorbet was a good sized dessert with a strong tropical element that contrasted against the dark chocolate.
Warm Edam Cheese Souffle with Fromage Blanc Sorbet, powered sugar and Crispy Bacon on top, White Sesame Tuile was a tiny savory/sweet soufflé with a little bit of cheese flavor and some slightly ‘cheesy’ sorbet.
Valhrona Chocolate Bread Pudding with Champagne Sabayon on top, Strawberry Ice Cream was a very good dessert that featured warm and runny chocolate oozing from the bread pudding.
Petit Fours – Chocolate plantain, Canele de bourdeaux, Madeleines with brandied cherries, Apricot Pate de Fruit. All bite sized delights with robust flavor.
Service – La Folie had very good service with no worries about water, ordering, and the like. Not choreographed like Gary Danko.
Value – We filled up even when ordering La Folie’s 3 course menu. With Amuse Bouches, Petit Fours, etc, there is no need to over order even though there are so many tempting dishes.
Verdict – La Folie serves up excellent French food in an elegant atmosphere, no wonder they have been around for over 20 years.
Meals last 2 to 3 hours and you have the table for the evening. 4% Healthy San Francisco surcharge. Franco-California wine list with glasses from $10, bottles from $34. $35 corkage. La Folie Lounge next door with cocktails and some small food bites. You could also order a regular menu item and they will serve it in the Lounge. Free Birthday coupon for glass of champagne on your next visit.