Fleur de lys is a long-standing French restaurant from Hubert Keller, who also owns Burger Bar and is featured on a PBS television show. They received one Michelin star in 2011. The last time we were here, perhaps 8 years ago, we were very impressed, so we had high expectations.
Why did we dine here? – We were celebrating a special occasion and had not been here in many years. A good enough excuse..
Summary – Fleur de lys is a beautiful restaurant that is clearly quite popular. We were not as impressed this time out. They have gotten commercial and operate on cruise control.
Insider Tip – Make reservations.
Cuisine – French, New American
Chef – Hubert Keller
Location – Downtown San Francisco
Opened – 1975
Decor, Vibe – Fleur de lys features a beautiful canopy room with a large floral centerpiece, and rustic ornaments and paintings on the wall. The restaurant was filled with diners from the older set, with the restaurant almost entirely full at 6:30 PM.
Fleur de lys Menu allows the selection of 3, 4, or 5 courses with optional wine pairing. A vegetarian menu is available. Lots of classic French dishes reside on the menu. The menu changes from time to time.
Signature Dishes – Foie Gras, Fillet, soufflé.
Full image set
Amuse Bouche of quinoa salad and a gazpacho with cream top.
3 kinds of Warm bread from la Boulange
Baekeoffe of foie gras, truffles and fingerling potatoes, duck and seared foie gras “burger” ($8 up charge) was an excellent dish consisting of some foie on top of a sweet strudel pastry, spicy popcorn, and a pastry encrusted mini casserole with beef cheeks and leaks inside. Frankly there was very little foie in this dish, but the results were still fantastic.
Colorful Vegetable Ragout served with poached egg, truffles and truffle pork wine sauce was a beautiful vegetarian appetizer that continued the decadent truffle focus, 62° egg, and a misplaced chewy tomato.
Alaskan halibut, endive, mustard fondue, tomato coriander coulis, basil emulsion, truffled mushroom French toast had some interesting fermented bean sauce on top along with a good brioche, and more decadent truffles. While this was a decent dish, They need to reduce the number of dishes that have truffles and concentrate on other flavors.
Seared Filet Mignon (Additional $12) with a lobster truffled mac & cheese “en brioche” accented with a red wine, shallot, thyme bordelaise sauce was a solid piece of meat, tender, and flavorful, but far too small. This brought back memories of dining at a fine restaurant and ending up hungry. Again, time to go easy on the truffles.
Grand Marnier soufflé (Additional $6) served with orange and cardamom ice cream, orange sauce was simply stellar. A must order dessert.
7 different Petit fours that proved to be excellent
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Maine Scallops, Toasted Pinenuts sliced potato marbles, sundried tomatoes, olive sauce and banyuls reduction was A signature dish that the waiter recommended, while the scallop was fine, the surrounding sauces were far too strong and overwhelming. A scallop we had at 5th floor the week before, was far better.
Coffee rubbed Buffalo steak, with pickled figs, caramelized leeks, espresso, fig red wine sauce, cornbread madeleine was just like the filet, no problems with the meat, just far too little of it. The coffee was far too strong too. We notice the lady next to us received a larger portion than we did. Perhaps they don’t like food bloggers?
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Mojito had a weird type of sweetener, not simple syrup.
Service – Fleur de lys had competent service, with napkin folding, refills, etc. The service was a bit robotic and lacked any warmth. You have to ask for items, rather than the waiter anticipating them. The service for the tables around us was about the same.
Value – Prices are expensive here, making it a special occasion restaurant unless you’re well heeled. Lots of up charges here.
Verdict – Fleur de lys has lost its luster. While the food is very good, this place has become commercialized and hasn’t kept up with the other state-of-the-art restaurants in the city. There are several times where they are pushing the Burger bar book, not a lot of subtlety. The main man, Mr. Keller, was present and roaming about on our visit.