Michelin-starred restaurants are like the Oscars of the foodie world. Secret diners go to top restaurants in top cities numerous times, rating them on not only the meals themselves, but service and consistency as well. Only the best of the best are knighted with a Michelin star (between one and three stars), each year. Most of the time, these restaurants are a little on the pricey side, but they're perfect for a special occasion.
You may remember our incredible 2 Michelin-starred meal at Marea in NYC this fall, and on New Years Eve-Eve we dined at Luce in San Francisco's Intercontinental Hotel. This is the hotel President Obama stays at when he comes to SF! Read on to see how our meal went.
French bread, sourdough, madelines with parmesean, Lagavulin and a whisky smash. I know Lagavulin from Parks & Recreation (one of my favorite tv shows along with The Office and The New Girl), as Ron Swanson's favorite drink.
Compliments of the chef: pomegranate, radish, and lemon powder. I loved this little dish! It was so light with bright flavors, and the mix of textures was so fun (smooth base, snow-like lemon, and crunchy-sweet pomegranates).
This appetizer was the best salmon I've ever had! The king salmon belly (seen poking out from under the fuyu persimmon), was cooked "mi cuit," which means half-cooked in French. This technique uses heat and salt to ensure the fish is not raw, but is served chilled and has a buttery, melt-in-your mouth texture. This was juxtaposed with the crunch of the radish and persimmon, and the mustard seed atop the salmon offered the perfect punch of flavor to the dish.
From left: Halibut (most popular dish), Bass (staff favorite), and Duck.
The local halibut is poached in olive oil, with warm pole bean salad "Nicoise," and topped with potato mousse. This one was on the smaller side compared with the other entrees we got, but it was perfectly cooked - flaky and buttery, no knife needed.
I ordered the duck, which was slowly poached and roasted and came with dinosaur kale (because the leaves are ginormous), lentils "du puy" (French lentils), pickled huckleberries, black trumpets, and hazelnuts. I really liked the white foamy sauce on the side, and the duck was perfectly juicy and packed with flavor. Often when I order duck, even at upscale restaurants, it can be too chewy to the point that your jaw gets tired chewing it. The duck here was cooked just right and not too chewy at all.
The dish was such a fun mix of textures and flavors, from the meat, to the kale and crunchy hazelnuts, and fluffy mousse. The huckleberries had a slight black licorice flavor which I'm not too fond of, but the rest was delicious.
The wild striped bass had this great colorful presentation, and came with butternut squash, baby bok choy, pomegranate, and prawn glace. Everything was so fresh and complemented each other nicely.
For dessert, I ordered the ginger panna cotta, with pears, pomegranate and red wine. This one is great for those who like the ginger flavor, and how pretty is that pink and white presentation? Ginger is great to have at the end of a meal since it aids in digestion.
This is the chocolate and caramelized squash tart, with salted brown butter ice cream on top. This is perfect for chocolate lovers!
The praline tres leches cake comes with huckleberries and coconut. Love the presentation with that swipe of red.
Light and fluffy chocolate chip macaroons, compliments of the chef make the perfect end to an exceptional meal!
All in all, we had a great experience at Luce. The service was great, and the food was impressive in flavor and presentation.
Comment Challenge: Have you been to a Michelin-starred restaurant? What was it like?