Lord Stanley

Dinner – Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lord Stanley is one of San Francisco’s new “service included” restaurants (praise be!). The chef-owners have a solid pedigree from Europe and New York, and have spent some time working locally as well. I’m not quite sure why we were drawn to this place – perhaps the name? (is it the colonial in me?). It certainly was not the new Michelin ratings, although they were released at an opportune moment and raised expectations. We ordered their full tasting menu – here is what we ate:

Smoked trout, compressed sorrel, creme fraiche
As an amuse bouche, cured fish with a creamy element seems to be turning into a fixture at many restaurants. This one had excellent texture.

Compressed squash, house-made ricotta, parsley
Great contrast between the creamy cheese and crunchy veil of squash. But it was the parsley broth, infused with Granny Smith apple vinegar, that stole the show – really beautiful acidity.

Roasted chestnut, crispy hen, celery root
The kitchen has a way with broths – this one, again, was superlative. Light and tangy, a perfect contrast to the earthniess of roasted chestnuts and trumpet mushrooms. The chicken skin was crisp, the meat flavourful – my dish of the night.

Confit foie gras, quince, walnut butter, brioche

Scallop, cabbage, coastal herbs, curry oil
Very well cooked. For the third time tonight, a standout broth. This time, it was a buttery fumet spiked with curry oil – so good with the compressed cabbage and succulent coastal vegetables.

Grilled wagyu, sunchokes, black garlic

Persimmon sorbet, cava

Chocolate ganache, Earl Grey, frozen yogurt

The meal started off very strong for us, but then it kind of coasted to the finish – in particular, neither dessert resonated with me. One Michelin star is slightly generous at this point, especially because the restaurant is only half-a-year old. I suspect the kitchen still needs time to tweak their style, but I can see them hitting the mark.

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