Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two Words for the Finest French Food in the Bay Area: La Folie

Legendary La Folie Owner/Chef Roland Passot knows French food and he creates a piece of artwork every time one of his plates hits the table. Fine dining could be wasted on me, because I have a naïve, untrained palate. I can’t often tell the difference between pork and chicken or duck and turkey. I know my barbecue and comfort food, but fancy high-end cuisine is kind of a mystery to me. We only get to eat at places like La Folie for very special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries. So, when I do have a fine dining experience, I’m basically a fish out of water.

We knew almost instantly that La Folie was going to offer a charming complete dining experience. With cotton-candy clouds painted on sky-blue walls, La Folie has an atmosphere that exudes class and luxury. Passot’s passion for French fine dining is evident in every aspect of his restaurant—from the professional service, the extensive Franco-California wine list, the amazing small bites between courses and a wide range of rare vegetarian menu offerings. This is Passot’s dream restaurant and we enjoyed being part of his vision.

We decided to go with La Folie’s 4-course plan ($85 per person) and we were pleasantly surprised and beyond satisfied for everything we ate. Some of the more notable items include La Folie’s Confit of Kurabuta Pork Belly with Boudin Noir, Quince Puree and Pickled Cipolini Onions (I could live on pork belly if I could.); Warm Edam Cheese Souffle with Fromage Blanc Sorbet, Crispy Bacon, White Sesame Tuile (You have to order it right away, because it takes time to prepare this amazing soufflé. My only complaint here is that there wasn’t enough of it.); Niman Ranch Lamb Loin, with Carrot and Medjool Dates, Potatoes “Fondante”, Lamb Shoulder Crepinette (I love my lamb so rare I can feel the pulse and this one fit the bill.); Goat Cheese and Fourme D’Ambert Terrine with Baby Pickled Beets, Toasted Walnuts and Frisee Salad (La Folie loves veggies and this dish proves it.); Dungeness Crab Salad Napoleon on Crispy Pineapple Chips, Grapefruit and Pomegranate Gelee (The Gelee solicited glee!);and Seared Day Boat Scallop with Parsnip Puree, Celery Gratin and Lobster Vanilla Sauce (Everyone does scallops, but they can easily be overcooked. La Folie prepared them perfectly.)

If I’m giving stars, La Folie receives all five and more. When it comes down to the food, this place is adventurous without showing off too much. We had a great first year wedding anniversary meal and although the evening wasn’t cheap, we left La Folie exceedingly happy, pampered and anxious to return for another special occasion in the future.

La Folie
2316 Polk Street
San Francisco, Calif.
(415) 776-5577