Two Michelin starred restaurant in the one of oddest areas of San Francisco - right next door to a strip club. Coi was a restaurant I had been eager to try for some time, but was hoping to time the menu to get a taste of the infamous Daniel Patterson's slow cooked egg - of course no luck there. Chef Patterson is known for his love of wild ingredients and foraging which is extremely apparent in his tasting menu. At Michelin starred restaurants I prefer to get the tasting menu which I think highlights the strengths of a restaurant and its executive chef. So here goes Coi's 11 course tasting menu..
|Frozen mandarin sour made with Mandarin ice, Kumquat, Angostura bitters|
A palette cleanser of citrus flavors. The ice melted on your tongue instantly once you scooped the shavings into your mouth giving a burst of coolness and citrus tartness. It wakes up your taste buds to prepare you for whats to come.
|Oysters Rockerfeller, California style, Bloomsdale spinach, vegetable mignonette, horseradish|
The true preparation of a oysters Rockerfeller is a oyster in a half shell usually topped with various herbs like parsley then either baked or broiled light to give a cooked top but a raw inside when bitten. Chef Patterson puts a twist on it by wrapping the oyster in a thick gelatin then deconstructing the mignonette and the horseradish. Eaten together it provides a light and delicate balance of taste. A natural progression from the first course.
|"calcots" - new onion, smoke and spice, hazelnut-almond puree|
A calcot refers to a very young spring onion or scallion. Its very popular in Spain. Its usually eaten lightly smoked or bbqed just to enhance the flavor of the young shoot. Again Coi demonstrates a slight twist on the Spanish preparation of this dish. The light smokiness compliments the slightly sweet flavor of the tender onion.
|Early spring - Coi buttermilk, cherry blossoms, First shoot of wild fennel|
This was almost similar to a soup. Very light and delicate. At this time I realized that it was Iwas eating this meals during the spring and Chef Patterson was trying to showcase the delicate flavors of spring in this tasting menu.
|Abalone/Asparagus (raw & cooked) - veal jus, seville orange, mint|
The first dish served that actually had some meat/seafood on it. Everything including this dish the flavors are very light. You have to really focus on each bite to taste the individual flavors and textures. The veal jus did offer a little more depth to the dish by giving it a salty taste component.
|Young carrots roasted in hay - sprouts, radish powder, shaved pecorino|
"Roasted in hay" made me curious about this dish. Yup, hay tastes exactly like it smells. The sweetness of the hay compliments the sweetness of the young carrots.
|Savory wild mushroom porridge - brown butter, garlic confit, wood sorrel|
This is probably the best dish of the tasting menu to me. It was comforting and creamy. Salty with a satisfying feeling. The wild mushrooms and wood sorrel gave a woodsy earthy smell and taste to the dish.
|Steak bernaise (sort of ) - aged Marin farms beef, marrow, herbs|
By this dish I was really craving for something substantial, either in flavor or portion. Not a fan of this dish. The meat had a strange texture - chewy but not like biting into a steak. The steak had a very washed out taste, not satisfying, which is what I was craving for at this point of the meal.
|Salers (Rodolophe Le Meunier) - Wild Arugula, Medjool Date|
When this dish was presented I was thinking, "You cant be serious, that's it?!". I felt like a tiny bunny eating this dish. I often reference this dish as a joke when I see a tiny salad. The tastes were really balanced and nothing over powered each of the items, but I was pretty hungry still. I was pretty angry knowing that cheese course means that the end is soon and there was no obvious winning dish for me yet.
|Lime curd and Meringue with aloe and shiso|
The meringue provided a gentle taste and foamy texture with a hint of pepper from the shiso.
|Cake and ice cream - Carmelized chocolate cake, raw milk ice cream|
Chewy bites with a very light tasting of chocolate. Light scoops of the milk ice cream closed off the meal reminding my palette of the coolness from the ice shavings of the first course.
Verdict: Im not sure if Coi's tasting menu all year round provides such light flavors or if it happened to be my choice of timing in the spring. Don't come here hungry and expecting to be satisfied with a hearty meal. Coi's VERY expensive meal requires a very sophisticated palate that can appreciate the delicate balance of flavors and smells used. If you can appreciate the wild ingredients Chef Patterson displays in this dishes and his in-house techniques for dairy products then you will love this restaurant. I don't think I'll be back for a long time - possibly just for a la carte if the slow cooked egg shows up again on the menu.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Chomp worthy: Nothing.
Pass: see above
Pass: see above
- Awarded two Michelin stars
- Chef Patterson loves to showcase wild ingredients and foraging items in his menu
- Chef Patterson is also co owner of Il Cano Rosso and Plum (Oakland).
- He's also an occasional contributor to Food and Wine Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, and New York Times.