Quince, San Francisco

March 13, 2018

Quince, led by chef Michael Tusk since 2003, was awarded a third Michelin star in 2016. Linda and I went for dinner on February 6, 2018. 

We were seated in the middle of the elegant dining room and asked for the Champagne cart to be wheeled up to our table.

We ordered glasses of Phillipe Glavier “La Grace d’Alphaël,” (zero dosage) Champagne.  It was dry and refreshing with a lovely Champagne flavor.  

Three little canapés were served.
tuna belly;

beef tartare;

potato croquette.

The Prix Fixe Menu of the evening was presented to us. I have used its course titles below. There was a single choice: one could pay a substantial supplement for an upgrade to the caviar course, which we did not.  Unlike in many single menu restaurants, we could see what was coming with details of the main ingredients, which we appreciated. It helped with the wine choices also, as we did not try the pairings.  We ordered a bottle of 2014 Domaine Bernard Bonin Meursault Genevrières. It had the earthy Genevrières characteristics in a mild, elegant way which went well with the cuisine.


The first course was
Blue Crab
sunchoke, bearss lime, bronze fennel

Crabmeat and sunchoke were in a sphere rolled in herbs.

The second course was
Tsar Nicoulai Caviar
fresh run farm pumpkin, smoked eel, sorrel

The wedge of savory pumpkin pie was good, but its flavor was too strong for the caviar from the Sacramento River Delta and the dabs of cream of smoked eel.

Brassica “crudo e cotto”

Various raw and cooked vegetables in the broad cabbage family were served on a tart mayonnaise.

Three breads were served with buffalo milk butter.

Sourdough, white bread with garlic and olive fougasse.

hazelnut, tomme de savoie, perigord truffle

The large, decorative celery root crisp was served on a bed of fondue of Savoy hard cheese. A truffle was shaved alongside it at the table. The various earthy flavors melded well.

Black Cod
ruby beet, savoy cabbage, cauliflower

An excellent chunk of black cod was sandwiched between thin crisps of kale, beet and cabbage. Alongside were kale purée and a cod jus sauce.

lobster, black trumpet mushroom, fresh run farm onion

The large pasta tubes were filled with lobster mousse. Black trumpet mushrooms and chunks of lobster were scattered on top. Excellent.

We were invited to enjoy our next course at a table for two in the kitchen.

Behind us was a plating station.

Opposite was the large cooking area.

As we had finished our Meursault, we were poured a glass of
2015 Kutch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.


Ruby Beet “en croute”
hedgehog mushroom, Bloomsdale spinach

This was excellent. The clear, fresh flavor of the beet, enhanced by the spinach in the middle, was captured by the puff pastry crust.

Liberty Duck
walnut, kishu mandarin, foie gras

A rectangle of duck breast with crispy skin was served with various garnishes and a sauce from small, seedless, Chinese mandarines.  As we were eating the duck, a server came by with a small grill from which she plucked a piece of hot foie gras and put it on our plate.


The chef stopped by our table and we had a good chat, particularly about his travels in the South of France.


mascarpone, espresso, marsala

A classic recipe in an unusual format. 

Pain Perdu
kumquat, marshall farm honey, tahitian vanilla

The French version of French toast has a more custardy texture. Here it was garnished with kumquats, other sweetened fruit and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

The chef sent us a special dessert, a hot chocolate soufflé.

This was made by Yannick Dumonceau, who recently joined Quince as pastry chef after seven years at L’Ambroisie in Paris. The chocolate was rich and dark. 

chocolates, confections

The cart was wheeled up to our table, but the soufflé had finished our appetite so we only chose a few.

I had a passion fruit lollipop, a hazelnut macaron and a praline pastry cream.

Our meal lived up to Quince’s three star rating. The cuisine was successfully varied, always holding our interest. Ingredients were top quality. The service was friendly and efficient. The pace was good. The ambiance was elegant and quiet. The floral arrangement in the middle of the dining room was luxurious.

The unexpected extra touches: the kitchen visit and the conversation with the chef really made the evening special. 

The chef was also by the door to shake hands as we left.
The flowers there were, appropriately, quince blossoms.



One Response to “Quince, San Francisco”

  1. KAREN Says:

    Looks like a really lovely meal!

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