Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

March 30, 2013 8:54 AM

Restaurant: Quince


470 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133
Fax 415-775-8501
(Note: On a recent trip I was able to enjoy meals at seven restaurants: Buckeye Roadhouse, Cliff House, Kokkari, Prospect, Quince, Sauce, and Serpentine. Reports on three of those restaurants are included in this issue. The other four will be covered in the next issue.)

I visited Quince at a previous location in the Spring of 2007. At the time I wrote, “If this is not the single best restaurant at which we have ever eaten, it is certainly in the top two or three.”

While the new location is somewhat fancier than the previous location, and one friend of ours complained that it was too fancy (although the person had not been there), it remains a perfect dining situation.

On this occasion we had dinner with Dick, and Murray joined us for dessert.

The foods are interesting, tasty, and served in creative ways. The service is something beyond impeccable without falling into the trap of over-fawning attention, which can quickly become a distraction.

Debbie started with Nantucket Bay Scallop Crudo – Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Radish and Pantelleria Caper. Dick ordered Zuckerman’s Green Asparagus – Smoked egg yolk, Miner’s Lettuce and Hazelnut. I opted for Smoked Rainbow Trout – Lovage, Pearl Onion and Dill.

For her entrée Debbie went with Fagotelli – Phil Paine’s squab, Red Cabbage and Sunchoke. Dick had Acquerello Carnaroli Risotto – Dungeness Crab, Brussels Sprout and Kaffir Lime. I enjoyed John Dory – Little Gem Lettuce, Black Trumpet Mushroom and Prosecco.

Dessert for Debbie was Pistachio Millefoglie – Honey Comb, Lemon Confit and Sicilian Pistachio Gelato. Dick savored Chocolate Praline – Nocino Ice Cream and Full Belly Farm Walnut.

Murray, who joined us in time for dessert and conversation, chose Selections From the Cheese Cart.

There are two unisex restrooms. Dick, being a regular reader of Washington Watch, reported soon after coming back from the restroom that there was a large and beautiful orchid plant in the restroom. About the unisex bathroom in the previous restaurant I wrote, “The unisex restroom is the narrowest I have ever encountered. It can’t be more than 4 feet wide and about twice as long. Yet even with its diminutive size, it is as elegant as the restaurant of which it is a part.”

The restrooms in the new location are equally as elegant, but somewhat larger. There are two sections of the room, separated by a floor-to-ceiling full wall that comes out about 3 feet from the back wall. To the left is a circular white ceramic washbasin embedded in a marble top, beneath which is a closed storage area. To the right is the white ceramic commode, which has some privacy from the sink. The orchid is located on a dark wooden shelf which is to your left as you sit on the commode. Good friends could be in the restroom at the same time; strangers might find it uncomfortable. The floors are dark and the walls are a white/tan color.

There is valet parking and reservations are a must.

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