Thursday, October 5, 2006


Last night I had dinner at Quince, a San Francisco restaurant that has made me fall in love all over again with the experience of eating out. Everything about it was perfect--the room, the staff, the wine list, and most of all the food.

It’s been awhile since I’ve looked at a menu and wanted to order everything on it, and it’s also been a long time since I’ve woken up trying to figure out how I could make a delicious dish from the night before for myself.

The menu is a wonderful take on classic Italian cooking using the amazing ingredients that are available in California in an original and provocative way. For example, I ordered a fritto of striped shrimp, Chelsea oysters & Orchard Farm broccoli which was inspired, I’m sure, by the Italian dish Fritto Misto. Quince has taken this idea to a new level. The local shrimp was the freshest I’ve had outside of Stockholm, and each ingredient was fried in a different batter and had its own unique texture. When I say batter, I’m talking light about a coating that is so light you almost don’t notice that it’s been fried.

Almost every dish at Quince is beautifully simple, usually containing no more than three ingredients, something I look for when I’m eating Italian food. The food is also appropriate to the season. My second course, chestnut gnocchi with red wine braised duck giblets and pumpkin, is a good example, the perfect fall dish. The gnocchi were so light and airy I could not believe what I was eating. The chestnut flour left a lovely aftertaste sort of like of Lapsang Souchang tea, and the braised duck giblets and pumpkin gave you a robust explosion of flavors with a sweet finish.

As soon as I get home I am going to try to make this, and I’m sure it will become a regular on my table in the fall. For my entrée I ordered Guinea hen al mattone with fagioli arrosti, broccoli, and Bianca invernale which again was just amazing. The Guinea hen was cooked perfectly and served on a bed of delicious roasted beans. Unfortunately, I was too full to order any of the cheeses or desserts which all sounded great. Next time!!

Last night I fell in love with Quince, and I know it’s the beginning of a long and delicious relationship.

1701 Octavia
San Francisco, California


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