Sunday, September 12, 2004

Pre Opening Party at "La Suite" French Brasserie, San Francisco

La Suite, 100 Brannan Street at the Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 977-0210.

Famous for housing 'The Slanted Door' prior to it's move to The Ferry Building, the space at 100 Brannan Street, nestled on the perimetre of San Francisco's Embarcadero, has just been launched as a French-style Brasserie by Jocelyn Bulow, partner in Chez Papa and a number of other restaurants in the city.

The decor is classic and traditional with mosaic floors, brown leather banquettes, dark woods, crisp white tablecloths and a steel-topped bar. A nod at modernity can be found in the beautiful ceiling lights each fashioned from four large sandblasted panes of glass that form a rectangular box housing dozens of little sperm-shaped glass droplets.

One addition they have made to the building is an outdoor terrace seating area, separated from the street by a wooden and glass fence. I overheard that they plan to erect wall heaters outside to make the space warmer on colder, foggier evenings.

The place was packed full of friends, neighbours, staff and customers for the pre-opening party on Sunday night. Complimentary drinks were flowing and despite the slight understaffing behind the bar, and a little pushing and prodding in front of it, most people were patient in recognizing the fact they were going to be fed and watered for free.

The kitchen faces part of the restaurant and I was encouraged to see that they had installed a wood-fired oven for baking pizzas. Although they were serving pizza too, I didn't actually get to try any on this occasion.

As well as the oysters which it appears might be a prominent item on the menu, waiting staff spent the evening bringing round trays of beautiful canapes for the guests to savour.

Notable items I tasted included the following:

-A very good, fresh duck pate on toast with a subtle but distinctive thyme seasoning.
-Foie Gras pate on toast.
-Pissaldiere with melt-in-your-mouth onions and anchovy.
-Delicious little warm, flaky, puff-pastry and pesto morsels.
-A citrusy tuna tartare served on a thin, crunchy potato crisp.
-Mini crab cakes with a crispy outside and a juicy, flaky crab inner.

The restaurant opens on Tuesday 14th September and we have reservations for the 15th in order to sample from the full menu. Report to come...

Read my review of my first dinner at La Suite here.
Pre Opening Party at "La Suite" French Brasserie, San Francisco


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