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QUINCE- SAN FRANSISCO

In a restored building dating from the early 1900’s, Quince’s decor exudes modern glamour with old world charm.  The lounge in the front bar is the perfect place to welcome guests for an aperitif.  The dining room is expansive and tables are well spaced.   A large venetian chandelier is the crowning center piece of the main dining room, with high ceilings that have visible earthquake beams, and a back wall of exposed brick.  The Chef’s Tasting Menu was both a visual and delectable masterpiece.  Each course was presented one after the other with precision and beauty like a well orchestrated ballet.  The prelude for the dinner began with a variety of dainty canapes such as a black olive financier with mascarpone cheese and a nori crisp topped with sweet persimmon paste. I liked the subtleness of the truffle tart.  For the first course, the pairing of wild salmon and roasted beets was imaginative and pleasing.  The second course of dayboat scallops were seared to perfection with brown butter and burgundy truffle.  Truly delectable!  Next came the maya prawns served on a tiny kimchee pancake and flavored with kimchee butter.  I am not a huge fan of kimchee, but the taste was not overpowering.  The fourth course was a duck confit and black truffle Agnolotti with maine mussels in a tomato compote.  The flavors of the duck paired nicely with the black truffle and the compote was infused with lemon, capers, and parsley.  The swordfish presented on a bed of parsley puree and toasted quinoa, had a slight tomato flavor.  The last savory course was a delicious arctic char with black trumpet mushrooms.  The dessert offered was not heavy or overly ambitious.  The baked pear surrounded by a chocolate sauce satisfied the sweet tooth without pushing us over the edge.  The grand finale was a picturesque tower presentation of one bite treats like a dark chocolate truffle, a canneles de Bordeaux, coconut macaron, lemon bar, and Paris Brest.  I liked the little touch of sending each guest home with a piece of freshly baked raisin bread.  Chef Michael Tusk takes French and Italian cuisine and uses inspiration from the best ingredients Northern California has to offer.  The result is a four star experience of dramatic good taste and artistic flair.  $$$$.  470 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA  94133.  (415) 775-8500.

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