25 January, 2010

Fifth Floor, San Franciso - Review of DineAbout Town Experience

Visa DineAbout season is a time when you can sample a bunch of restaurants with little risk as they offer either lunch (2 courses) of dinner (3 courses) for $17.95 and $34.95 respectively.  You can choose and reserve your spots via Open Table, which for me sometimes feels like a mission critical application.  Sure, some restaurants phone it in and offer you weird chicken/pasta but some really make the effort to introduce you to their location.  In the case of Fifth Floor, Xandria and I braved the sub arctic gales to make a dreary Monday reservation and were we ever glad we did.  Not only was the service excellent and the food delish, but they offered a thoughtful and insightful pairing to the food that introduced us to two delightful wines.

We started with an amuse of foie and shaved apples, which was delivered with a red Spanish wine of aromatic delight.  It's rare to get a Mencia and this one, Pazo de Arribi Mencia, Galicia, Spain was bright red, with flavors of spice, red fruit and was a nice match for the lamb salad.  Next, came perfect scallops in a maze of whole porcini mushrooms and a section of perfectly poached pear.  These were swathed in a cabernet sauce in which foie gras perched like Jiminy Cricket, just out of reach but omnipresent.  Matched with a fabulous 2007 Cep (the second label from Peay Vineyards) Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir which was a delightful glass redolent with cherries, red currant, cherry bark, baking spice and just a hint of forest floor to lock in the pair with the porcinis.  Yum! 

By, now our inhibitions were gone, what with the ooohing and ahhhings ,and we started photographing with wild abandon.  Chocolate tart with fried banana garnish and a quenelle of potently banana-y ice cream.  Paired with a lovely Broadbent 10 yr old Malmsey?  Delicious way to end a meal. And for a final touch? Mignardises of surpassing delight.  I am ashamed to say I scarfed down the Ladouret-like macaroon so fast, our sever brought Xandria a steak knife to divide the rest (or fend me off.  who really knows?).  Can you blame me?  Fifth Floor is located in the Palomar Hotel on (where else?) the Fifth floor, but the patient front desk folks will direct you as cheerfully as the first person wha asked them that evening.   They also offer a five course menu for $65 with a booze pairing (might include wine, beer or spirits) for additional $50. I so want to try this before seasonality removes the pork belly offering!

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