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San Francisco - COI Restaurant

The concept of Coi sounds all righteous and good.

"best ingredients we can find in our area: cultivated plants grown from heirloom seeds; wild-harvested leaves, flowers, barks and roots; local fish, seaweeds and coastal grasses; pastured meat, poultry and eggs from small farmers. These are the flavors of place."

I was sold and went all out to make a reservation on until I got a confirmation and heaved a sigh of relief.

Maybe it was a combination of factors - the recommendation and the anticipation, that made this meal a major disappointment.

I won't go into details too much, but in general, I thought the food might have appeared interesting and pleasant to the eye, some of them did taste pretty decent while some of them just don't make sense. Above all, I could not stand the pretentious wait staff, with their no-smiles-i'm-better-than-you attitude. There was no need to seem so high-handed. I know they are probably nice people outside the restaurant. So the friend and I tried to loosen them up a bit by going a couple notches up the decibel scale.

The restaurant was in a low-ceiling room that made me feel like I was in a upscale cave. All the tables were full (about 24 pax in total) and more than 50% were Asians. Just a note, I don't want to imply anything. So anyway, we got the tasting menu, which was the only menu, at US$125 per pax (excluding tax and tip) without wine pairing. What did we eat?

Coi homemade bread roll
Scented with Coi essential oils (sage, pepper, and some flowers)

Honeymilk in a gel
This was pretty good, like a sweet ikura that popped in the mouth.
Pink Grapefruit
ginger, tarragon, black pepper
There is a dab of essential oil on the right if you notice carefully. the play between smell and taste. but it didn't really work for me. the sorbet was very, very sour.
Asparagus, Raw and Cooked
early season asparagus, flowers and herbs

Inverted Andante Dairy Goat Cheese and Black Olive Tart
Vadovan gastrique, preserved lemon, wild arugula
The play on the concept of tart is pretty innovative. Besides, the black olive "tart" was really thin and crunchy. This dish worked well as there was a harmony between different textures, smells, and flavours.
fennel in different forms
Just wrong. Oysters should be eaten fresh and whole, not minced into a puree and used to mask the taste of abalone which was also diced too small to taste anything.
Sweet, Sour, Salty Bitter
glazed, young carrots, burnt breadcrumbs, almonds, wood sorrel
I liked this one too. The carrots were really sweet and tender so they paired well with both the bitter watercress and the crunchy breadcrumbs that had nutty and smokey flavours.

Earth and Sea
steamed tofu mousseline, yuba, fresh seaweeds, mushroom dashi
Not very interesting though the flavours were light and very comforting.
Nettle-Ricotta Cannelloni
wild mushrooms, oxalis flowers
Again, this tasted good as well. The mushrooms had a really aromatic and meaty texture.
Slow Cooked Farm Egg
slow roasted farro, erbette chard, brown butter parmesan sauce
Very rich dish because of the combination of egg yolk and butter cheese sauce. Because of the farro, the dish turned out to be a loose risotto of sorts. Not in a bad way though but heavy.
Trio (Soyoung Scanlan)
toast, spring lettuces
Goat, sheep and cow's milk in one cheese. Very strong in flavour. Not for the average slice cheese eater.
Caramelized Jasmine Custard
Hazalnut and cocoa textures
Very good dessert - the foam was like thousands of essence of jasmine. The custard just melted in the mouth. The best dessert of my trip (irony!).
Olive Oil Shortcake
strawberry rhubarb, lemon balm, long pepper
LOVED the lemon balm (which is like a concentrated lemon creme that was sweet). This dessert is a close second to the first one. The rhubarb (that cube thing behind) was stewed until soft like beancurd. Yummy.

373 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
+1 415-393-9000


kaexc said…
i need your help to describe if the flavors continue in the order, as i am deciphering their seems very focus on asthestics integrity,but what is their main aim,as individual showpiece or a story in the meal>but very interesting
Derek said…
The dining guide of restaurant in LA. Cover all restaurants in LA, with their menu and price. Best place to find famous restaurants for dinner or lunch today!
snusmum said…
A nice place obviousely!

San Francisco Reservation

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