Dine About Town 2010 officially started on Friday, and I took the opportunity to try Grand Cafe in San Francisco’s Hotel Monaco. The Dine About Town dinner menu was $35 for a 3-course menu – a wonderfully great deal for appetizer, main course, and dessert at a french restaurant located in a hotel.
I, being the picky eater I am though, of course decided to stray away from the Dine About Town menu and order from the regular menu. For those who remember, I said I would always order duck breast if it was on the menu, and that was my main reason for straying away from the Dine About Town dinner that did not offer the duck.
Anyway, for my appetizer I ordered the Salade Lyonnaise (frisee, poached eggs, lardons, cherry tomatoes, mustard vinaigrette). I debated between this and the house soup, a butternut squash soup. When I asked the waiter what he recommended, he was very honest in letting me know that the soup did not have cream and therefore was lacking in both flavor and texture. Plus one for service and honesty!
The salad was quite delicious, especially since I’m a big fan of poached eggs. The egg was well prepared – not overdone and runny when I broke it to mix with my salad. The flavors of the mustard vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes, and egg yolk went well together. There were also little bread pieces in the salad that gave it a nice contrast in texture. The only bad thing about the dish was the fact that too much viaigrette congregated at the bottom of the dish, making the salad overwhelming and wet toward the end.
For my main course, I ordered the Canard a L’Orange (Sonoma duck breast, roasted fingerling potatoes, mustard greens, orange duck jus). The duck came out a perfect medium and the orange duck jus sauce gave it a great bold flavor. I was also quite happy that sweet orange slices were included in the dish as it added another texture and flavor that went very well with the duck. I wasn’t a big fan of the mustard greens, but it didn’t ruin the dish either.
I also tried some of the braised beef short ribs that was part of their Dine About Town menu. Although the flavors were there, I found the beef to be a bit dried out a tough still, meaning it wasn’t braised for long enough. The dish wasn’t bad by any means, but it definitely could have been better.
I had quite a wonderful time at Grand Cafe. The service was good and our waiter was very patient despite having to wait for our party to all arrive. The decor was quite classic European, and the dining room was great for group gatherings so friends can sit, enjoy dinner, and catch up. This may not be a restaurant you want to eat at every week since it is on the pricy side, but if you are looking for a venue for a gathering or just want to head out to dinner for a special occasion, by all means give this place a try.