Ah, Dine About Town. The three little words that never get old.
I was only able to try one restaurant during SF’s DAT this June, so I had to make it count. Luckily my friend Sonia is as crazy about food as I am and brought me to the perfect place: Garcon French Restaurant. Garcon is a little French restaurant located in the eclectic neighborhood of the Mission. I really enjoy walking around the Mission (well, the non-sketch parts anyway) because it’s such a hodgepodge of cultures and shops and backgrounds. It’s really a perfect place for this restaurant.
But in an effort not to bore you with the non-essential details, let me get straight to the food. We both ordered from the $35 DAT prix fixe menu which included an appetizer, main course and dessert. I decided on the Tuna Tartare, Hanger Steak and Creme Brulee while Sonia ordered the Mussels, “Summer Fettuchine” and Beignets with Espresso pot de creme. On top, we also shared the soup of the day, a summer squash soup with herbs and roasted pine nuts.
The soup came first and it was exquisite. The soup was cream-based, but it wasn’t heavy or too creamy. It had a lightness but also a bold summer flavor to it. The herbs added that extra something, and the roasted pine nuts completely topped it off. In fact, Sonia and I both agreed it needed more pine nuts. It gave texture, contrast and depth to the soup.
Next came the appetizers. The Tuna Tartare with fresh horseradish, chives, lemon vinaigrette, fennel seed, and basil-cucumber jus was good, but it wasn’t the best tartare I’ve ever tasted. I think the tuna had sat in the lemon vinaigrette for a little too long and made the fish a little too salty. The horseradish balanced it out a bit, but the tartare was definitely the weakest dish of the night.
The Steamed p.e.i. Mussels with fennel, shallot, lavender, lemon, and pastis-chardonnay broth was a completely different story. It was by far the best dish of the night and we could not stop eating it. First of all, the mussels were perfectly steamed and it still had some of that earthy taste to it. It was cooked in a pot with the fennel, shallots, lavender, lemon and chardonnay broth that was to die for. All those ingredients made for a sweet broth that infused into the mussels with every bite. The broth was so good that we started dipping our bread into it. And when the bread ran out, we started drinking it with our spoon! Really, it’s THAT good. The waiter asked us multiple times if we were done with the dish and we kept saying no until he figured he would just stop asking. With no shame whatsoever, we continued to gulp down the broth.
At this point we were both getting full from devouring the mussels and broth, but alas the main courses arrived and our second stomachs opened up. I ordered the “Steak Frites” marinated & grilled hanger steak with truffle butter, pommes frites, and watercress. The hanger steak was a perfect medium rare and that truffle butter melting over it gave it an extra punch. The sauce was full and sweet while the steak was soft and juicy. It wasn’t the best steak I’ve ever had, but it was delicious indeed. Sonia ordered the “Summer Fettuchine” with squash, mushrooms, sweet peppers, basil, almonds and eggplant-garlic puree. The fettucine wasn’t heavy like the fettucine I’ve tasted in other restaurants. In fact, I could tell the pasta was freshly made and it was prepared a great al dente. I was very impressed.
And then there was dessert. After perusing the dessert menu with our full stomachs, we decided to order the Espresso pot de creme & Beignets and the Vanilla Creme Brulee. The beignets were fluffy and warm, covered with powdered sugar and super delicious. It was even better when combined with the espresso chocolate accompanied on the dish. But to take that extra “I’m a fatty and love food” level, we also put some creme brulee onto it and made the ultimate beignet creme brulee espresso pudding dessert. DE-LI-CIOUS. Although the creme brulee itself wasn’t anything too special or spectacular, the combination of everything together worked very well. The ultimate dessert that resulted in two very very verrrry full foodies.
I’m glad I had such a great DAT experience this year at Garcon. The food was fantastic, the wine was awesome, the service was stellar, the conversation was great and the night was simply amazing. I would 100% recommend checking out Garcon out in the Mission. In fact, make a day out of it. Go and explore the neighborhood, walk into some vintage shops, experience the wildness that is the Mission, and then sit down for a fantastic dinner. Can’t quite beat a day like that.