Monday, April 02, 2007
Restaurant Review: Chapeau!
Borrowing the excuse of visiting SF, I researched restaurants in the area. After a brief browsing, I came across Chapeau!, a quaint French restaurant in the Richmond District. I took particular notice to the restaurant because of their early bird special, which is a 3-course meal for $25.50 from 5pm to 6pm on weekdays. We arrived exactly at 5pm, only to find that the staff was still finishing setup. It was a little awkward to find the restaurant in mid preparation but it wasn't long before we were seated and merrily on our way to eating.
The first item was a complimentry cream of cauliflower soup topped with truffle oil. Before being told what it was, I wasn't quite certain what the flavor was. All I could have detected was the strong taste of cream. This was also my first encounter with truffle oil. Truffle oil is suppose embody the same aroma as the highly prized (and not to mention, uber expensive) fungi. Sadly, my pedestrian tastebuds did not react any differently to the gourmet ingredient than it would have to say, canola. But I enjoyed the dish nonetheless, especially with their homemade baguettes!
My first course was the duo of salmon, which was an elegant display of smoked salmon wrapped around cubes of salmon tartare and finally topped with thin potato waffles. The dish was not large but quite filling. Now here is a dish that looks good and delivers in taste! My mom had the mescun salad was also pleasant (though not nearly as fancy looking, in my opinion).
My main entree was bass atop pureed potatoes. Again, the presentation was superb! The portions were also commendable. The fish was rich, flaky and crispy on the edges. The potatoes puree was basically very fine mashed potatoes but the little moat of onion sauce around it reminded you that this was a classier cousin to the American-stick-your-ribs-type counterpart. My dad ordered the pork loin, which I did not try but he commented that it was delicious and generous in size.
Finally for dessert, we had their homemade portiferolles, napoleon with basil sauce and trio of sorbet. The portiferolles were terrific! The homemade pate a chaux contained scoops of vanilla bean gelato from the local Ciao Bella brand. The napoleon was an interesting combination of fresh fruit and an unusually flavored syrup. I enjoyed my order the lemon, pear and raspberry cabernet sorbets very much. My favorite of the three was probably the cabernet, which was heavy on the fruit flavor and only suggestive of the alcohol.
Service was very friendly throughout the entire evening and it's worthwhile to point that the restaurant owner even personally greeted each table. Not long after we walked out the door, he rushed out also to thank us for visiting. Adorable!
Chapeau! is a charming and upscale neighborhood restaurant and I would love to revisit one day.
Rating: 9.8/10 (Fabulous!)
1408 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118