OK!!! It's me again, and I'm super excited to offer my responses to La Folie!
First off, let me say that while "chocolatier" might sound crazy elegant, Eclipse is still a start-up (albeit in it's fifth year) and I no where near making a great career yet. While I seldom spurge, when I do I tend to go out and buy some amazing ingredients and prepare them myself. So forgive my response if it sounds glowing, but this was easily the most I ever spent on dinner.
Having said that, this was BY FAR, the greatest dining experience of my life! Thank you so much for everyone who contributed to the discussion about it.
I did call ahead to making reservations (for the front room... thanks to one of you) and told them it was my proposal evening (thank you to another recommendation here), and our server and the chef of La Folie made everything else fall in place FLAWLESSLY. Well, perhaps as close as someone can possibly be.
When we got there (30 minutes early), we had actually even walked all the way from Moscone Center with a 20lb box of stuff from the convention center and a backpack (we decided we would only splurge on a taxi for the ride back). I was embarrassed to ask for a coat check with these, but they pleasantly ignored the inconvenience.
Outside of matters of small personal taste, I feel that the dinner was executed perfectly. Here is what we ordered with comments (we each tried everything!):
Goat Cheese Tatin (was strongly garlic, but fantastically bright in flavors)
Crab with Cauliflower Panna Cotta (highest quality crab Ive ever had, PC was a little too firm and a little too bland, but its a white veggie puree set with gelatin... can it even taste like anything at all?)
Poached Lobster with Ravioli (lobster was steamed until just set, too chewy for Ray, but cooked perfectly in my opinion)
Butterfish with Parsnip Puree (amazing fish! amazing caramelized texture)
Another fish that was a bit like a smoked salmon??? Anyway, its new to the menu and was also very good.
Lamb Rack with something or other. (it was Ray's, so I dont remember what it all encompassed, but it was a fine cut that was perfectly executed)
Lobster Risotto (have I never had risotto before? I cook it all the time, but wow... this had such a superior texture that anything I had made pales in comparison)
Beyond these, the server surprised us with an amuse bouche, starter, palate cleanser after the entree, petit four flight, and champagne as a congratulations! The petit four even had a canele (one of my most favorite french pastries), perfectly miniature and perfectly made.
Now granted, the restaurant knew it was a special occasion, so I can't say how it would have been if we had just walked in from the street, but my experience far exceeded expectations. The chef even came out to thank and congratulate us when we left. After a 25% tip, we left $255 lighter than when we came in... and very satisfied for the price. And he said yes!
Ohhh... such great feedback so far. We're definitely foodies (I type as I slowly work my way to the bottom of a glass of homemade vanilla bean-jasmine vodka over peach sorbet), so the idea of La Folie sounds exciting. Anyone else out there with negative experiences? Money is tight for everyone these days, but I would totally splurge on a five course menu at $90 for each of us. Will be the most I've spent on dinner before, but if now is the not the time to spend, when is? I just don't want to walk away less than impressed for the bucks. I'm vetoing Absinthe (he's been there), Gitane (looks great!, but I'm hoping for more neighborhood), and Frances (from the website I think I'm looking for something more special?). L'Ardoise still seems like a great choice, given the surroundings and what a few of you said about romance.
I guess this means I'm torn between the "extraordinary" with a potential let-down (La Folie) and the "reliable" with an attractive neighborhood setting (L'Ardoise).
I definitely wouldn't say I'm worried about homophobia, I was just hoping to find something in a neighborhood that would have some comfort (for example, my to-be-fiance won't hold hands in the Mission or similar places). RE: romantic? Definitely quiet and cozy would be preferred over a crowded "hot spot".
Funny posting, no? Well, that's pretty much it. I'm owner of a chocolatier in San Diego who is launching his line nationally at the Fancy Food Show this coming weekend. It also happens to be my anniversary week and I plan on proposing to my partner. It will be a very busy weekend, but I hope to steal him away so we can have a romantic meal Saturday night, the day before the show starts.
Specifically, I'm looking for a great little spot anywhere in SF that is cozy and romantic and gay friendly. He used to live in SF 5 years ago, so something "new" would be preferred. I don't know the city as well as he, and we will be traveling about without a car. I don't really have a limit on the budget. Looking for it to be perfect.
Tried to do a quick search, but I really didnt get too far. I'm a sucker for french cuisine, so I have a reservation at L'Ardoise which being so close to the Castro, I assumed would comfortable. But that was pretty much just a stab in the dark. It would be lovely if there were other points of interest within walking distance. We may spend a few hours on foot in whatever neighborhood the restaurant is in.
Ideas? Help a chocolatier out!