Tim Foolery

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Coi – San Francisco

Our Labor Day Weekend trip to Yosemite ended with a final night in San Francisco, before our flight back to Chicago.  I was given a choice of 3 restaurants for our one main meal in San Francisco, and I selected Coi (pronounced kwah – not coy).  This Michelin Two-Star Restaurant is located in the North Beach neighborhood.  The seafood centric menu by newly named chef, Matthew Kirkley was exquisite.  Chef Kirkley and a few other members of his team recently left Chicago for San Francisco and are doing amazing things at Coi.

I wrote a few days about about the geographical error in the wine list – a simple, yet glaringly obvious issue: Burgundy is in France, not Germany.  We all make errors in our work, but something as basic as this really surprises me that it made through the review process.  Perhaps someone went in and intentionally made a change when printing new menus.  How long had this error been present?  How important is an issue like this when the fine folks from Michelin come in to review the restaurant?  That being said, if the worst part of the dinner was a wrong country listed on a wine list, I’d consider that to be a win.

Radish Tartlette - maitre d'hotel butter, fleur de sel

Radish Tartlette – maitre d’hotel butter, fleur de sel.

Radish Tartlette - maitre d'hotel butter, fleur de sel

Radish Tartlette – maitre d’hotel butter, fleur de sel.

Geoduck Claim - bibb lettuce, lardo, buckwheat crepe. Paired with 2006 Tattinger, 'Comtes de Champagne,' Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France.

Geoduck Claim – bibb lettuce, lardo, buckwheat crepe. Paired with 2006 Tattinger, ‘Comtes de Champagne,’ Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France.

Galinette 0 sea lettuce, zucchini, black truffle. Paired with 2014 Aidura, Getariako Txkolina, Basque Country, Spain.

Galinette 0 sea lettuce, zucchini, black truffle. Paired with 2014 Aidura, Getariako Txkolina, Basque Country, Spain.

Galinette 0 sea lettuce, zucchini, black truffle. Paired with 2014 Aidura, Getariako Txkolina, Basque Country, Spain.

Galinette 0 sea lettuce, zucchini, black truffle. Paired with 2014 Aidura, Getariako Txkolina, Basque Country, Spain.

Dungeness Crab - mandarin, crab rouille. Paired with 2015 Keller Reisling, "Trocken,' Rheinhessen, Germany.

Dungeness Crab – mandarin, crab rouille. Paired with 2015 Keller Reisling, “Trocken,’ Rheinhessen, Germany.

Mussel - barbajuan, daylily, cucumber. Paired with 2013 Domaine Didier Dagueneau, 'Pur Sang,' Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, Loire Valley, France.

Mussel – barbajuan, daylily, cucumber. Paired with 2013 Domaine Didier Dagueneau, ‘Pur Sang,’ Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, Loire Valley, France.

 

Turbot - root vegetables, beurre cancalaise. Paired with 2012 Domaine Ostertag, Pinot Gris, Zellberg, Alsace, France.

Turbot – root vegetables, beurre cancalaise. Paired with 2012 Domaine Ostertag, Pinot Gris, Zellberg, Alsace, France.

Maine Lobster - chartreuse, savoy cabbage, red wine. Paired with 2006 Serafin Père et Fils, 'Les Millandes,' Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru, Burgundy, France (or is that Germany?)

Maine Lobster – chartreuse, savoy cabbage, red wine. Paired with 2006 Serafin Père et Fils, ‘Les Millandes,’ Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru, Burgundy, France (or is that Germany?)

Maine Lobster - chartreuse, savoy cabbage, red wine. Paired with 2006 Serafin Père et Fils, 'Les Millandes,' Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru, Burgundy, France (or is that Germany?)

Maine Lobster – chartreuse, savoy cabbage, red wine. Paired with 2006 Serafin Père et Fils, ‘Les Millandes,’ Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru, Burgundy, France (or is that Germany?)

Peach - cherry blossom. Paired with NV Patrick Bottex, 'La Cueille,' Cerdon du Bugey, Savoie, France.

Peach – cherry blossom. Paired with NV Patrick Bottex, ‘La Cueille,’ Cerdon du Bugey, Savoie, France.

Vanilla Cake - raspberry, pistachio, rhubarb. Paired with 2003 Château de Fargues, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France.

Vanilla Cake – raspberry, pistachio, rhubarb. Paired with 2003 Château de Fargues, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France.

Mignardises - coconut macaroon, carrot-mandarin pâté de fruits, matcha white chocolate, yuzu financier.

Mignardises – coconut macaroon, carrot-mandarin pâté de fruits, matcha white chocolate, yuzu financier.

This meal made the list of best dining experiences we’ve had this year.  It wasn’t number one for the year, remember, we went to Lima and ate our way through some of the best places on the continent (more on that later).  For me, the standout dish was the Dungeness Crab.  Being an Oregonian, I have a special place in my heart, er, stomach, for Dungeness Crab.  One of the reasons this course stood out was the juxtaposition of the presentation (which looked fine, but didn’t wow me) and the flavors / textures of the food itself.  My expectations were dropped based on presentation, but my mouth was blown away by the execution.

From a wine perspective, I think the Burgundy served with the Maine Lobster was great.  I am a major fan of, as I call them, dirty Pinot Noirs. I just love the Earthy flavors that come from some of the world’s best Pinots.  Oregon and Burgundy are my favorite regions for this type of wine and the 2006 Serafin Père et Fils, ‘Les Millandes,’ Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru sure fit the bill.

What I also loved about Coi was the service.  When we visited L20, in Chicago (where Chef Kirkley and at least one of Coi’s servers came from), the service was abysmal…at best. We loved, again, the juxtaposition of the highly-elevated fine dining experience, with the gentile and approachable staff.  We quickly built a rapport with the service team and laughed quite a bit together.  After the meal, we sat and chatted, getting additional restaurant recommendations for the following day, and enjoying our wine.

We don’t make it to San Francisco all that often, and Coi isn’t an every day option, but I would very much love to return and experience another menu from this stellar team – if the opportunity should arise, I would definitely considering returning for this same menu again.  I’d have to make sure the same service team was working my table though – they really pulled program together.

Kudos Chef and Team.


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