La Folie is a San Francisco institution. An old school, fine dining, all-the-bells-and-whistles affair. I’d booked a table for two for Nishan’s birthday a few months ago, with fair notice from friends that La Folie’s multi-course menus are a decadent experience.
I was not prepared.
Internet, I have never eaten so much decadence in one meal. We chose the five-course menu (big mistake: the kitchen at La Folie sends out amuse bouches in between each course) and found ourselves capping out by the third plate. But it was all delicious. Delicious, delicious decadence.
Our first amuse bouche to arrive was the spring panna cotta. This tasted faintly of English peas and and was smooth and cleansing to the palate.
Next came the truffled egg amuse bouche. This was among my favorite tastes of the evening: velvety liquid egg infused with truffles, served in a delicate eggshell and topped with a potato crisp, served alongside a piece of toast to soak up the truffley goodness.
Our third amuse bouche was the smoke salmon lollipop, served with pickled vegetables. So cute and playful, and tasty to boot.
Finally, four plates in, my first course arrived: the dungeness crab salad. A generous hunk of crabmeat was served atop English pea panna cotta with a yellow curry tuile and curried crab vinaigrette. Absolutely delicious, and I appreciated that the curry flavor wasn’t so strong as to overpower the panna cotta.
Our extravaganza of decadence continued with a tempura duck egg, which is exactly what it sounds like: a huge duck egg, coated and fried in tempura batter. This was served on top of a sweetbreads pancake and almond pesto alongside wild mushroom salad and truffle vinaigrette. This dish was beautiful, and while tasty, it was among my least favorites of the evening. More truffle flavor, please!
Next came one of my favorite dishes of the meal: butter poached lobster. This was plated on top of wild nettle ravioli and truffle beurre fondue, wild argula salad, and almonds. I wasn’t expecting such a giant, succulent piece of lobster. And the ravioli? So velvety good.
My next dish (yeah, seriously) was the roti of quail and squab. This was such a creative dish, and I wish I wasn’t so full that I couldn’t eat most of it. Stuffed with wild mushrooms and wrapped in crispy potato strings with truffled jus, this wasn’t a roti in the traditional sense. Still, it tasted incredible.
Are you still with me? Good, because here come the sweets. We tasted a palate-cleansing sorbet and foam amuse bouche, which was thankfully small enough to finish eating. I was grateful for foam and you know, not a giant steak.
Our millionth dish of the evening was the petit fours. We couldn’t finish this, but I did happily nibble at the miniature cannelles. I love cannelles!
My last dish of the evening was the sorbet and berry cake, which I don’t remember much, probably because I was about to black out from overindulgence.
Insane gluttony aside, La Folie remains one of my most memorable meals to date. The service is impeccable, the food outstanding and unique, and the ambience a glamorous throwback to old San Francisco with a heavy touch of Paris. Decadent indeed, and in the best way imaginable.