Ok, since I haven’t been posting lately for a while – I’ve decided tonight is the night that I go crazy with posting. Warning this post will be very long as I need to go into the details of my fantastic experience at the Ritz-Calton. So Pandabear decided to book the Ritz-Carlton at San Francisco online, he was raving about it to me how this chef Ron Siegel who defeated the reigning Iron Chef champion Hiroyuki Sakai on national television in 1998. We were so excited, but weren’t sure whether Ron will be working that night.
Anyways, it was with great difficulty that Pandabear and I worked up a sweat walking from our hotel to the restaurant up the hills. In San Francisco it’s pretty hilly, but nevermind cos we worked up a appetite. We arrived there at the hotel, it was lovely – nicely decorated, fancy paintings, the waiters were friendly – no waitresses all waiters who took my coat away. We got seated down and the wine sommelier came to us to offer some wine and champagne now you know it’s a fancy restaurant when they have their own wine sommeliers 🙂 Anyways, Pandabear and I are not alcoholic drinkers but we thought well, why not just 1 glass. So we both ordered some rose and white sparkling it was yummy.
Then the waiter bought out some complimentary two tiny dumpling shaped pastry – apparently it was chicken, the waiter described it but I couldn’t couldn’t the exact name. It was warm, crispy and tasty – I would have wanted more if I had my way. So we were staring at the menu, there’s an option of 2 courses with dessert for US$74 per person or the option of having the Chef’s tasting menu which consisted of 7 mini courses followed by Chef’s dessert selection of US$125 per person. Now Pandabear and me started at the menu and decided we will opt for the tasting menu that way we get to try a bit of everything 🙂
There was an Asian waiter who came around serving us olive bread and french bread – the olive bread was warm, crusty and full of olives – I absolutely loved it and ate 2 of those (which I later on regret, as I was starting to fill my stomach already when the courses haven’t even started)
Now, I asked the waiter whether Ron was working tonight and to my delight he was! Yay maybe I could meet him later on (wishful thinking) So our first course came – it looked like a single pan fried prawn on a green rectangular shape of jelly. I was whispering to Pandabear man if all the dishes are all like this portion, I’m certainly going to be hungry still. So we looked at our menu, there’s no cooked prawns mentioned but it was delicious – I wanted more of it!! The prawns were tender, full of flavour and the green jelly thingy was sweet but not overpowering. Both Pandabear and I enjoyed this single prawn.
2nd course was the Sashimi of live spot prawns – it consisted of tuna sashimi, wasabi – which the waiter came and grounded fresh on a shark’s skin board (me very impressed), ryubi konbu, ponzu gelee with soya sauce. I don’t usually like raw stuff but this sashimi was amazing so fresh and tasty 🙂
3rd course was the Quail egg with some caviar, now we couldn’t locate this dish on our menu. The waiter brought out this awesome genie in a lamp shaped glass wrapped around with clean film and the quail egg with caviar sitting on top. The waiter said if you tap it smoke will come out from the hole. I was like what?? Didn’t understand what he was on about so he showed us by tapping the end bits of the clean film with a spoon and wow there it is smoke coming out of it – fantastic idea and effect I was very entertained.
4th course was Abalone – which was complimented with shiitake mushrooms, spinach and dashi broth. The abalone was perfectly cooked and it went really well with the shiitake mushrooms. I want more abalones cos they were so tasty!!
5th course was Ocean Trout – big fin quid, carrot ravioli and black truffle sauce. Pandabear must have too much of his sparkling and went to the toilet for a long long time. The waiter brought out our next course and they saw Pandabear not at the table and grabbed two metal round dome lid and cover it to keep it warm – how thoughtful and when Pandabear arrived finally, they served the course. This course is one of my favourite – it was fantastic the ocean trout was perfectly cooked, I loved the carrot ravioli – the filling was fantastic! The black truffle sauce just topped it!
6th course was Lobster – served with local asparagus, hearts of palm, tonka bean and lobster sauce. I’m not usually a lobster person after the fish monger experience of rubber lobsters, but this lobster was fresh, juicy and tender and it tasted like a large version of prawns 🙂 I loved it…
Okies, I was starting to get really full from these mini courses – yes me getting full that never happens ha! So I thought well, surely it must be coming to an end?? So I thought.. next 7th course was Hot Foie Gras – served with spiced buckleberry compote, brioche, pineapple reduction with longpepper. Now I’ve never tasted Foie Gras in my whole life and only come across it on Iron Chef show. I knew it was an expensive ingredient. After tasting it, I was rather disappointed, why? It was oily and fatty, the buckleberry sweet served with savoury Foie Gras was unusual for my liking but then again I’ve never tasted Foie Gras maybe it’s usually served with sweet with a tinge of sour pineapple sauce.
Our 8th course was Quail – which was served with red onion marmalade, brown rice, 7 spice, and blood orange glaze. The quail was tasty full of flavour and I loved the red onion marmalade with brown rice – yum yum
Now my tummy was approaching the maximum stage, the 9th course was Kobe beef served with chanterelle mushrooms, roasted potatoes, sancho pepper reduction. The kobe beef was tender and tasty and I loved the chanterelle mushrooms it goes so well with the roasted potatoes. This dish was served at a decent size compared to the other courses.
Now I was absolutely full and well satisfied with all the courses, I had to quickly ask the waiter if that was the last course cos I just can’t fit any more courses into my fat tummy. I’m so glad he said YES! But there’s the chef’s dessert selection to come…I wonder what it’s going to be, I hope it’s not too heavy cos I can’t fit it in. Now the waiter brought it a small serving of home made mango sorbet with some strawberry crushed ice..cool I’m sure I can fit this in. It was refreshing and a nice ending to the whole meal.
Not so long after the waiter brought out more dessert, I was like what? There’s more – but I was so amazed with it’s whole selection of dessert – there were creme brulee, round cinammon donuts, chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, coffee/chocolate icecream. I agree with the statement there’s always a separate stomach for dessert. I ended up finishing the whole dessert 🙂
As the waiter came clearing the table I realised that another table got some sort of dessert from the trolley – I was rather curious so I asked the waiter what’s that trolley? He replied it’s the pastry chef’s dessert trolley, I squealed pastry chef’s dessert trolley, can I have a look? Yeah, of course I was just about to wheel it to you. So he wheeled the amazing pastry chef’s dessert trolley and asked me which dessert would you like to try? Me being greedy a little of everything. So the waiter gave me a bit of everything!! I couldn’t believe it…
Ok, I better end now – but before I end I asked the waiter pushing my luck and making Pandabear embarrassed asked whether I could meet the chef – Ron and to my surprise he said yes!! Hooray!! I get to meet this chef who made awesome food. I can understand why he beat the Iron chef. I was so nervous when he walked out to the dining area he gave me a hand shake and we took pictures together. He was such a down to earth guy smiling and chatting with us and even gave us a kitchen tour. I jokingly asked him so when are you opening your own restaurant he replied without any hesitation ‘when are you giving me the money??’ hehehe great reply.
Here’s my rating:
Food experience: 4.9 star – I never give perfect mark there’s always room for improvement. 0.1 mark deduction is from the foie gras dish hehehe
Dining experience: 4.9 star – immaculate service – except the Asian dude served me too many olives bread he keeps coming back to ask me whether I want more??
Would I recommend it? Absolutely mighty YES!!
I had a wonderful experience and if I had the money I would definitely invest in your restaurant Ron!! He even signed a copy of his food menu for me to take home to drool on hehehe