Kyle lives in Berkeley now. He lives verrrrry close to Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' famous restaurant. Being a hard-core foodie, the restaurant has been on my bucket list for a number of years. Kyle got the foodie gene (and Camille is developing a taste for fine dining as well). I was able to get reservations for dinner so Brett and I took Kyle and Ana there for dinner. It was Kyle's birthday gift and birthday dinner all rolled into one (an exceptionally nice one this year).
There are two seatings for dinner. The menu is set and posted as the week begins. No substitutions, no changes to the menu, no allowances. You come and eat what is served. End of story. We were all okay with that, and waited for the menu to post.
When we picked up Kyle and Ana, she confessed that she was nervous about the fish course. Ana isn't a fish fan but she was game to try it -- and Kyle volunteered to finish that course for her if she didn't like it.
The restaurant is in a narrow house with handful of tables downstairs in the restaurant. A more casual cafe is located upstairs. The lighting is warm, the service superb, and food exquisite.
We started with an aperitif - Perseco infused with rosemary; and goose on a canapé.
The salad was one of my favorite courses -- chicory and mint salad with crispy beets, creme fraiche, and steelhead roe.
The fish course was striped bass with fennel purée, coriander and olio nuovo. Poor Kyle, Ana ate all of her fish, including the crispy skin.
The main course was squab cooked over the open fire, with sage and tangerine sauce, parsnip purée, kabobha squash fritters and watercress. It was to.die.for.
The food and the restaurant lived up to its reputation. Kyle said he didn't want the meal to end, he savored every bite. Brett couldn't stop talking about the parsnip purée -- and Ana couldn't believe how wonderful the fish tasted. Fish! Who would have thought it could be so tasty.