Last night, Chris and I went with my sister A- to Chapeau! in the Outer Richmond. For a restaurant with this quality of ingredients, it was an amazing value (4 course menu for $45/person with wines starting at $15/bottle). The Yelp reviews imply that there may even be a special happy hour pricing. They are better than many places I've been to that have Michelin stars.
Also, they put out a hat with the check in it ^_^
Amusé: Asparagus soup with a tall cylindrical cracker. We all liked this, even though I don't particularly like asparagus.
Avani: Foie gras with apples. There were 3 large pieces of foie over a small piece of bread. The sprouts in the corner had a lot of flavor in them and went amazingly well with the foie and apples. I could eat that all day every day for the rest of my life.
Chris: Escargot. This was also delicious: the escargot came speared on rosemary!. It also had a humungous, surprisingly good head of garlic on the plate.
A-: Smoked salmon surrounding a salmon mousse and speckled with bits of salmon caviar. Delicious. It's a good sign when that was my least favorite of the first course dishes.
Course 2: Mussels with a flavored mayo-based dipping sauce and french fries: The mussels were fantastically, perfectly cooked, and very likely the best I've ever had. I thought the french fries were forgettable, but A- really liked them.
Avani: Duck breast with grapes and pears. Mmm. The grapes and pears were stewed in what looked like a sweet red wine sauce. There was also spectacular, creamy, not at all grainy polenta. The duck was delicious, though not extraordinary.
Chris: Duck confit, cassoulet sausage. I liked the skin on the duck here a lot: it was crusted with herbs while being thin and not too fatty. So tasty. The sausage was fine, as was the white-bean broth everything was in. A- liked the bean stuff much more than Chris and I did.
A-: Salmon with herbs and peas. Yum. A little blander than the other two and very heavy. I could still eat it all day and be happy :)
Avani: Warm chocolate cake with raisin ice cream: The chocolate cake was warm and gooey in the middle, but the sides held up even once I started eating. I liked the ice cream with it, though Chris didn't.
Chris: Apple torte with caramel-y ice cream and delicious caramel goop. This was probably my favorite dessert here, and reminded me of the wonderful torte I had at the now defunct Le Chiminee in Palo Alto.
A-: Creme bruleé. Another one that I liked even though I typically don't like this dish. Even the cream was delicious.
The biggest downside was that they were very slow. We got there for a 7:45 reservation and didn't make it out until after 10:30, which resulted in us being a half hour late to Watchmen. They are also a little on the loud side.
I'm certainly up for coming back here. It is great to be able to think of a place that serves foie gras and is still borderline affordable.