SF: 5 Reasons Coi Will Render You Speechless

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Daniel Patterson could not have picked a more apropos name when he opened his venerable San Francisco restaurant Coi in 2006. Pronounced ‘kwa,’ the moniker‘s French to English translation is ‘speechless,’ and that is exactly the state in which many diners have found themselves after enjoying a stunning meal at this haute jewel of tranquility and artful gastronomy.

Though still under the umbrella of the Daniel Patterson Group (DPG), the two-Michelin starred Coi recently became new executive chef Matthew Kirkley’s baby. Formerly of L20 in Chicago (also with two Michelin stars), Kirkley brings to Coi a similar culinary aesthetic to that of Patterson, but with his own twist. While Patterson’s dishes focused heavily on vegetables, Kirkley is creating a shrine to ‘modern seafood’ where the translation of the restaurant’s name continues to reflect diners’ awestruck experiences. Here are five reasons a meal at Coi might leave you slightly tongue-tied:

1 More Than a Meal

Secure your reservation, and settle-in for the evening. This is not a dinner-before-the show type of meal; this is both dinner AND the show. Fluid and relaxed, Coi’s service and ambiance are unhurried. The zen-like interior with its low lighting, upholstered banquettes, and dulcet tones, resembles a luxe spa. And the experience is equally as pampering. The professional and unobtrusive staff ensure that your evening is serene and memorable.

2 Art as Food

A meal at Coi is as visually intoxicating as it is delicious, and is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. From the artful ceramics, to the colorful winter vegetable “scales” on your serving of turbot, to the final nesting box table display of mignardises at meal’s end, this is a feast for all of the senses. Each dish is more beautifully creative than the next, such as the ribbon candy-esque “Fish Ribbons” – lobster roe served with lobster broth, or the small bites of ocean trout served with spheres of lemon confit mousse, Chartreuse powder, and tiny lattice cut potato crisps.

3 Etrog?

Within twelve courses, Kirkley is likely to stump you with an obscure ingredient or two. Or he’ll combine flavors you’ve never considered such as bone-marrow custard, tender abalone, and shaved black truffles. These taste discoveries are fun, and you’ll feel like you’ve learned something new. How often does a meal so superbly and deliciously expand your culinary horizons? (Etrog, btw, is a large pulpy and pithy Israeli citrus that bears little ‘meat,’ but from which Kirkley has extracted delicious morsels and paired with Oscetra caviar.)

4 For Dessert Lovers

Of the 12 courses, four satiate your sweet tooth, but don’t worry, portions are appropriately sized for full consumption. Pastry chef Nick Muncy, a 2014 Zagat’s 30 Under 30 designee, presents grapefruit with pastis and black pepper, coconut cannoli with rhubarb and hibiscus, almond cake with caramel, candied preserved lemon and Amaretto, and finally, a selection of small treats such as matcha white chocolate, and beet-blood orange pâte de fruits, placed before you like fine jewels displayed upon black velvet.

5 Wine Pairings

If treating yourself to Coi, go all the way and indulge in the wine pairings. Mark Mendoza, wine director for DPG, has built a list featuring many delicious and delicate pours from Burgundy, Germany, Austria, the Rhone Valley, and Bordeaux. He also features biodynamic and organic wines from neighboring California producers. Every sip enhances every bite. It’s all simply too delicious for words.
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