Back in September, I had the joy of visiting San Francisco for the second time in my life. A good friend from grad school lives in the area, so she picked out a cute little spot to meet up and eat some food, Chouchou French Bistro in the Forest Hill neighborhood of the city. Just a slip of a restaurant, Chouchou was set up with romantic mood lighting and a live music duet in the corner of the restaurant. It was a slightly chilly evening in SF, and a fog was rolling over the hill the little bistro sat atop of. If you are anything like me, you know this is the perfect get chunky weather, so I had to go for my favorite starter of all time, a mother-freaking delicious bowl of French onion soup, covered in gooey, melty and slightly crisp Swiss cheese. Ain’t no messing around here, cuz when that winter chunk hits, you just gotta ride it each cheese-filled bite at a time. That’s just how I roll, you know. One of my dining mates (and a fellow gastronome!) chose the salad gourmande, a green salad served with a poached egg, saut?ed duck gizzard, bacon, and fingerling potatoes and a Port wine vinaigrette.
This salad was crazy delicious. But when you throw a gooey egg, pork fat, AND duck into a salad, it is hard to go wrong. Unless you are a vegan. Then, you’re pretty much screwed. This bad boy is a crab-stuffed zucchini canneloni. If you want to get technical, it stuffed stuffed with fresh dungeness crab and topped with fried leeks and a fennel beurre blanc sauce.
This was another hit dish. It was rich and light, a study in contrasts if you will, and freaking delicious to boot. Two dining mates went with the escargots at the table, which was served with a fatty hunk of bone to scrape out the marrow.
These were garlicky little devils, and my first ever escargot. It was pretty tasty, although I may have to get use to the texture. For mains, one diner picked a dish called the Menages a Trois (hee), and it came with three mini main dishes: a rack of lamb with mascarpone polenta & plum coulis, a chicken breast with fondue of carrots & thyme sauce, and a pork tenderloin with dates, figs & a foie gras sauce.
This was just a fun little dish. Three tastes of three very different dishes, fun presentation, and most important–some succulent meat. Now here is when things get a little fuzzy. I’m not gonna lie–I was drinking some wine, and this was TWO months ago, so I am 50% what these dishes were. Take my main, for instance. The online menu has changed since I dined there, but I am 50% sure this was a pan-seared halibut.
I found the flavors in this dish too strong, so I switched it with my dining mate’s dish, which was another mystery fish. She loved mine, I loved hers…but still not sure what it was. I know it was fish…that swam in water at some point. And food writer of the year goes to…
And then there was dessert, in the form of MANY chocolate tarts. My favorite was the chocolate tart with pear.
The happy campers (well, most of them):
In the end, Chouchou was a delightful little place to dine. It had enough traditional French food to make me happy, and enough surprises to keep me on my toes. I will definitely be hitting this place up again once I move. YUM! ~LTG! ************************ Chouchou French Bistro 400 Dewey Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94116 (415) 242-0960 http://www.chouchoubistro.com/