Luce, San Francisco-2-9-2019

For my birthday Hoa is taking me to Luce, meaning "light" in Italian and pronounced "Loo-Chay",  a 1 Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco.  Luce is situated on the ground floor of San Francisco's downtown InterContinental hotel on Howard street. 

 Luce has proudly earned a Michelin star 9 years consecutively from 2010-2019.  Chef de Cuisine Daniel Coery joined the InterContinental San Francisco’s modern American restaurant, Luce, under award-winning Chef Dominique Crenn (she is a 3 Michelin star chef now at Atelier Crenn) before moving back to Southern California where he worked as sous chef at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. He returned to Luce in 2009 and has been Chef de Cuisine since 2011, when he earned his first Michelin-star, which he has maintained every year since. Since the opening in 2008, Luce also garnered numerous accolades including Esquire magazine's "20 best new restaurants 2008", Wine Spectators award of Excellence from 2011-2014 and many more....

The main entrance but it is locked so you will need to go inside the InterContinental hotel to get to the restaurant.

 

From the lobby of the hotel we are walking towards the restaurant (way at the end).

 

Between the lobby and the restaurant there is a modern bar before entering the dinning room at Luce.

 

The main dinning room with clean and modern décor.  Because it is located inside a hotel and it is really huge, the place is pretty empty.

However, if you are looking for a little privacy this is really great for a date night!

 

Before you get to the main dinning room you will pass by the ultra modern bar.

The wine selection has garnered the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2010

 

 

On the menu you can select the 9 course chef menu or you can order a la carte.  We went with the tasting menu.

According to our waiter the tasting menu is reflecting the bounty of San Francisco's surrounding farms and the menu changes according to freshness and seasonality.

 

As you can see the restaurant is huge, the space is elegant with soaring beams and tall ceiling, very airy with a modern touch.

 

Bread service with 4 different type of bread.  I selected the one with olive and Hoa went with a regular bread.

Warm and delicious!  I asked if the bread is made in house but was told a special artisanal bakery close by is making the bread specially for the Luce.

 

Amuse bouche: warm madeleine with gruyere.  Perfect to start a meal, we gulped in down pretty fast.

 

1st Course: amuse bouche: Crassostrea gigas (Pacific oysters)-small sweet oyster with Béarnaise sauce, pistachio dust.
Beautiful presentation!

Hoa likes Cabernet but after talking to our waiter he recommended a Cotes du Rhone Chateau des tours because the food tonight will be light and this bottle will compliment the food better than a Cabernet.  Turned out to be a very good bottle and it went very well with the tasting menu.

 

Cheers and let's start the meal!

2nd Course: Pacific Blue Prawns, roasted with brown butter, Meyer lemon, Espelette

Wow, you can taste the freshness of the prawn!  sweet with a nice texture, perfectly cooked, the brown butter sauce added a nice richness to the dish and I like the hint of acidity from the Meyer lemon.

 

3rd Course: King Salmon confit, crème fraiche, Ruby grapefruit, fennel, pickles mustard seed.

What a feast to the eye, so beautifully presented!

A tranche of "mit cuit" (half cooked) confit salmon cooked slowly in a very low heat and when you take a bite the salmon just melted in the mouth. The pickled fennel gives a nice crunch and the Grapefruit added a nice sweet/sour element, the crème fraiche gives a nice rich and unctuous flavor.  What a nice dish!

 

4th Course: Hand made Ricotta Ravioli, Local mushroom, Black winter truffle

 

The ravioli was really good and really enjoyed all the mushrooms (lots of flavors) however, the broth was a bit too salty for me.

All of all the dish this is my least favorite one.

 

Cleanse palate: Carrot soda.  Just imagine you are drinking soda like 7 up with a pungent taste of carrot.

Looks fancy but have do not much to say about it.

 

5th Course: Pacific Bluenose Bass, poached in olive oil, mussels and local squid, potato, lobster bouillon

 

Very well executed dish and also very nice presentation.

The fish is delicate with a very nice texture, the lobster broth is very flavorful.  The squid was a nice welcome to the dish as it added another layer of taste and texture .

Very lovely.

6th Course: Duck breast, aged on the bone, Fuji apple, wheat berries, parsnips puree

 

Excellent duck, cooked just the way we like it.  The meat was tender and very flavorful with a crispy skin.  Very yummy!

 

 

For an extra $15 we ordered a selection of 3 Artisanal cheeses.

 

Very good cheese, I like 2 of 3 as the with goat cheese is for just too strong for me but Hoa loves it.

 

Coffee and Dessert

As usual I have to have coffee with my dessert. Decaf for me and regular for Hoa

 

 

7th Course: Chamomile & passion fruit sorbet on a bed of butter cookie crumbs.

 

Very refreshing and it is perfect prelude to the next dish.

 

8th Course: Poppy seed sponge, olive oil, blood orange panna

 

Everything on this plate is delicious!  The Blood orange panna cotta has a nice consistency paired with a raspberry coulis with candied orange peel. 

I also enjoyed the poppy seed sponge cake. Perfectly balanced between sweet and acidity.

 

9th Course: Assorted mignardides: strawberries macarons and milk chocolate with nuts

The mignardises was a great way to end our meal.

 

I must say that the food at Luce is pretty solid and defintely worth a 1 Michelin star.  All the dishes are excellent with the exception of the Ravioli (ok dish), beautiful presentation, but I must stay that service was not up to our expectation.  Our server was not that attentive as we have to pour our wine at least twice and the restaurant was half empty.  Beside our server, another person who brought out all the food,  he seems unhappy with this job.  He delivers the food to our table without enthusiasm, he was like  reciting the menu at best without any personal touch. 

The restaurant is huge, so it really lacks warmth and ambiance, but fortunatley it made up with the food.  Thumb ups for the food but it is enough for a good dining experience in a Michelin star restaurant?

I might consider come back with a large group (they certainly have room) and create your own ambiance but at least knowing that the food will meet your expectation. 

 

LUCE at InterContinental San Francisco

888 Howard Street (between 4th and 5th Street)
San Francisco, California 94103 
415.616.6566 
luce@ihg.com

 

Filed under: Restaurants

 

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