Like it or not, California's state-wide ban on foie gras begins on July 1. If you're one of the many pro-foie types living in San Francisco, you should know that lots of restaurants are making the most of the next seven weeks with plans to serve foie to the bitter end. Many chefs see foie gras as a link to the history of gastronomy, as French greats like Fernand Point started working it into refined cookery in the late 19th Century. Now, our country's two reigning artisan foie gras farms: Sonoma Aritsan Foie and Hudson Vally Foie Gras, are wrapping up distribution to Calfornia. Here, seven top dishes to try before foie ends its timeline.
1) Foie gras and eel terrine at Nombe: New chef Nori Sugie places elegant slivers of this heady terrine on a plate next to wedges of charcoal grilled pineapple. All it needs is a sprinkle of sansho pepper to accentuate its perfect marriage of creamy foie and sweet tart fruit on the tongue.
2) Foie gras menu at Txoko: Every Wednesday night leading up the ban, chef Ian Begg rolls out the red carpet for foie. His four course menu may or may not include his delicious foie a la plancha, but it almost always ends with his super creamy foie gras ice cream served with fruit (pictured, above).
3) Oat crusted foie at Commonwealth: Chef-owner Jason Fox likes to get super creative with foie, and right now it's an oatmeal crusted torchon with rhubarb, brioche and ginger candy.
4) Foie gras with espresso sauce at Keiko a Nob Hill: Keiko Takahashi has called this dish a signature for almost ten years—since her days cooking at El Paseo in Mill Valley. The foie is pan-seared and served with a Pollack-splatter of her earthy yet sweet sauce.
5) Foie gras pasta at Acquerello: Similar to the above creation at Keiko, chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti's ridged pasta with foie gras, scented with black truffles and Marsala sauce has been on the menu since Acquerello's inception in 1989. It's one of those memorable dishes customers won't let her take off the menu, though soon she'll have to.
6) Foie xiao long bao at Benu: French Laundry alum Corey Lee has reinvented the popular Chinese soup dumpling with a rich stuffing of foie and truffle oil. When paired with sommelier Yoon Ha's suggestion of a Belgian red beer, it's a revelation.
7) Foie torchon at La Folie Lounge: French chef Roland Passot nails the classic cold foie torchon, served with plum compote in the Lounge. For the full palate experience, pair with reisling or sauternes and slow down.