It's one year into the foie gras ban. While some restaurants may still be serving it surreptitiously, it’s mostly history. So what’s being serving instead? Here are some dishes that help us get through these trying times.
When it comes to traditional French style, few do it better than La Folie. Their terrine of pig feet, sweetbreads, and lobster topped with mustard and a crust of crumbs is rich and luxurious. Chef Michael Hung tells us it's a labor-intensive dish. The brining, cooking, stuffing, and crusting takes about ten hours of manpower for ten servings.
A signature dish on the menu at Benu is the "foie gras of the sea," or monkfish liver torchon. It comes with slightly different accompaniments throughout the year, depending on the season.
Bocadillos serves another one of our favorites, a chicken liver mousse with sherry and a small salad of watercress, with tangy strawberries on the side.
At District you’ll find truffled chicken liver mousse. Chef Bob Cina tells us that he gets the silky and buttery texture by combining chicken and or duck livers, egg, butter, brandy, wine, truffles, and various aromatics. The mixture is then passed through a tamis multiple times before being cooked gently in terrines, which are finally topped with port gelee and served simply with toast points and fleur de sel.
At Chambers Eat + Drink Executive Chef Trevor Ogden offers a chicken liver pâté on the Bar Bites menu. The liver is sautéed with shallots, garlic, sake, sansho peppers, and togarashi, then blended with egg yolk and cream, and topped with buttered leeks and a torched quail egg.
One of Acquerello's signature dishes was pasta with foie gras, black truffles, and marsala. Now in place of the foie are duck livers soaked in milk overnight, which are then blended with marsala, cream, and butter.
Brasserie S&P opened after the ban, but has offered a super-rich Liberty Farms duck liver pate with grilled Della Fattoria levain and red onion marmalade since day one.
38º North in Sonoma offers what they call “Faux Foie Gras,” which is made of Sonoma duck liver mousse, Madeira gelée, cinnamon-poached prune and crostini.
Garcon! in the Mission offers duck liver parfait with blackberry compote, toasted pistachios and parsley.
Jardiniere also offers duck liver mousse, made in a custard style, which is available at the bar or the restaurant.
Moving away from mousse or pate, Revival Bar + Kitchen in Berkeley offers duck liver crepinette, wrapped in caul fat, with currants and port, served with brulee'd figs and demi glace.
Sea urchin or uni in Japanese is another rich stand-in for foie. Fifth Floor offers Mendocino uni flan with Dungeness crab fondue, saffron, Sichuan pepper, and aged kaffir lime. While Alexander's Steakhouse triples up on luxurious ingredients with a marrow-toasted brioche with braised oxtail, charred Thousand Island and uni. RN74 serves chicken liver pate, but also a tartine topped with sea urchin, Maine lobster, corn, and hominy.
Last but not least, we are crazy about the fluffy, soft-scrambled eggs topped with Fort Bragg uni abd accompanied by chive brioche crisps on the menu at MKT.