Keiko à Nob Hill, San Francisco, 3/3/17

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building

Keiko à Nob Hill is named for the female chef, Keiko Takahashi.  While she works her magic in the kitchen the small elegant restaurant is well overseen by her husband Seigo Takei who also has a huge selection of wines to chose from for your meal. They have been in this location for 5 years and he uses much of the space to store wine that is not listed. The fun is in the talking with him about what you like and letting him chose something you don’t know about and he did a marvelous job.  He will work within your price range. They do offer a couple levels of wine pairings.  They only do one seating each night in the building that has residential units above.  The comfortable seating is well spaced with low lighting accented by candles and soft jazz music in the background.  

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Entrance
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Sign

Fine linens and flatware enhance your experience while the curtains on the walls and carpets help dampen conversational noise to an easy but private level. There is one seating time, 7:00 and one tasting menu with no supplements or options. The food is for the most part not ‘in-your-face’ flavor but there is a elegance to it that lingers with you in the fine aftertaste and thoughtfulness of the selections. I would definitely recommend visiting if you can.

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one dining room
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table set up
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menu
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Frankie checked out the table flower and candle
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another room

 

Our menu started with Amadai, a wild Japanese tilefish. Presented under a glass dome holding in smoke, that is the first taste.  The fish is mild but the smoke penetrates into the edible scales.  It is accented with dashi gel, crunchy seaweed and Japanese Cherry Blossoms.  It is a nice effect with good textures.

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presentation of first course

"Amadai" Wild Tilefish

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white wine
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Frankie took a nap on the purse stool

 

The Uni is also from Japan and paired with cauliflower mousse and seaweed purée juice all topped with caviar and a gold flake. There are lots of layers of flavor here and the caviar is especially good combined with uni. All ingredients blends well or are excellent separately – a winner here.

Uni: 'Hokkaido' Sea Urchin
Uni: ‘Hokkaido’ Sea Urchin
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from the top
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closer

 

Zuwaigani snow crab is next with trout roe, turnip puree, chervil, sorrell and eggs. The Japanese crab is delicious, nicely herbed and blended exceptionally well with the other ingredients.

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‘Zuwaigani’ Snow Crab
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closer
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under some of the flowers
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Frankie faced off the crab

 

Foie Gras Espresso is one her specialties.  The Hudson Valley foie gras is pan seared and served with a purée of Japanese yam all on a sauce of espresso, black pepper and salt.  It is accompanied by a fresh house made brioche which you can used to dab into the strongly flavored sauce. The sauce contrasts well with the sweet squash and rich and perfectly cooked foie gras.  Another winner here.

Foie Gras 'Espresso'
Foie Gras ‘Espresso’
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closer
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Brioche

 

Sumiika (white Japanese) & Hotaruika (baby squid) are 2 types of Japanese cuttlefish served on squid ink orzo, caper and anchovy sauce. The orzo was a really fun touch to this subtle and not heavy dish.  A perfect dish to follow the foie gras.

'Sumiika' & 'Hotaruika' Cuttlefish

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side
side
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back
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inside
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Frankie found a cool arrangement

 

The next course is Tsukiji Market or ‘special fish from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.  My understanding is that chef communicates with the market and they ship in whatever looks best.  Our visit that turned out to be Hirame or Japanese Flounder which was blanched and topped with black truffles, surrounded by a sunchoke purée.  The tender, buttery fish dish offered some amazing flavors and blended well with everything else.  It was my favorite so far – I really wanted to lick this plate clean.

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Tsukiji Market: Special fish from ‘Tsukiji’ fish market in Tokyo
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closer

 

Cornish Hen was served with 3 sauces.  The tender, moist hen had been cooked in a sous vide and served with a hen sauce reduction, beurre blanc and pan foam.  Morrell and black trumpet mushrooms were the final enhancement  to this tasty plate.

Cornish Hen: Sous vide with 3 sauces
Cornish Hen: Sous vide with 3 sauces
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closer
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red wine
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Frankie and the flowers

 

A5Wagyu from Kagoshima island was served with yuzu-soy foam, Honwasabi, Brussels sprout leaves, kale chips. I swooned over A4 Wagyu but A5 is a step right into ecstasy. This is the foie gras of wagyu. No words can do justice to this finely prepared perfect piece of beef.  It was yum x4!

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A5 Wagyu, Yuzu-Soy foam, Honwasabi
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Waitress Makiko and Frankie

 

The night’s cheese course was an aged gouda with apricot purée, fig and Granny Smith apple.  A very nice transition into dessert.

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cheese course
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Frankie played on the wine holder

 

Dessert was several things: a coconut panna cotta with mixed berries; raspberry mille-feuille with cream anglaise and a Canelé.  The Canelé was probably my favorite – reminding me of marshmallows cooked over an open fire, but it’s hard to beat a wonderful custard and a few fresh berries for simple elegance of flavor. A perfect puff pastry and luscious sauce made the mille-feuille a good treat also.

Mad
Canelé
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Frankie wondered where it went
cup of berries
cup of berries
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from the top
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Did Frankie eat that?
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Raspberry Mille- feuille with cream anglaise
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closer

 

The Mignardises included vanilla cupcakes, blueberry tartlet(with a sweet crust),  chocolate truffle and macaroons.  They were nice enough to pack them up for us to take with us as we were stuffed.

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Mignardises
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closer
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Seigo Takei, sommelier and Frankie
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Michelin awards
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Chef Keiko Takahashi and Frankie

 

3 thoughts on “Keiko à Nob Hill, San Francisco, 3/3/17

  1. Helen, it sounds as if you and Charles found the perfect place for foil gras! The restaurant’ other food such as the Japanese flounder and the dessert all look very appealing. I love Frankie eating with you two. He must have had a real experience eating there. It definitely takes someone like you and Charles to find beautiful and unusual places, well, they are unusual to me! You write a wonderful blog! Keep on blogging!

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    1. Thanks Dana! This was a fabulous place. Sorry the low lighting didn’t help the photos capture the beauty of the food. I went back and lightened some of them last night. Anyway, thanks for your support! Frankie makes it fun!

      Like

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