Eight Tables by George Chen, San Francisco, 12/30/17

Frankie posed with the sign outside
Frankie posed with the sign outside

Eight Tables has been open about 3 months and is a surprise on your first visit.  Located down a nondescript alley and then up an elevator in one of the last buildings, you open into a beautiful modern and elegant restaurant with just 8 tables well spread out.  The light wood, plush leather banquettes, lots of mirrors, background jazz music and tons of service people all dressed in beige bode well for a lovely evening, and the place did not disappoint.  Attention to detail is throughout the environment, food and people.  Chef George Chen was inspired by an historic style of dining called “Private Chateau Cuisine” which is now being seen again in China.  It means an elaborate meal presented in an intimate setting.  He is a presence in the restaurant coming by to visit each of the tables several times during the evening.  He is a terrific host.  

the gate
the gate
sign on the gate outside
sign on the gate outside
wine storage
wine storage
interior
interior
interior
interior
light fixture
light fixture
interior
interior

 

Frankie played at the bar with
Frankie played at the bar with Anthony Keels, who is in charge of cocktails
bartender supplies
bartender supplies

 

The bar is another exceptional part of the dining here with Anthony Keels making lots of unique cocktails to complement the food.  We actually opted for the pairings this evening which included several of his cocktails in addition to wine pairings.  As soon as you’re settled in your seat you’re brought a warm moist towel to wipe your hands – too few places provide this courtesy.  Then the champagne cart visits the table and the staff checks for allergies with the promise of a printed menu when you leave.  We started with a cocktail that was one of 4 on the menu and not included in  this night’s pairings.

champagne cart
champagne cart

 

charger plate
charger plate
Frankie sniffed the table flower
Frankie sniffed the table flower
Guanyin's Cup: Wok Grilled rice, Elyx Vodka, lemon oil
cocktail
from above
from above

 

The first course was  “Nine Essential Flavors of Chinese Cuisine” which is 9 small bowls each filled with the essence of (starting at the top and going left to right, row by row) sweet, salty, sour, bitter, numbing, hot, fragrant, nutty or smokey.  The tray was a visual delight with items of different shapes, textures and colors placed in each of the differently finished bowls.  The sweet was a date that was chewy, sweet, sticky and very good.  The smokey was some crispy and chewy smelts.  All were quite good and fun to sample.

Jiu Gong Ge: Nine Essential Flavors of Chinese Cuisine
Jiu Gong Ge: Nine Essential Flavors of Chinese Cuisine
sweet, salty, sour
sweet, salty, sour
bitter, numbing, hot
bitter, numbing, hot
fragrant, nutty, smokey
fragrant, nutty, smokey (bottom row)
empty
empty
beginning champagne
champagne pairing

 

Four Seas Dumpling was filled with Russian Golden Osetra, Sea Urchin, Bay Scallop and Trout Roe.  The four sections separated easily for 4 bites of different wonderfully intense taste treats.

Four Seas Dumpling: Russian Golden Osetra, Sea Urchin, Bay Scallop, Trout Roe
Four Seas Dumpling: Russian Golden Osetra, Sea Urchin, Bay Scallop, Trout Roe
closer
closer
another side
another side
another drink
Guanyin’s Cup: Wok Grilled rice, Elyx Vodka, lemon oil
Frankie found an orchid
Frankie found an orchid

 

Barbeque ‘Shao Kao’ with Kaluga on Duck Skin, Iberico Char Siu and Siu Yuk Sandwich.   Kaluga caviar was on the very crispy duck skin and made a rich wonderful combination.  This was a great one.  Siu Yuk is roasted meat, in this case barbecued pork belly that was yummy and mildly seasoned with something with anise flavor and went well with the slices of French Butter Pears that offered a sweet, firm delicious flavor.  The Iberico was marinated and the small yellow pile was candied Buddha’s hand.  Lots of flavors and textures that yielded some really tasty combinations.

Barbeque 'Shao Kao': Kaluga on Duck Skin, Iberico Char Siu, Siu Yuk Sandwich
Barbeque ‘Shao Kao’: Kaluga on Duck Skin, Iberico Char Siu, Siu Yuk Sandwich
closer
closer
closer
closer
closer
closer
wine
wine pairing

 

Upside Down Sizzling Rice Soup included poached lobster, bottarga and mirepoix.  The lobster was fairly mild tasting but really good.  Another winning selection.

Upside down Sizzling Rice Soup: Poached lobster, Bottarga, Mirepoix
Upside down Sizzling Rice Soup: Poached lobster, Bottarga, Mirepoix
other side
other side
closer
closer
Frankie was fascinated by the gold spoon
Frankie was fascinated by the gold spoon
wine
wine pairing

 

Local Black Cod in Banana Leaf included bamboo ‘cannelloni’, Lotus Root, and eggplant.  The large flake fish was perfectly cooked and accented with some mushrooms.  This felt like total comfort food full of excellent flavors.

Local Black Cod in Banana Leaf: Bamboo 'Cannelloni', Lotus Root, Eggplant
Local Black Cod in Banana Leaf: Bamboo ‘Cannelloni’, Lotus Root, Eggplant
closer
closer
pouring
Anthony Keels pouring
drink set up
drink set up
Lilly pond: Martin Miller's Gin, Forest Water, Cucumber
Lilly pond: Martin Miller’s Gin, Forest Water, Cucumber
Frankie liked the little cup
Frankie liked the little cup
closer
closer

 

Velvet Chicken was served with black truffles, Matsutake mushroom and soya veal jus.  The chicken had been poached in a high temperature oil in a wok and then tossed with egg white and chives.  A little cognac in the sauce brought out the flavors perfectly.  It was served alongside a steamed lotus bun that was sprinkled with scallions, chives and truffle oil.  The mild chicken was great when mixed with the various textures and tastes.  The lotus bun was also mildly flavored and tasted mostly of herbs.  This course didn’t have the intensity of the previous ones but it did have the artistry.  This one just needs to crank up the flavor quotient.

Velvet Chicken: Black Truffles, Matsutake Mushroom, Soya Veal Jus
Velvet Chicken: Black Truffles, Matsutake Mushroom, Soya Veal Jus
closer
closer
closer
closer
inside
inside
wine
wine pairing
Kelly with Frankie
Kelly, floor Captain, with Frankie

 

Miyasaki A5 Wagyu was plated with baby Gailan hearts (a type of Chinese broccoli) and Wallapa ‘Oyster’ sauce.  This was a supplemental course offered that evening and we split one order and it was definitely worth the money.  The beef was amazing – tender, juicy and cooked perfectly.  The fried oyster was tender and wonderful.  This course had it all, a total yum.

Miyasaki A5 Wagyu: Baby Gailan Hearts, Wallapa 'Oyster' Sauce
Miyasaki A5 Wagyu: Baby Gailan Hearts, Wallapa ‘Oyster’ Sauce
meat closer
meat closer
closer green
closer green
closer oyster and sauce
closer oyster and sauce
wine
wine pairing

 

Red ‘Dongpo’ pork was plated with a quail tea egg, rainbow beets, pasta ties and brussel sprouts.  The pork had been long cooked and was served alongside a bowl of fried rice that contained bits of popped rice.  The sauce on the plate went wonderfully with the egg, vegetables and pasta.  The pork mixed well with the rice.  Another delicious offering.

Red 'Dongpo' Pork: Quail Tea Egg, Rainbow Beets, Brussel Sprouts
Red ‘Dongpo’ Pork: Quail Tea Egg, Rainbow Beets, Brussel Sprouts
closer
closer
closer
closer
wine
wine pairing
Frankie studied the tile patterns
Frankie admired the striking tile

 

A foie gras potsticker was served two ways with black sesame and peanut mochi. The foie gras was from Hudson Vally and next to it were some streaks of reduced black vinegar.  The “orange ball” tasted of an adult version of a Reese’s peanut butter cup topped with a miniature mint leaf.  It was totally good as was the crispy version on the plate.  Both sauces worked with both versions.

Foie Gras Potsticker: Black Sesame - Peanut Mochi
Foie Gras Potsticker: Black Sesame – Peanut Mochi
closer
closer

other side
other side
another view
another view
closer
closer
closer
closer
inside
inside
Frankie wondered where it went
Frankie wondered where it went
wine
wine pairing

 

Fermented rice sorbet was plated with Goji Berry vinegar.  It was smooth, super sweet and fruity.  This pre-dessert set a high bar cause it was really good.

Fermented Rice Sorbet: Gogi Berry Vinegar
Fermented Rice Sorbet: Gogi Berry Vinegar
closer
closer
wine
wine pairing
Daniel Hong and Frankie
Daniel Hong and Frankie

 

Sago Pudding was accented with Manuka honey and candied chestnut powder.   Sago is similar to tapioca and it had a lovely texture.  It was also mixed with some cocoa butter, bits of cutroots and poached squash.  The candied chestnuts were a particularly tasty touch.

Sago Pudding: Manuka Honey, Candied Chestnut Powder
Sago Pudding: Manuka Honey, Candied Chestnut Powder
closer
closer
presentation
presentation
ready
ready
pour
pouring a special cocktail to end with

 

Last treats were a gooseberry jelly, pineapple cake and coconut stuffed with huckleberry.  A great meal!

Last treats
last treats
closer
closer
inside
inside
inside
inside
inside
inside
General Manager Andrew Fuentes with Frankie
General Manager Andrew Fuentes with Frankie
kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
kitchen
staff meeting Frankie
some of the staff meeting Frankie
kitchen
kitchen
IMG_0984
menu and pairings
Chef George Chen and Frankie
Chef George Chen and Frankie

2 thoughts on “Eight Tables by George Chen, San Francisco, 12/30/17

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