Commis is a 2 star Michelin restaurant that is located a short BART ride from San Francisco. It is a long rectangle of a place that is mirrored on the other side by a bar (CDP) that offers some snacks and can serve as a waiting area for your restaurant table. When you enter the restaurant the first thing you see is the open kitchen and the bar seats surrounding it, which are available for reservation. Two small tables are across from the bar and the rest are toward the back. It is a small place made more spacious by the open slit in the wall between the bar and the restaurant. They serve only an 8 course tasting menu, with a few extras thrown in and offer wine pairings. We enjoyed the company of friends the evening we were there and they generously provided the wines we drank. You get a copy of the evening’s menu when you finish the meal. The noise level is good, even with music in the background, and service was attentive and efficient.
A pacific oyster, buckwheat and bay laurel was delicate and delicious. The buckwheat was used for the coating before it was lightly fried.
Some off-the-menu items were next. A caramelized onion muffin was delicious. The essence of onion was embodied in the perfect texture of the muffin. A Yum here. A celery root tartlet was filled with beef tartar accented with horseradish. The crisp crust was nicely flakey. It was a lovely but mildly flavored bite.
Ocean trout was plated with daikon radish, smoked roe and yuzu citrus. The roe had a great pop when eaten and the radish was nicely mild, not hot.
Turnips were with ham cream, pear and pine. Another mildly flavored dish with part of it being ice mixed with some cream. Interesting.
Creamed potato was plated with California White Sturgeon caviar and onions in beer. The potatoes were really creamy and delicious. The caviar blended beautifully with everything. The onion made a nice taste contrast as well as a textural one, as did the popping caviar.
Mussels were with winter brassicas and grains topped with a large dehydrated cabbage leaf. The ‘porridge’ portion was quite nice and mixed well with the mussels. The crispy leaf added a textural component to a good dish.
A tapioca chicken dumpling was another surprise offering. It was seasoned with ginger and pecans with the ginger being the strongest flavor. It had a spongy texture and was really good, but I do love ginger.
House made bread and butter were next. The bread was still warm and the butter, also made in house, lightly dotted with salt. The bread’s crust was crispy and blistered and the inside was light. It was nice.
A slow poached egg yolk was plated with smoked dates, alliums and malt. It was a nice effect and the egg yolk was not too fudgy. This is a signature dish of the restaurant with the allium in the form of a purée with the sweet and crispy dates chopped along the side of the bowl.
Striped bass was presented with chicory and hazelnuts. The perfectly cooked fish was plated with crispy skin on. The fish and chicory were nestled in a rich chicken broth. The chicory added a touch of bitter to the almost sweet fish and both worked well with the rich broth. I preferred to take my skin off to make the fish less strong.
A cup of grilled pork bone broth was presented with a brioche bun. The broth was strongly flavored and the brioche light and buttery.
Aged pork loin was plated with pumpkin and sea lettuce. The pumpkin was smoked and then grilled with the inside presented in a mashed form with the seeds. An emulsion of the rendering of the pig was made into a sauce for the perfectly cooked and tender pork. Sea lettuce powder topped the potatoes.
Cucumber, creme fraiche, Thai basil and lime was a transitional course. It was a very creamy item with strongly flavored ingredients and contrasts in taste.
Jerusalem artichoke, sunflower and Granny Smith apples made up the first dessert. The artichokes were made into a creamy rich thing that almost resembled caramel. The apples were in chips and dots on the plate and the sunflower was a ice cream, I think. It was all dusted with cocoa powder and worked beautifully. Regardless of how the ingredients were combined it was a lovely end result.
Final treats were milk chocolate covered with buckwheat (sweet and good chocolate fix), Jasmine pate de fruit (light and jelly like), Chamomile marshmallow (really light in texture and flavor).