Restaurant Francais is the one Michelin star restaurant in the Steignberger Frankfurter Hof Hotel. It has 2 good sized rooms, one that directly opens to the hotel lobby and the other that looks out on the patio and then the street. Both are elegantly appointed with parquet floor, lots of orchids, a rose colored under cloth that matches the upholstry of the seating topped with a white cloth and napkin, candlelight on each table, lowered lighting and soft background music. They offer a 5 or 7 course tasting menu or any of the items can be purchased a la carte. Wine pairings are available. The menu doesn’t specify what you get in the tastings, you simply pick the courses you want to include. We opted for a 7 course menu that skipped one of the savory courses but included both cheese and dessert. The server was nice enough to bring us a sampling of the course we excluded so we could sample everything. Service is helpful and friendly and pacing and portion control of the tasting was excellent.
They considerately began our service with a wet cloth to wipe your hands. We started with cocktails and then had wine with dinner. With the cocktail an amuse of potato dark pumpernickle bread with white char caviar went well. Full of flavor and texture, it was good.
Bread service was a half loaf of both wheat and rye with salted French butter as well as a “raisin Greek dip” that was a mix of sour cream, baby cucumbers, walnuts and raisins. It was a fun different option. The breads both had a good crisp to the crust and dense interiors. The butter was nicely salted, not just sprinkles on the top.
Another amuse was hamachi yellow tail with Greek yogurt, red currants, mustard seeds and crunchy chicken skin. The red currants were a dominant flavor to the other mild ones in the dish. It was a good mix of textures and tastes if you limited the currants.
Alsatian gooseliver was cold and plated with celery, pineapple and cashew nuts. It was served with a salted butter brioche (standing on the plate) that was perfectly toasted and nicely buttery. The fresh pineapple went fantastically with the foie gras and the cashews were a fun change for nuts. The celery and celery root were harder to get into but the other ingredients, particularly the pineapple gel and ice cream were great tastes with the wonderful goose liver.
The creamy garden cress soup with char and horseradish was the course we opted not to have, so our serving size was smaller than regular but way enough to get a good taste of this excellent soup. It was nicely accented with chunks of char and local mushrooms (frisee mushrooms). It was not too thick and the flavors blended very well.
Norwegian scallop was plated with broccoli, coconut and bell pepper. The wild broccoli was in regular blossom form as well as puréed. A chutney of yellow bell pepper accented the fermented garlic and coconut sauce topped with vanilla foam. The scallop was cooked perfectly and nicely sweet. It was a unusual grouping of ingredients that really worked together to produce a good overall flavor and selection of textures. The only ding I would have was that the broccoli was allowed to lose its bright green color, but the taste was fine.
Gillardeau oyster No. 2 was mixed with Chinese cabbage, kiwi and pulled pork. The oyster was not too briny and may have been lightly poached before serving. It was a wild combination to have a spicy barbecue pork combined with the oyster and some sunflower seeds thrown in for more texture. It all blended amazingly well and was really quite good. The seeds played a bit of ping pong in your mouth which just added to the fun.
Island shellfish was topped and sauced with Kalamansi lemon, brown butter and parsley. The shellfish was from Iceland and really moist. The lemon and brown butter sauce was topped with crisp parsley and then a couple caperberries were thrown in for more contrast. Another really tasty combination of unexpected flavor pairings.
Premium veal from Holland “Peters Farm” was served with bean, tomato and green asparagus. The lovely tender, moist, pink slice of veal was accompanied by a veal sweetbread on a classic veal jus. The sweetbread was just plain amazing. The sauce and a touch of creamer peas and torn asparagus went perfectly with the two forms of protein. A delicious course.
The French cheese degustation was from Maître Affineaur Bernard Antony and served with sesame and fruit breads. The trolley had a good selection of quality options to choose from, including several blue ones and comté. The cheese was accented with a really good fig mustard that was not too spicy but perfect with the blue cheese varieties. Very good.
An apple wine sorbet was topped with a chutney of gooseberry, chocolate crumbles and split almonds. The sorbet was particularly good and the gooseberries not so tart that they would disrupt the freshness of the other ingredients. It was a creamy, sweet and lovely transition course.
Turkish apricot was served with curd cheese, cardamon and fragrant rice. The wild rice had been puffed and was combined with apricots made into jelly and frozen nector. It was ultra fresh and not too sweet. I liked all the texture in the dish but overall there were too many things in this one. It would get an okay.
Final treats were a vanilla caramel torte and a nougat of roasted almond. Both were quite nice and a perfect finish to this fun and tasty meal.