Luce restaurant is located in the new InterContinenal Hotel on Howard St. in San Francisco. It’s sleek, modern, sophisticated. It’s like the W Hotel, but without the focus on being trendy or hip. It’s all about sleek sophistication here.
The restaurant was recently rated with a Michelin star; something given to only the best restaurants in the world. Luce had all their ducks in a row the evening I went with my girlfriends for dinner. The drinks were perfect, the decor and lighting were perfect, the presentation of all our dishes were perfect.
The chef sent out a beautifully presented amuse bouche that had a surprisingly complex yet subtle flavor. It was a taste of lentils, perfectly tender octopus with a chorizo consume and topped with a small egg. It was probably the highlight of the meal, honestly, because it was such a surprise in its well suited combination of flavors.
We started with the kona kampachi tartare and the roasted bone marrow with grilled bread and roasted garlic. Both dishes were excellent and elegantly presented. The bone marrow was rich and fatty, but it was delicious, especially with the garlic. It was perfect on the grilled bread, both as textural contrast but also to mellow out the fattiness of the dish.
The tartare was simply prepared and another textural winner with the baby green cauliflower and diced pickled apples. Fresh and delicious. The perfect opposite to the rich marrow.
For the main course we ordered the shortrib and wild mushroom pappardelle and the slow cooked beef tenderloin. Again, beautiful and uncomplicated presentation. The flavors were again, rich and delicious and the ingredients were obviously of superior quality.
The biggest thing lacking at this perfection striving restaurant,was the service. Though it was seemingly casual and friendly, our waiter was aloof and disingenuous. He barely paid attention when we spoke, unless to order. He just plain didn’t care. And that shouldn’t exist in a restaurant with such praise.