In the heart of downtown San Francisco, my fellow tour guides for Gourmet Walks got together for another delicious and memorable staff meeting. We met at the casual, yet sophisticated, Mandarin Oriental Brasserie S&P (now renamed the Loews Regency San Francisco), which also happens to be the starting point for the Ultra Chocolate Tour. We were able to chat away without having to compete over dominating ambient noise. In the style of California cuisine, the menu showcased local and seasonal ingredients such as figs, fava beans, and Fallon Hills Ranch’s beef.
Most people started their meal with a artisan cocktail. We then shared a few small plates. It’s safe to say that as gastrophiles, we would prefer to eat little bites of many different dishes than a large quantity of a single homogenous dish.
The star of the meal was the Arctic char, which was the main course choice for the over half of the guides. The crispy skin added a nice layer of texture to the buttery fish which laid on a bed of fava beans, beurre rouge, and preserved orange.
The generously portioned hamburger was served on a brioche bun. Nicole, the resident hamburger expect of San Francisco, gave the burger praise and also complemented the perfectly cooked and seasoned fries.
English peas, sorrel, baby leeks, and of course, Parmigiano Reggiano were incorporated throughout the Italian-inspired risotto dish. The beautifully presented verdant spring risotto had ruby red strawberries situated on top of the dish.
To our delight, the staff at Mandarin surprised us by bringing out every item on the dessert menu for us to try. Seeing as we lead chocolate tours at the Brasserie weekly, they already anticipated our craving for a sweet treat to finish off the meal. My favorite dessert was (unsurprisingly) the most chocolately dish: The Warm Brownie Sundae. Three Twins Mocha Difference ice cream was enveloped in TCHO chocolate sauce and chantilly, placed on a hot brownie and then topped with fresh whipping cream. All of the desserts were beautifully presented and executed leaving us satiated and grateful to live in a city burgeoning with exceptional restaurants to chose from.