Restaurant Review

Luce, San Francisco – Restaurant Review

Luce, San Francisco - Restaurant Review

Well, hey there, fancy eater! It’s been a while, huh? What, two weeks? Have you been feeling a bit food porn deprived? Well, I’m here now. It’s all going to be okay because Luce has beautiful plating in spades.

Every Christmas my friends and I would get together and do a Secret Santa gift exchange. This year in lieu of gifts we decided to have a nice dinner, and that brought us to Luce. The only thing better than good food is good food shared with great people!


Obligatory bread and butter shot. I think I really will make a page on this site dedicated to Michelin starred bread and butter.

We started off dinner with savory madeleines. I believe these were cheddar and chive. What made these interesting is that they weren’t entirely savory. They had a bit of a sweetness to them that gave me pause. Overall, they were good, but I’ve had better.


fresh pea panna cotta

This was such a fun amuse bouche. The fresh pea flavor was strong, yet the whole dish was pretty delicate with hints of citrus and basil. I loved the mix of textures with the panna cotta and whatever those crunchy things were. Sorry, I don’t remember.


wild king salmon belly confit, beets & bartlett pear, creme fraiche

Kinda looks like someone messed up on the plating and didn’t wipe it, huh? Surprisingly, this was one of my favorites. It’s surprising because salmon isn’t my favorite fish. I like it well enough, but if given a choice, I wouldn’t choose it. Cooking it confit style made it literally melt in your mouth. I actually liked the pairing of the beets and pears with the grainy mustard. Again, it surprised me.

Also, this is what dinner with my girls is like – loud. Fortunately, the restaurant was mostly empty (I suspect since it was the day after Christmas), and our servers were awesomely friendly.


celery root roasted with coffee, almond mousse, pear, sage

This one was so light and mild, and the almond mousse was creamy and thin enough to be a soup. If they called this cream of pear soup, I would have believed them. The coffee was fairly subtle, and out of everything on the plate, the pear was the predominant flavor. A nice intermezzo, but nothing very remarkable.


aged carnaroli rice risotto, crispy sweetbreads, burgundy truffle, pickled mushrooms

Another favorite, but I gravitate towards anything with truffles. In this case, the truffles were super mild – not at all what I’m accustomed to. The risotto was flavorful and had bite to it, but the star was the sweetbreads. Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, I was most surprised by these, so they were the winner of the dish for me.

6-honeydew soda

honeydew soda

Honeydew soda that looked and tasted like cantaloupe juice. Hmm. I know they’re pretty close, but I can usually tell the flavors apart. This definitely tasted like cantaloupe. As you can see, this was a hit.

I promised I would post those photos with the caption, “Shall I finish it?” There you go.

Also, you probably shouldn’t chug a fancy soda unless you want someone to point a camera at you and post your photo all over the internets. 😛


maine lobster poached in salted butter, strawberries in red vinegar, fennel, cucumber

Butter poached lobster, we meet again. Only this time paired with tangy strawberries and roasted fennel. I’m very much surprised that I didn’t mind the lobster here. Somehow they got the texture of the lobster to be closer to shrimp, which I enjoy much more than the texture of lobster. Can’t say the flavors amazed me, though.


roasted lamb loin, crispy lamb belly, pickled quince, brussels sprouts

This was the course I was most looking forward to, and unfortunately, it was the most disappointing for me. The loin was overdone (though I saw my friend’s photos and hers looked like it was a better temperature than mine) and the “crispy” belly wasn’t crispy. The lamb wasn’t gamey at all which actually made it taste a bit like beef. That could be a good thing, if you like beef, but it’s not a great thing if you love lamb. I liked the quince and pomegranates, but the brussels sprouts were pretty bland. The flavors were good, but it could have been better.

9-key lime

key lime

So descriptive, right? I believe this was a key lime curd with coconut cream and the tiniest little meringue you ever did see. I’m a big fan of citrus after dinner because it’s so light and refreshing, and I was definitely a fan of this.



Again, the descriptives are overwhelming. I want to say this was a milk chocolate tart with orange. It was good, not great, but that didn’t stop me from destroying it. If you put chocolate anywhere near me I’m going to eat it…all.


The final bite of the night was a tiny, little lemon macaron. It actually didn’t have all that much flavor, but it was a sweet little ending all the same.

So how does this place stack up to others in its category? Actually, I’m a bit torn here. The food was a step up in creativity and plating from some one starred spots *ahem*SPQR*ahem*, but the flavors and food quality were definitely lacking compared to others (Commis and The Village Pub come to mind).  The service was great – super friendly, although a bit sneaky. They gave us some wine (and champagne to one friend) acting like it was on the house only for it to end up on the bill. I’ve heard of other restaurants doing this (only much worse), so I wasn’t too surprised. I’m starting to wonder if I’m expecting too much from restaurants with one Michelin star. Perhaps I should stick to two stars and above. The hubs isn’t going to like that. 😉

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