Chez Papa — Bistrot
French Provencal Cuisine

By Dining Detectives

We have dined at Chez Papa many times and always feel right at home. Actually, when asked to recommend an intimate fun restaurant in San Francisco we normally say "Try Chez Papa on Potrero Hill." It is the quintessential French bistro with a casual interior, comfortable red chairs and metal tables, as well as outdoor sidewalk dining typical of bistros in the south of France. The atmosphere is lively but not too noisy and there is light jazz in the background. We met the new Executive Chef Rodolfo Castellanos Reyes who hails from Oaxaca, Mexico, the culinary capital of Mexico. He worked as a youth in his family's restaurant, went to culinary school then to Monaco and San Francisco at Jardinière, where he honed his culinary skills. He told us that he was quite pleased to be at this popular dining spot on Potrero Hill and would continue the tradition while adding some of his own twists.

We ordered some Sparkling water and perused the menu. We were pleased to see that Sun -Thursday there was a three course Prix Fixe dinner with multiple choices for only $35.00! The two starters that we enjoyed were the Roasted Wild Mushroom Tart with parmesan cheese, frisee salad and honey vinaigrette which was luscious and the Kobe Beef tartare with quail egg, Dijon mustard, ketchup, parsley, shallots, capers and cornichons which was spicy and fresh tasting. The main courses that we loved were the Lamb Daube with rosemary wine sauce and seasonal vegetables which melted in your mouth and the Sautéed Petrale Sole with leak fondue, Dungeness crab and fine herbs with winter citrus which was light, delicious and heavenly! We normally have their fabulous Mussels but preferred to try some new things and were glad we did.

The wine List features 25 wines by the glass. We enjoyed the 2006 Trecini Sauvignon Blanc from the Russian River Valley which was very lively and fruity and paired well with both the Tart and Sole. The 2006 Chateau Bonnet Andre Lurton Bordeaux paired well with the Tartare and the 2005 Maxime Chomel Crozes Hermitage Cuvee Sassenas Rhone paired perfectly with the Lamb and was full bodied and toasty with hints of oak.

The desserts were both delicious. We loved the Chocolate Fondant & Crème Anglaise which was delightful yet not too sweet. The Apple Tarte Tatin & Crème Fraiche was also fabulous! Our double espressos were perfect....strong, hot with a lovely crèma. The 2005 Domaine de Durban Muscat de Baumes de Venise, Rhone dessert wine was the perfect finish to our fabulous meal.

Chez Papa Bistrot serves excellent French cuisine. The presentation is lovely, the flavors are rich and the entrees are generous servings. The Prix Fixe menu is also an excellent value! We also appreciate that they use black napkins which leave no lint on black pants. We'll be back again soon!

Chez Papa - Bistrot
1401 18th Street
San Francisco, CA. 94103

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