November 04, 2004

Foreign Cinema

My heart is still heavy from the horrible election results yesterday, so I'm not sure whether I'll be able to post very much about this restaurant. I do have some pictures; some good, some not so great... but on the whole it was my third visit there and I had a spectacular time. Our server was absolutely wonderful, the food absolutely fabulous. We sat in a beautiful gallery space with high white ceilings, and large pieces of interesting art on the wall. I recommend Foreign Cinema unreservedly.

Foreign Cinema is connected to a bar called Laszlo -- the first small picture above, left, is a shot from their balcony space upstairs. We waited in Laszlo for our 945pm reservations. The restaurant's theme, of course, is film, and they project a weekly selection of imported pieces on a large wall in their outside patio. Their business cards feature the very debonaire Marcelo Mastroianni. With 2 indoor spaces -- the main dining room featuring an open kitchen on one side and a bar on the other and their fairly new Gallery space that flanks the patio (no one was sitting outside because of the weather) -- one gets a sense of a large secret world behind the nondescript doors on Mission street.

We ordered, to start, a medium order of Fruits de mer: assorted raw and cooked shellfish (mussels, oysters, shrimp, clams, and one teeny crawfish, which I snagged) and fresh crab; there were 6 of us and the offering was perfect. Everything ultra fresh and enhanced by the trio of sauces: champagne mignonnette, aioli, and cocktail.

Main courses: all wonderful -- I chose the steamed Northern halibut, golden chantrelle sauce, "mini charm" charry toms, basil and what seemed to be large borlotti beans. Clockwise, Brian picked the Eastern skate, warm caramelised butter and clam essence vinaigrette, parsley, capers and crisped potatoes. Nora chose the roasted Madras curry-scented chicken, Tuscan farro (chewy, smoky, yummy, flavourful), butternut squash, bacon & kale. Unfortunately, the latter two pictures didn't come out so well. The only other dish on the table I failed to capture was of the grilled Moroccan-spiced duck breast, soft polenta, organic romano beans, figs & cracklings.

Dessert: chocolate gateau with champagne sabayon, and ginger cake and ice cream with citrus sauce. Dinner was late, and we closed the restaurant out.

Our waiter, in addition to having a great sense of humor, was exceptionlly gracious, charming and down to earth. He made our late supper one of the best dining-out experiences I've had in a while...

2534 Mission St. (at 21st), San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-7600
Dinner: Monday 6:00pm - 9:00pm;
Tuesday - Thursday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm;
Friday - Saturday: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm,
Sunday: 11am - 9pm; Sunday Brunch begins at 11:00am
Saturday Lunch: 11:30am - 3:30pm
Make reservations via Open Table here
Posted by claudine at November 4, 2004 08:45 AM


Ahhhhh! This is the very place Fred and I first got together at a (moderately drunken) work party.
Neither us remember much about that evening, but it seems to have worked out ok as our 1.5 year anniversary is in a couple of weeks:) As such I have very fond memories of the Foreign Cinema, especially the coat cupboard, but that's another story, probbly not fit for print. We have visited a couple of times since and they very kindly gave us free champagne when they found out we were there a while back celebrating our 1 year since first meeting.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 12:09 PM

great story sam! :) always fun to have that special place in one's relationship, eh? ;)

Posted by: claudine at November 8, 2004 11:44 PM

Those places look really classy AND comfy. I wish there was a place like that here in Manila.

Posted by: Toni at November 10, 2004 09:28 PM

that's what i love about the bay area... casual attire is usually ok at most nice restaurants.

Posted by: claudine at November 11, 2004 04:02 PM
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