What is Luxury? Can it be eaten?

A step inside the ultra luxe San Francisco restaurant COI

Part 2 of 4

By Barbara Schmidt

Brown on brown minimalist décor at San Francisco restaurant COI

Brown on brown minimalist décor at San Francisco restaurant COI

COI a San Francisco destination restaurant

Oh where to begin? In full disclosure my husband and I have followed Chef Erik Anderson since he was in Minneapolis at La Belle Vie. We missed him at Nashville’s Catbird Seat and were determined to see him at COI in San Francisco. We are and have been very inspired by his artistry.

With great anticipation we had dinner on a Friday night and the restaurant was just about full for the tasting menu. The dishes were surprising and quite special although a bit uneven for a three star rating. Rumblings aside, Chef Anderson is one of the great talents in cuisine today and this was an evening to remember.

One of my favorite dishes was the eggplant disks surrounding the foie gras. I will not forget that first bite of savory texture and I loved the composition of the dish. I could not help but compare this to another favorite dish I experienced in Minneapolis when Chef Anderson was there; the foie gras donut - but I digress.

Here is a sampling of our dishes and the wine pairings:

A disappointing note about the interior – it needs updating. There is stapled screen up on the side-wall near our table and the moss in the boxes by the front door is so dusty and old it reminded me of an antique shadowboxes. I kept thinking “no more brown,” as I walked through the small space to our table.

I wanted to like this place so much so I thought décor aside – let’s think about the food and wine. Then I noticed the floor bouncing whenever someone walked into the room and our wine waved with each step. Sigh.

Still, this is absolutely one of the destinations in the country for highly creative food and superior wine selections. We heard guests unfavorably comparing COI to French Laundry and Atelier Crenn, which may be inevitable, but I’m sure Chef Anderson will passionately surprise us in 2019.

Answering my own question as to whether luxury can be eaten I have to say yes it can. Luxury can be savored, shared and remembered. Luxury equates excellence in any category and we surely did experience excellence at COI.

Just a few weeks after we dined at COI, Michelin took away one star (attributed to the former Chef) and awarded two for Chef Anderson’s first year with COI. Now that is a cause for celebration. As now a two star Michelin Chef he is now officially recognized as one of the greats. But we knew that already!

Review: I highly recommend experiencing Chef Anderson’s artistry as his career explodes into legendary status. Hopefully he updates the restaurant setting to match the culinary experience.

Barbara Schmidt