Chez Panisse

Buttermilk-fried Hama Hama oyster sandwich with shoestring potatoes and green garlic mayonnaise ($20)

Oysters were baked so nicely, never had anything like it! Sandwich also included pickled radishes and carrots, adding an interestingly refreshing contrast to the warm oyster. Fries were flat and crispy. Being a fancy French restaurant, I’m not too certain of how best to properly handle finger foods like sandwiches and pizzas. Fork and knife or just dig in? Eh, I say whatever works and try not to make a huge mess out of it!    

Northern halibut with savoy cabbage, snap peas, and caper butter ($23)

Honestly, when I first saw the dish, I thought, oh jeez, is that all??! Yes, fancy places tend to give you a huge plate with barely a fistful of food in the center, then charge an extraordinary amount. Truth. However, this just encourages you to eat more slowly, and think about all the flavors you’re experiencing. Potatoes, I didn’t care too much for, but the fish – yum! Usually just a few capers can really pack a salty punch, so I was prepared for the worst, but it was quite unnecessary to worry because the caper butter wasn’t so strong – thank goodness! The fish is cooked very nicely, very flavorful. The snap peas and cabbage were very soft, though not to the point in which all the nutrients are sucked out.

Lindsey’s bittersweet chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream ($9.50)

So rich. Mixing the cake and ice cream is a must. My goodness, this little slice of cake was quite dense indeed. (Yes, I had dessert for lunch, why not?!) Still finished it all, of course!

Pink Lady apple and candied orange galette with crème fraîche ($10)

Looked like a slice of pizza with apple slices on top instead of cheese and tomato sauce. The crème fraîche was too much, unnecessary even. The apples tasted much like gingered apples – some kind of spice on it that made it tangy.

Chez Panisse

Overall, highly advisable to RSVP if you plan on dining here. Lots of people like this place, so especially if you are planning for a large group or dinner, it is best to plan up to a month (yes, that’s right) ahead of time (this is also the max you are allowed to RSVP ahead). Lunch prices are more reasonable (cafe not restaurant). Nice setup, a bit narrow in some areas, but the layout is pretty good considering what they have to work with. Mostly older crowd dines here. Waiters and waitresses are very nice and helpful in offering suggestions, which may be needed since the menu changes frequently. Don’t come here extremely starving. Also, dress to impress, or at least look presentable. In other words, don’t wear your favorite baggy jeans or dirty sneakers or have unruly hair, etc etc, you get the idea.

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