Friday, January 21, 2011

Chez Papa: Dine About Town 2011

My foodie friend Heather and I chose Chez Papa for our Dine About Town 2011 Lunch. When we got to Chez Papa, no DAT! We were confused but not too disappointed. Chez Papa offers a Business Lunch Prix Fixe Menu for $24.

I had a very brief glimpse of the interior of Chez Papa. I spotted dark wood furniture and  orange leather. Very chic but also dark inside. Since it was beautiful day, we chose al fresco dining. Chez Papa is located at the Mint Plaza, an alley on 5th and Market converted into a one open concrete space for people to just sit or have their meals at one of the restaurants. I remember when this alley used to be nothing but a dirty and unused street almost a decade ago. Now the Mint Plaza is with bustling with activities from hanging out at the plaza to dining al fresco at one of the higher end restaurants.

Al fresco dining at Chez Papa was great but it has its downside. About 3 times while we were dining, there were some aggresive panhandlers who tried to hit us up for change. There was a security guard at the site and the server readily apologized to us. Heather and I are not easily daunted. We ignored the behavior and still managed to have an enjoyable lunch. For the easily annoyed, opt to dine inside the restaurant.

We chose identical meals:

*Course 1: Charred Local Squid, Barhi Dates, Chorizo, Mizuna, Romesco as our appetizer: The squid with the tentacles were plump and looked very fresh. However the whole dish was on the salty side. I love the sweet dates that was meant to provide balance but the dish was still overly salty.

*Course 2: Grilled Albacore Ni├žoise, Soft Quail Egg, Confit Marzano Tomato, Tapenade Vinaigrette: The tuna was seared rare as I liked it. Fresh and nice healthy red color. Served over a small bed of greens and a single soft-boiled quial egg. Generously served, simple yet tasty.

*Course 3: Desserts

Dessert #1: Cocoa Nib Profiteroles, Pistachio Gelato, Toasted Almonds, Warm Chocolate Sauce: Heather generously shared her dessert with me. Just oh so delish dessert of 2 cream puffs with chocolate sauce served separately on the side to top off a nice lunch!

Dessert #2: Cacao Barry Chocolate Mousse, Minted Citrus Fruit Salad, Hazelnut Tuile: And I took mine home! The chocolate was so smooth and decadent complimented by the fresh citrus!

Another beautiful girl-bonding lunch. The Mint Plaza has its own unique personality due to the mixture of business and homeless/indigents folks sharing one huge beautiful urban space to find a little peace in this bustling city. It was quite an experience and great for people watching until you get hit up for spare change!

Tab: $32 per girl including tax, 20% tip and $1.50 Health SF Fee each.

FOODIE GIRL'S RATING:  3.75 Stars  (Our dishes did not have the "oomph!" factor but still tasty.)


0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)

Chez Papa Resto on Urbanspoon

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