The story: For many years, the French restaurant Fleur de Lys was the place many people went for a special, celebratory dinner. And why not? The atmosphere with the dramatic draped tenting creates a festive but elegant dining room, which featured the award-winning food of celebrated Chef Hubert Keller. Chef Keller’s dishes gained him notoriety, allowing him to open other restaurants in Las Vegas and a gourmet burger concept (Burger Bar) as well as getting him appearances on BRAVO-TV’s “Top Chef” franchise.
Why I went: The restaurant announced recently that after 28 years, it will be closing this Saturday on June 28. I went online once I heard to grab a reservation to check out the place for the first and last time. (BTW, the restaurant, expectedly, is booked solid until closing.)
The vibe: Elegant yet whimsical with colorful artwork on the wall, the atmosphere is sophisticated yet friendly. The clientele looked like they were mostly regulars hoping for one last meal before closing mixed with a few, younger walk-ins hoping for a last-minute cancellation.
The booze: With both a cocktail and wine list, Fleur de Lys lives up to the standards of any French restaurant, including the prices, where wine by the glass can go for as much as $30 for a single glass.
The menu: Traditional French meals with creative twists, diners have the option of chosing a three-course pri-fixe menu or a four- or five-course tasting menus. I dined with my friend Tat, and we both went with the three-course menu, choosing from the ala carte menu. We both weren’t impressed with our appetizers and our dessert of a special “lucuma” souffle was nicely baked but lacked much flavor. Still, our entrees were home runs, with Tat enjoying braised wagyu Kobe beef cheeks and I having the roasted quail stuffed with farro.
The last bite: Since the restaurant is closing, I won’t be giving a rating (or restaurant info) with this post. It was funny, at dinner it didn’t seem like the servers or hostesss gave any hint of the impending close. It was busy as usual. The service is fantastic, but the food (other that the two entrees) felt like they were running on automatic. While the plates were beautifully arranged and had some creative twists, some of the bites felt stale or tired. Despite that, Fleur de Lys contributed a lot to the San Francisco dining scene and I was glad to have experience it before it made a final bow.
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