We like chopped liver, we like liver pâté, and we like the top-of-the-line stuff, too, the plump foie gras of duck or geese, made into pâtés and terrines to be served cold or simply sliced, seared, and served hot with a myriad of different accompaniments. Some of San Francisco's best chefs are doing amazing things with this luxurious ingredient.
252 California (at Battery), 956-9662, www.aqua-sf.com
Chef Laurent Manrique does a beautiful $22 plate of foie gras three ways: a terrine coated with ground pepper, poached “au torchon” and served with wine-pickled grapes, and his “nougat,” with chunks of prune and rolled in crunchy pistachio and almonds. Aqua also offers a whole poached foie gras, to be shared, for $100.
600 Guerrero (at 18th Street), 487-2600, www.tartinebakery.com
Perhaps the most decadently delicious sandwich in the city is the foie gras and fig jam one served at Tartine. We prefer it on plain French bread rather than the nut bread it usually comes on, so as not to be distracted from the exciting combination of rich, creamy liver paste and sweet, thick jam.
1408 Clement (at 15th Avenue), 750-9787, www.bistrochapeau.citysearch.com
The owner of this snug French eatery, Philippe Gardelle, and his chef, Jesse Frost, usually feature foie gras both cold (a suave ballotine with thin rounds of warm toasted brioche and prunes cooked in a spicy red-wine syrup) and hot (perfectly seared on onion and apple compote, with an apple cider gastrique) on Chapeau!'s menus.
Fleur de Lys
777 Sutter (at Taylor), 673-7779, www.fleurdelyssf.com
The tasting of cold artisanal Sonoma foie gras here includes a version with smoked duck breast in Gewürztraminer gelee, another pistachio-crusted and semicooked, and a traditional terrine. An unusual starter pairs a miniature casserole of foie gras, truffles, and potatoes, called a Baeckeoffe, with a tiny “burger” of minced duck and seared foie gras on a brioche bun.