Best French Restaurant San Francisco 2003 - Chapeau!
Well, we're not in love with the room (the sweet murals on the wall can't disguise the fact that diners are shoehorned into tables set mere inches apart). But we are still madly in love with Chapeau! for several other reasons: the thoughtful service, the gentle prices (a dazzling three-course menu, with lots and lots of choices, at $29.75), and, above all, the food. Chapeau!'s strong suit is its impeccable cooking. We have dreamy memories of seared foie gras with crisp little potato galettes, moules and frites with garlicky aioli, a textbook cassoulet, and one of the most intelligently selected cheese plates we've ever had (the foie gras and cheese required a supplemental charge to the prix fixe, but they were well worth it). There's also a tempting early bird three-course prix fixe offered at $19.50; a sample menu included cauliflower soup with black truffle crostini, salmon tartare, or mesclun salad, followed by petrale sole meunière or roasted duck à l'orange, with crème brûlée, house-made sorbet with fresh fruit compote, or profiteroles to finish. There's a well-chosen, well-priced wine list. And the best news: We hear Chapeau! is going to expand into an adjoining space in the near future, possibly adding comfort to its numerous virtues.