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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 5 months ago

Fringale Review


Fringale was pretty good, headlined by the appetizers and the fun waiter. But we also had a standout entree (rack of lamb) and dessert (truffles).


We split four appetizers: 

  • Sauteed prawns in a sweet and creamy sauce including sun dried tomatoes. Both the prawns and the sauce were very good and addictive. As we learned, one key ingredient in the sauce is pastis, a type of French alcohol (with ingredients that apparently include star anise and fennel).
  • A spicy calamari dish with jalapenos. Quite good, with fresh non-battered squid.
  • Beef carpaccio with a mustard sauce & crispy horseradish. A nice contrast of salty and sweet. Good.
  • A frisee salad with hefty chunks of bacon (soft, not fried) in a vinaigrette. Decent. Served with a piece of toasted bread that was way too crunchy.


Along with the appetizers (and the main course), they provided a big bucket (yes, bucket) of very good bread: thick slices, with a soft chewy interior but a nice crust. We must've finished two buckets, partially because we used the bread to mop up the great sauce from the prawn appetizer.


Upon time for our entrees, we had three and another appetizer: 

  • Roast rack of lamb. Very good. Even "awesome." Served on two bones, this was, to use what is probably a cliche, tasty and flavorful and tender. It was served with mashed potatoes with a peppery spice that we also enjoyed (after ignoring the burnt cheese that covered the top of the potatoes). Included decent buttery green beans too.
  • In second place in this round comes comes the lobster ravioli (another appetizer). Made from very floppy pasta, this dish was fine but nothing more.
  • Third goes to the rib eye steak (cooked in red wine butter). It probably would've been a decent steak if it wasn't marred by the large quantity of exterior fat that required much work to remove. It came with okay fries and the same decent green beans as the lamb.
  • Last place in this round went to the ling cod. It was boring. And when it cooled (which it did quickly) it became even more unexciting. Although it was served with potato slices, sauteed spinach, and bell peppers, these did nothing to improve our impression of the dish.


After our main course, we split the cheese plate. I can't tell you what cheeses they were because at least half of them the waiter said with the appropriate accent and therefore I couldn't understand them. But I can say the cheeses were good: very inventive and with unusual tastes. (Certainly better than the cheese plate at Rubicon.) However, it was spoiled by the accessories: the cheeses were served on an inappropriate vinaigrette salad. And the bread they provided with the cheese was the same bread as they served with the meal -- bread simply wrong for cheese tasting.


We had a sweet tooth this evening and ordered three desserts, all of which were presented very artistically. 

  • The handmade truffles were excellent. A cacoa powder outside with a rich soft interior, we had a serious disagreement over what to do with the extra one. This item also came with orange sugar cookies, about which nothing more needs to be said.
  • The warm chocolate cake was decent. Slightly dense, we thought it definitely needed to be more gooey. It was served with a compote of berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) and some vanilla ice cream, both of which we thought complemented the cake nicely.
  • The hazelnut mousse topped with roasted almond and sitting in a thin layer of melted chocolate was way too sweet for us. We thought the maple syrup tart from 1500 Hyde the week before was too sweet, but this was an order of magnitude worse. We desperately hoped the almonds or chocolate would tone down the mousse, but neither helped. Besides the sweetness, the cake was very light; we all felt it needed more substance. Despite the waiter letting the cake sit at our table for at least half an hour, we never finished it.


The waiter was a character: abrupt, yet informal, natural, and helpful. We enjoyed him. And in setting the appetizers on the table for sharing - a complicated feat since the tables are small and the restaurant isn't normally used for this -, he demonstrated an impressive skill at space optimization.


Some of us were heavily delayed in traffic (one and a half hours to get from Mountain View to SF), but the restaurant, while packed, was nice about it and managed to seat us within ten minutes upon our whole party arriving.


Original Announcement


This Wednesday at 8:00pm we'll head to Fringale, a French-Basque restaurant south of market. Like our other restaurants this month, it has a three-course dine about town price fix menu ($32); we'll do it if the dishes appeal to us.



Tell me if you are coming!


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