Sponsored link
Friday, December 2, 2022

Sponsored link

CultureFood & DrinkExploring the epic chef's tasting menu at Luce

Exploring the epic chef’s tasting menu at Luce

Nine stunning courses, paired with surprisingly simple wines, showed the restaurant was back in the game with a new chef.

It was big news in the haute cuisine scene when it was announced that Chef Rogelio Garcia was taking over the kitchen at top spot Luce. It was a very rare instance of a Latino chef being tapped to run a lauded restaurant, working his way up from dishwasher after he came here from his native Mexico. He came up under superstar chefs Traci Des Jardins, Michael Mina, and Thomas Keller, so he was a perfect choice to helm the restaurant—located in the the InterContinental San Francisco—which Dominique Crenn launched in 2010, and which maintained a Michelin star rating for the next 10 years under Daniel Corey.

That’s an extra-stellar resume and restaurant provenance. Garcia found himself immediately navigating some choppy waters, however, as the restaurant was closed for both the pandemic and then a drawn-out remodel. Now Luce is back, tremendously, from the looks and taste of things. I was invited to cruise though the epic nine course chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings, a four-hour journey on the rainiest night of the year. Since it happened to also be our anniversary, I took my Hunky Beau along for some apocalyptic-weather romance.

There’s some awesome food porn in the slideshow above, but here are some notes. The food was excellently done with no hint of pretentiousness or overreach—Chef Rogelio even came out and shaved the truffles himself. (OK, that was a bit precious). I was truly surprised by the wine selection: Luce is billed as a “wine restaurant,” which steels you for some deep and wild global cuts, but what you get are extraordinarily simple, even familiar wines from within 100 miles. That allowed the dishes to shine brighter, while grounding the experience, thoughtfully, in the here and now. Other simple, homey gestures included use of ingredients like pearl onions, buckwheat, and Calrose rice, which also kept the plates relatable.

Speaking of plates, the dishware was a real show-stopper here, with stunning pottery from the chef’s personal collection giving each presentation a hip showcase vibe. I asked where he sourced it, but he was giving up no secrets that night. The restaurant remodel itself, handsomely wooded and casually lit, plays with the international hotel vibe while not feeling too commercial. You don’t have to splurge on the whole tasting menu, and there’s a sweet cocktail bar right outside the restaurant as well if you want to check everything out.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.

Sponsored link

Top reads

New study shows private market can’t and won’t create workforce housing in SF

The city's own analysis shows that the entire Yimby narrative is based on a fundamental economic falsehood.

Supes approve killer robots, 8-3

With the national press watching, even progressives vote for a disturbing escalation in police power.

A Hella Bay Area Gift Guide

The dopest gifts from SF and beyond, by local makers and artists, that are sure to score at holiday time.

More by this author

‘The Lost Art of Dreaming’: Power of queer-trans reverie, now in real life

'We need expansive imagination, now more than ever' says Sean Dorsey of his dance troupe's latest, finally on stage

Two press play: Pianists Adam Tendler and Jenny Lin cue up ‘Philip Glass Mixtape’

Virtuosos bring timeline-hopping evening of composer's work to Herbst, with 'the energy of a DJ set.'

Arts Forecast: Hip-Hop Dance Fest, Amoeba Anniversary, Non Stop Bhangra Diwali, more

Sō Percussion, Sip Shop Eat, SF Coffee Fest, Manos Lindas, Union Square Skating Rink, and more to do this weekend.
Sponsored link

You might also likeRELATED