Following Benu's ascension into the four-star sphere of Michael Bauer's gastronomic Paradiso, Pacific Venue's Quince also rose to heavenly heights over the weekend, joining the small list of four-star restaurants in the Bay Area as decided by SF Chronicle's revered food critic. And San Francisco is all abuzz! Well, not really; but inside-baseball foodie circles are, and that's good enough for us. We also live for the instances when Bauer thoughtfully champions or annihilates a place. And his updated review of Quince is nothing short of breathtaking.
By my last visit, I had successfully mourned the passing of Myth and embraced the emergence of Quince. It’s almost like building a new relationship after a partner dies; you never forget, but you come to treasure the new. Given more time and seasoning, Quince could be the love of my life.
He even compares Chef Michael Tusk's menu to Mozart's "Paris Symphony," proclaiming that "[e]ach course builds on the last." Explaining his four-star process, Bauer notes that the rare quadruple ranking "don't just happen," no matter how feted the chef. It takes time and careful maturity for a restaurant to get into this cozy club. What does he love about the well-aged Quince? He adores the blue lobster, some sort of dish with green garlic, and most importantly (for us, anyway), the new look that boasts a 16-seat lounge and 10-seat bar and "a partition that partially separates it from the 65-seat dining room" making the space "even more luxurious and indulgent, augmented by impressive artwork, beautiful flower arrangements and spectacular plates and table adornments."
However. He didn't like the desserts and said that smears of chocolate on a plate look like skid marks of fecal matter. (Hee! Poo.) But really, who needs a dessert at meal's end? Children and the PBR-swilling sheep who line up for fucking ice cream outside Bi-Rite Creamery, that's who. And a bad dessert doesn't take anything away from Bauer's new love. And with that, Quince joins eight other joints with four stars. (If you're keeping score, the list includes Benu, Chez Panisse, Coi, Cyrus, The French Laundry, La Folie, Manresa, and Meadowood.)
Speaking of Quince, your SFist editor recently forced associate editor Andrew Dalton to have our monthly editorial meeting at the Pacific Avenue restaurant. (Our soul cries out for the occasional crumb of glitz and/or glamour. We can only go to so many bars on Divis or in the Mission, Andrew! ) We both enjoyed the beer and cheese pairing, which was excellent and surprisingly colorful. Giving his own personal review of Quince while using the toilet, Dalton tweeted the following that night: "I wanted to take a bath in the bathroom. It smelled like Macy's at the holidays."
Quince: 470 Pacific Ave (at Montgomery), SF; 415-775-8500