Chaya Brassiere: Where Japan and France Meets

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French and Japanese cuisine merges together in Chaya Brassiere, a restaurant located along the Embarcadero that overlooks San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.  Through Chaya’s big clear windows and patio, you can see the 25,000 LED lights shimmer and pulse in different patterns as you enjoy your dinner.  For everybody working in the Financial District, it’s a great place to come to considering that happy hour lasts from 4 until closing time M-F, and 5 until closing time on the weekends.

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The restaurant is spacious; a full bar lines the walls to my left while seating is on the right, complete with a pristine open kitchen at the back.  A bigger dining area lies farther in, where sushi chefs diligently slice pieces of fish to make sushi at the sushi bar.

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Coming here not too hungry, I skipped appetizer and jumped straight to the main course to leave room for dessert.

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For myself, I ordered the Spiced Honey Glazed Duck Breast, served with winter root phyllo, Bloomsdale spinach, butternut squash puree, hazelnuts, and cranberry-orange relish.  Two thick slices of duck rests on a bed of creamy butternut squash puree, its skin seared to a light crisp that left a crunch before you bite into the tender meat of the duck.  The cranberry-orange relish was refreshing—the sweetness didn’t overpower the duck but rather complimented it.  Forked together with the hazelnuts, the texture was delightful.  The stir-fried Bloomsdale on the side was simple but flavorful as it was slightly cooked with garlic.  The winter root phyllo, or veggies wrapped up as a spring roll was light and not too heavy, but it was nothing to rave about.

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My friend ordered the Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops, in which three giant scallops were placed on a bed of butternut squash-mascarpone risotto.  Around the scallops were tempura mitake mushrooms and pickled fennel with lobster fondue.

The scallops were soft, sweet, and cooked to perfection. It’s difficult to cook scallops to the right consistency since it’s easy to overcook until the meat becomes tough and stiff.  However, the center of these scallop were still slightly translucent.  Perfection!  The mascarpone gave the dish more of a heavy flavor in contrast with the light sweet taste of the scallops. The maitake mushrooms were fresh and delicious, but I think it would’ve tasted better seared or stir-fried since the tempura batter ended up being a bit soggy.

Dessert was what I was looking forward to this whole meal—I just had to order two because they had so many options on their menu! I ordered the Warm Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding and the Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches.

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The Warm Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding was delish! It was definitely like eating croissant and bread at the same time, or a chocolate-croissant. There were light layers of croissant but at the same time a denser taste of the bread pudding mixed with warm chocolate, fresh out of the oven. This is a personal favorite of mine as well as a popular dessert.

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The Salted Caramel Ice cream Sandwiches were three generous scoops of salted caramel ice cream sandwiched between spiced oatmeal cookies. The ice cream sandwiches were hard to eat because the cookies were not as chewy as I thought and were hard to bite into while the ice cream was so soft it oozed out of the cookie.  I had to split the cookie and scoop some ice cream on top of it to eat it. The salted caramel ice cream had only a slight salted caramel taste that was masked easily by the strongly spiced oatmeal cookies.

While overall the meal was delicious, I thought it was a bit overpriced at $28 per plate.  However, if you’re looking for a meticulously prepared meal to share with friends against one of San Francisco’s best night sceneries, Chaya Brassiere is the place to go.

-Bernice

Chaya Brassiere
132 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105

http://www.thechaya.com

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