Campton Place restaurant is one of those places I've read about but never seem to go. Maybe that's because it's in the Taj Hotel and in an out-of-the-way location on Stockton Street. However, now that I've been there, return visits are definitely on the horizon!
What finally got Marvelena and me to go there was a special tasting menu at a significantly reduced price offered through OpenTable with five courses. I'll walk you through the courses and you'll know all you need to know about the menu to decide to go there soon.
But even before the first course, we were presented with a Chinese soup spoon with a piece of organic cucumber, topped with a scrumptious piece of white sushi dotted with Ponzu sauce. It was one delicious bite!
Also before the first course a champagne cart was presented by our waiter with three different types of the bubbly, ranging in price from $23-55 per glass. I’m afraid we had to give that a big pass. In general, alcohol is expensive here with premium bourbons going for $15/shot and standard ones going for about $11. Better drink at your local pub beforehand.
Now for the food:
- Course 1: Summer Salad with Flame-Broiled Shrimp and Mint Yogurt Sauce. Salad ingredients were succulent and supremely fresh. Besides the shrimp were white peaches and cucumber and mustard leaves, along with crunchy broiled shallots that brought the dish together completely and added just the right amount of extra flavor and saltiness to the dressing.
- Course 2: Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Curry Coconut Cream Sauce. This is some of the best lobster I've eaten in a long time. Two of the pieces presented were slightly less cooked than the other two, and each preparation complimented the other nicely. They were not overpowered at all by the light curry which brought out the seafood flavor. Accompanying the lobster in the large bowl were shaved hearts of palm, snap peas, potato balls, cilantro and a basmati rice crisp.
- Course 3: Olive Oil Poached Alaskan Halibut with cuttlefish gnocchi and Beans. This was some of the best halibut I've eaten in years, better even than fresh halibut in Alaska. A lot of the reason was the poaching. The fish was tender and flaky, not overcooked in the slightest. By contrast, the cuttlefish gnocchi had a heavy taste and for me they were definitely the low point of the meal. However, they did not go uneaten and did provide an interesting contrast to the mild halibut.
- Course 4: Angus Steak with Summer Beans. By choice, the chef serves this beef medium rare although it was a bit closer to medium than to rare. That's actually how I like it so no problem there. But, if you want a really red center, go for rare. The beef is first baked in the oven then sautéed over a hot flame to finish it off. Accompanying the steak were two preparations of summer beans. One was the whole bean with some spices and slivered hazelnuts. The other was a pure with different seasonings. Each was so different from the other that it didn't seem at all like eating the same legume.
- Course 5: Caramelized sautéed chocolate Cake with sherbet. As good as this sounded, we opted for the cheese course which the chef was kind enough to exchange. Cheeses were excellent and served with fresh walnut bread. The selection ranged from Oregon to Wisconsin, to France, California and Spain. I chose the Brillat-Savarin, a triple cream cheese from France, and Petit-Agour, a semi firm cheese from the Pyrenees. That triple cream cheese is still in my dreams. Marvelena had a Montenegro goat cheese from Spain and the same Brillat-Savarin, and Petit-Agour.
Based on this meal, Campton Place absolutely deserves its excellent reputation. We will definitely return, and we may rethink some of our other favorites in the “fine dining” category of San Francisco restaurants.
340 Stockton St (between Post St & Campton Pl)
San Francisco, CA