Goodbye Foie Gras, Hello Txoko

Today is July 1, 2012 and in California, restaurants can no longer sell foie gras, fatty duck liver. The law was signed eight years ago by the then Governator. I’m sure he had his share of foie. On Friday night, a group of five us had something like a final farewell to foie. We dined at Txoko, a Basque restaurant in San Francisco. Txoko is located in North Beach at the famous corner of Broadway and Kearney where Enrico’s used to be.

Txoko had been offering four course foie menus every Wednesday for the past few months, but I wasn’t able to get a reservation. Txoko’s menu still had a foie appetizer and a foie dessert when we were there. We shared a carafe of sangria that was delicious. I can’t recall the last time I had such a good sangria. This one had a little sparkle to it.

We ordered two of the “liver and onions”. The foie on this appetizer was pan seared just the way I like it. It laid on top of a creamy onion purée. Each foie was somewhere between 2 and 3 ounces, which is not very much for each of us. However, it was heavenly! The onion purée was a great compliment.

Three of my friends each ordered a bowl of their corn soup. I had a few spoonfuls and it was sweet and delightful. To continue our family style dinner, we shared the mushroom arroz, the rib eye steak, and the wood oven roasted chicken. The latter two were big plates you had to wait at least 45 minutes for. The mushroom arroz was like a risotto and came with fava beans, goat cheese, and shitake mushrooms. My friends seemed to have enjoyed this more than I did.

The rib eye was massive and came out perfectly cooked for me, a little rarer than medium rare. It was nice that there were two sauces because I preferred the bordelaise sauce over the chimichurri.

We basically had a whole chicken that was cut up into pieces. I chose a drumstick and it was tender, juicy, had crispy skin, and a wonderful flavor. One friend thought the chicken was dry so I gave her a piece of dark meat and she enjoyed it. Both big plates came with some sides of mushrooms, potatoes, and other root vegetables to compliment the meats.

We had a little room for dessert, so we had two orders of foie gras ice cream and one chocolate torte to share. I had been intrigued by the ice cream. Two friends hated it and wanted to spit it out, two friends thought it was interesting and okay, and I loved it. It had the texture of sorbet and the flavor of butterscotch. It was interesting how the ratings on this was all over the place.

The chocolate torte was good. Since I was the only one having the ice cream, I let the other four fight over the torte.

The ban on foie gras has encouraged more people to eat the delicacy than they probably would have including myself. I feel like I got my fix and won’t be traveling out of California just to have it. Although we say goodbye to foie gras, I will say hello to Txoko. It’s nice to have a local basque restaurant around as well as a tasty sangria.