My friend Ben of Focus:Snap:Eat is always on top of the latest and most talked about San Francisco restaurants, so last month he suggested we check out The Morris over in Potrero Hill. The Morris has been getting a lot of hype from the media and one Eater article in particular sold us: 6 Reasons Why The Morris Is the Industry’s Favorite Opening of the Year.
Ben (Focus:Snap:Eat), Sandy (Foodhoe) and I arrived on a Thursday at 6pm and the restaurant was already nearly full. The space is small and dim, but polished. I loved the open kitchen. You can tell there was a lot of thought behind the details in the space, decor and table settings from the denim napkins to the engraved knife, and even to the projected movies in the restrooms. The setting would have been perfect if it weren't for the loud noise level forcing us to compete with others in order to have our own conversation.
The evening began with cocktails and a lovely charcuterie board of pate de campagne, spicy headcheese, duck liver mousse, and a rabbit terrine accompanied by pieces of toast, mustard, picked vegetables and pomegranate seeds.
Next up were small bites-- crispy pork trotters and chicken and foie gras dumplings in a dashi broth. I loved the crispy pork trotters, fun crispy exterior with rich tender meat served with aioli. The chicken and foie gras dumplings were very disappointing, the chicken was so dry that it resembled tuna and none of us tasted foie gras in our individual dumpling.
For our first course, we shared the trout crudo with green apple and almond and the beets with blue cheese and pistachio brittle. The trout crudo was overall pleasant, but the salmon pieces were too thick to chew. I absolutely hated the second dish, the beets were flavorless, the blue cheese was made into some kind of disgusting purée that was pungent and overpowering. I love blue cheese, but I didn't understand what was going on there. The menu is a bit deceiving in its listing of pistachio brittle as the three main ingredients because we barely even noticed it.
For our main course, we shared two dishes: the rock cod with pumpkin and chicories and their most popular dish the smoked muscovy duck over root vegetables.
The rock cod was cooked very nice and even had nice crispy skin, but unfortunately it lacked terribly in seasoning. I wasn't a fan of the pumpkin and chicories either-- the flavors just didn't work for me. It also didn't help that the vegetable purée underneath the cod looked like baby vomit.
The smoked duck was what we came for and after hearing so much about it, our expectations were high. The Morris brines their Muscovy duck for 24 hours and leave it to air-dry for four days before smoking. Overall, the smokey flavors of the duck were lovely and the skin was nice, on the crispy side. It was a huge disappointment for me that some cuts were either overdone or very hard to cut through (we all agreed they needed better knives), resulting in an unpleasant chewiness. I'll pass on the $48/$96 price tag and continue to smoke my own duck for a fraction of that price with a better texture.
Our meal ends with buckwheat donuts with a whisky creme anglaise and chocolate pudding with salty cookies, which we all enjoyed.
I really wanted to love the food, but too many things were off that night. I won't be back.
Read Ben's recap of our evening at The Morris here: http://focussnapeat.com/a-review-of-the-morris-in-san-francisco/