During my short stay in the Bay Area for law school reunion, I made a point to visit Lord Stanley among many outstanding new restaurants in San Francisco. Being featured in the top 10 best new restaurants list in Bon Appetit magazine was really the first time that I paid attention to this place that I initially thought was serving British cuisine (ha!). As I found out more about this restaurant, though, I sensed something special coming out from the kitchen led by a husband-and-wife duo of Carrie and Rupert Blease. Aside from their shining pedigree (having worked at world renowned restaurants like Blue Hill and Per Se), I was hoping to see how they develop a California-meets-European type menu. I’ve always been a fan of California style cuisine thanks to its emphasis on fresh ingredients and clean flavor that makes you feel healthy and satisfied at the same time. My girlfriend, who later joined me on the California trip, and I had one night in San Francisco to spend before going back to New York City, so we had an opportunity to check out what Lord Stanley has been up to. Overall, I was very pleased with the elegant dinner here.
The way to go at Lord Stanley is the seven-course tasting menu (at relatively moderate price of $83 per person) to fully explore the culinary vision of the kitchen. The first course was underwhelming; I didn’t realize that there was poached oyster buried beneath the pile of horseradish and red romaine that was a bit on the bitter side. On the other hand, I had a lot to like about cabbage that came next, accompanied by house buttermilk and uni “bottarga” for very balanced flavor and texture.
The subsequent savory dishes all came out strong as well. Gently cooked scallop worked wonderfully with curried almond and butternut squash, while I really enjoyed the cured duck leg in celery and apple tea broth for its soothing aroma. The best one, however, was clearly the wagyu beef with supplement of Burgundy truffle. The meat was more or less perfectly cooked, and wasn’t overly seasoned to my liking. Add a hint of truffle, and this turned out be one of the best meat dishes I’ve had this year! Following a light refresher of pear sorbet, the dessert of dark chocolate pudding with black sesame and toasted rice was delightfully sweet.
Getting a reservation at Lord Stanley seems pretty challenging, so I highly recommend advance booking. The dining space has trendy yet welcoming vibe that makes it an ideal place for a date or a casual dinner with friends and family. In addition to the tasting menu, there is also beverage pairing option at $57 per person which we did include in our dining experience. Unfortunately, the wine selection in the pairing seemed a bit more skewed toward natural / organic wines, which neither of us really like in general. I really appreciated the fact that Lord Stanley’s kitchen has this singular focus on bringing sophisticated and well-executed food but achieving that goal without a ton of pretentiousness or being subject to particular culinary boundaries. Their approach to food, also derived from the California motto, is something I would love to see evolve more over time in the Bay Area and hopefully in New York City too.
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 9.0/10
- Ingredients: 9.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 2065 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Telephone: (415) 872-5512