Citysearch Editorial Review. As one of only two East Bay restaurants to earn a prestigious Michelin star (the other is, of course, Chez Panisse), Commis sets high expectations for its $59 three-course prix fixe menu, prepared by star chef and Manresa alum James Syhabout. The small, austere dining room--blank white walls, dark gray tiled floor, black leather seats--can give the impression of a doctor's office, but the minimalist décor is meant to create a blank slate for the food: amuse bouches of housemade shiso leaf soda, for example, or a tiny poached egg garnished with malt, date and sweet onion cream. The prix fixe menu itself offers two to four choices for each course, ranging from a roast sirloin cap of beef and rib with parsnip milk and wild anise-enriched pearl barley to a black mission fig tart with lavender-almond beeswax-scented ice cream. The avant garde cooking and un-homey atmosphere may seem a tad pretentious for Piedmont Avenue, but it's precisely this deviation from the Chez Panisse-dominated restaurant culture (and Shyabout's impressive artistry in the kitchen) that makes Commis a must-try in the East Bay.
Ok, I know Commis is Michelin rated...but they lost me on the dessert...
I went there with a date on Christmas Eve;
The prefixed menu was lovely. The food was amazing and the staff were just attentive enough. The lemongrass soda was delicious.
My date and I both ordered different things, and a matching wine selection. So, they poured us each a different glass of wine at every course.
Where Commis fell short was dessert. I am a big dessert fan. I had an apple tart that was lacking. It had the feel of a frozen puff-pastry. We ordered something else with pumpkin in it. Both desserts were good - and we ate them - but they were not the kind of desserts I dream of. And I do dream of desserts; on occasion.
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