When the much-loved Mission District Commonwealth restaurant closed in 2019, San Francisco diners worried about what was next for the chef-owner Jason Fox. Good news, everyone — he’s back.
Fox now manages the San Francisco Proper Hotel’s dining programs, including its chic fine-dining restaurant, Villon. There, the chef’s contemporary and refined style of cooking is highlighted in the Liberty Farms duck main course. “We always try to respect classic cuisine, while looking to the future,” says Fox. “I think this dish is a perfect marriage of both worlds.”
A whole duck is highlighted with a glazed breast with lavender honey, simmered legs, a silky liver mousse and a full-bodied jus. The duck quartet is accompanied by blood oranges, mini radishes from Tucker Taylor (the former culinary gardener at the French Laundry) and foraged wild fennel, and an unexpected spicy finish (Szechuan pepper and cocoa nibs). It’s an ingenious and captivating dish that celebrates an exciting new chapter for one of the city’s most visionary chefs.
Wine pairings: Villon recommends Christina’s 2020 St. Laurent, as the soft tannins and fruity personality of the lighter-bodied Austrian red pair well with the duck. We’d also enjoy this dish with a juicy, medium-bodied Grenache from A Tribute to Grace, Santa Barbara County’s specialist for this underrated grape. Of course, duck and a sumptuous Russian River Valley pinot noir full of red fruit notes is a classic pairing. So consider a pinot noir from many of the top producers in this region, like Emeritus, Gary Farrell, or Moshin.
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