Review: Foreign Cinema.

Foreign Cinema has been a staple restaurant in the Mission District in San Francisco for almost two decades now.

Even though Foreign Cinema has been around forever, I’ve never dined here. With its charming interior and outdoor patio area, it’s a great restaurant to dine with a large group of friends for dinner or brunch on the weekends. The menu consists of items from the raw bar with various oysters, shrimp cocktail, and lobster, and Californian inspired cuisine.

We started off with a few appetizers to share.

Antipasto of Charentaise Melon, Country Ham, Cress, and Korean Chili (7.5/10).

Lavender Baked Goat Cheese in a Fig Leaf with Tapenade, Mission Figs, and Toasted Baguette (7/10).

Grilled Monterey Calamari with Mojo Rojo, Chickpeas, Cilantro Aioli, and Tortilla Chips (7/10).

Out of the three appetizers, my favorite was the charentaise melon with country ham, a classic Italian pairing. Juicy chunks of sweet melon with thinly sliced melt in your mouth salty ham with a drizzle of aromatic olive oil, peppery cress, and a hint of heat from the Korean chili. The baked goat cheese was decent but nothing special and the baguette toasts were beyond “toasty”. The final appetizer of grilled calamari was cooked well, tender, but the tortilla chips on the side served no purpose and quite frankly didn’t taste that good.

Bavette Steak with Cocoa-Ajwaan Rub, Spinach, Cabernet Butter, and Frites (6.5-7/10).

New Bedford Scallops with Brentwood Corn, Chanterelles, Cherry Tomatoes, and Breadcrumbs (7/10).

The two main dishes were once again decent but uninspiring. The bavette steak was slightly over seasoned and the side of frites were a sad excuse. The scallops were nicely browned and still tender in the middle served with sweet fresh corn, vibrant cherry tomatoes, and herb breadcrumbs on top.

Braised Peach with Brûléed Meringue and Blueberry Ice Cream (7.5/10).

Crème Brûlée with Peach Macaron (6.5/10).

Of course we ended the meal with a few desserts. The braised peach with blueberry ice cream was actually really delicious. Succulent peach with a nice scoop of creamy ice cream served with gooey brûléed meringue, whipped cream, and crumbly biscuit on the side. However, the crème brûlée was not up to par. While the actual custard was fine, the sugar on top was beyond caramelized resulting in a bitter flavor.

While Foreign Cinema has an extensive menu that’s constantly changing, I felt that the dishes lacked imagination and excitement. Even if some of the dishes were simple, they weren’t executed to the highest standard. Therefore my rating is a 6.5-7/10.

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