Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on March 02, 2024
San Francisco's Frances Restaurant Unveils New Culinary Delights by Chef Ricky Chu Ahead of 15th AnniversarySource: Google Street View

The bustling dining scene at Frances, nestled in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, has a fresh new vibe, thanks to Ricky Chu, its newly minted chef de cuisine. After a nine-year tenure honing his skills at Frances and its sibling establishment Octavia, Chu is bringing his culinary prowess front and center at this local favorite, set to celebrate a significant 15-year milestone later this year.

Chu's promotion, meant to bring a revitalized touch to the Frances experience, appears to have done just that, with patrons now enjoying an updated menu that pays homage to the restaurant's staples, while also injecting a hearty dose of innovation. Despite Frances's brief hiatus during the pandemic, spanning 27 months, the eatery has bounced back with Chu at the helm, ready to dish out an array of delectable offerings SFist caught wind of a few standout dishes including a silken celeriac soup adorned with croutons and a kick of horseradish, a refreshingly tangy green strawberry kimchi atop fried parsnip cakes, and a smoked pork chop that all but promises a taste of heavenly indulgence.

Never lagging behind, the wine list at Frances, helmed by the certified sommelier Iris Rowlee, continues to impress with a curated selection from local and European vineyards. Although the restaurant's inventive wine-by-the-ounce program seems to have reached its twilight, Chu is reviving another favorite, bacon beignets, projecting a return of this crowd-pleaser to the menu by spring, staffing allowing, according to a post on Frances's Instagram page.

"Ricky has been an indispensable member of our team and has proven himself a leader for both Frances and Octavia throughout that time," shared Executive Chef and owner Melissa Perello. According to Perello, watching Chu's ascent in the culinary world has been a point of pride for the restaurant, which prides itself on dishes that highlight the best in local produce.

With the buzz of a tried and tested neighborhood jewel gearing up for a celebratory year, Frances's patrons can anticipate the continued evolution of its menu — where seasoned favorites meet the bright innovation of Ricky Chu's culinary vision. Fans far and wide will be delighted to rediscover the intimate and fulfilling dining experience that Frances, located at 3870 17th Street, has cultivated over the years, all while savoring the new tastes and aromas that Chu brings to the table.