Eating Out

Javier Rodriguez of El Papagayo at Turntable San Francisco

After a couple successful years, Lord Stanley’s rotating guest chef concept Turntable is coming to a close. Chef-owners Rupert and Carrie Blease are bringing Lord Stanley back with current chef de cuisine Nathan Matkowsky and pastry chef Harper Zapf leading a new rotating Californian-French menu. If the food is anything like the incredible menu Nathan created back in May, we are in for a treat!

The last Turntable residency will conclude at the end of September. I’ll be recapping my last few meals at Turntable, starting with the incredible menu from Javier Rodriguez in July.

Chef restauranteur Javier Rodriguez, alongside his wife Lucía Roland, have created El Papagayo and many other successful restaurants, cafes, a boutique hotel, and even their own coffee roastery in Córdoba, Argentina. Chef Javier’s style is influenced by his global experiences cooking in lauded places such as Noma in Copenhagen, Tetsuya’s in Sydney, and Restaurant Andre in Singapore.

The menu Javier created for Turntable reflects his diverse experiences, masterfully mixing flavors and inspiration from multiple continents in the same dish. Each course was a vibrant feast for both eyes and mouth. And I was such a fan of the rustic, yet elevated presentation.

The meal started off strong with Javier’s take on the iconic hot yolk and cold cream dish of L’Arpege fame. I dined at L’Arpege many years prior, and that dish was one of the rare few I enjoyed at the Paris institution. Javier’s version was delicious, and unlike the inspiration, the meal only got better.

A stunning beef tartare and smoked eggplant dish could also be an art study of the circular form. Vibrantly rare Mt. Lassen trout and roe were served in bath of apple gazpacho. Following the delightful chilled starters were warm and comforting dishes – a fluffy, charred pita-like bread and humita (creamy mashed corn).

Entreés were a master class in balancing sweet and savory. The grilled sea bass was a treat with hazelnut butter and white chocolate cauliflower purée. Duck breast asado was accompanied with seasonal roast peach and tangy vermouth gastrique.

And the desserts! The arroz con leche with cinnamon ice cream hid bits of braised artichoke. Parsley jam was a hit in a painted trio alongside pumpkin and roasted walnut milk. And a cute panqueque with dulce de leche and strawberries rounded out the meal.

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