Coi and a celebrity chef cook-off

While David Gingrass reinvented his restaurant in the same location, Daniel Patterson has been developing his own culinary persona at a succession of three different spots near Jackson Square.

Last week at Coi, his current nine-table retreat, I floated through the daily changing 12-course menu ($115) and marveled at the poetic tension, the ebullient creativity and the pure sensuality of the food. Part performance art, part dinner, an evening at Coi stretches the imagination but not the stomach. Some dishes are exactly one bite. Others, a few more. But each is a complete little composition that engages all the senses. The orange yolk of a slow-cooked farm egg achieves the texture of jelly, under a white blanket of crème fraîche and California osetra caviar. Grilled zucchini terrine looks like an exquisite woven tapestry. It unravels in your mouth trailing flavor threads of smoke and fresh herbs. Patterson now has a place so small, he can work on every dish, so each meal becomes an act of self-expression.

Coi, 373 Broadway (near Montgomery St.), San Francisco; (415) 393-9000

Celebrity chef cook-off

Some of San Francisco’s liveliest chefs will face off at a benefit for the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes after-school programs. Women go up against men; TV chefs against restaurant chefs. Joey Altman, left, co-hosts with Tyler Florence. Attendees can indulge in Jack Falstaff cocktails, wine and tapas. The event is from 3 to 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at Jack Falstaff, 598 Second St., San Francisco.

For tickets starting at $100, call (415) 836-9239.

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