Saison, San Francisco, 3/13/15

IMG_1633What a place, what a meal! We were going to try their new chef’s counter but the Sous Chef was injured and so Joshua Skenes had to be in the main kitchen. However on Fri and Sat nights all eat the Discovery tasting menu so it was none-the-less an over the top menu. We opted to not have their wine pairing and instead Mark Bright, co-owner and wine guy, chose several half bottles to accompany things and then through in several glasses of stuff we ‘just had to try.’

bar area
bar area
kitchen infull swing
kitchen in full swing
Joshua Skenes, chef and c0-owner of Saison
Joshua Skenes, chef and c0-owner of Saison

He knows how to win my heart and loyalty. (It helps that we’ve been several times.) Besides the 2 owners there was just one familiar face in the crowd of workers so many things had changed a good bit since last year, which is positive in my book and obviously in Michelin’s who elevated them to 3 star status last fall.

They have now bought their own farm so there are more greens, vegetables and milk products as well as their own poultry. Watching the kitchen is like watching a symphony orchestra perform -each person has their task at which they are hugely proficient. Many of the tastes are subtle but there is an underlying freshness and quality to the tastes. Some are just plain outstanding though, like the sea urchin on toast. Each bite of that was a little bit of heaven. Each course is presented in such a beautiful fashion that you almost hate to disturb it.  You’ll also eat some stuff you never thought about eating like sea cucumber ribs, which were mild, but the chicharron made from their skin was scrumptious. I loved the fire roasted brussels and cabbage – what a nice new spin on those. And then there was the duck that was the best we’ve ever had. I of course went crazy about the caramel sauce on the cream and so they sent me home with 2 bottle of it. That’s the kind of place this is – a unique evening of edible bliss.

tea with herbs from their garden
tea with herbs from their garden
tea cup
tea cup
Anaheim peppers preserved in the wood burning oven with buttermilk
Anaheim peppers preserved in the wood burning oven with buttermilk
Caviar, plum, asparagus and bacon
Caviar, plum, asparagus and bacon
First several courses called for chopsticks
First several courses called for chopsticks
wine
wine
Black cod, grilled mushrooms and pine bouillon
Black cod, grilled mushrooms and pine bouillon
Lobster warmed over the coals, Meyer lemon and broth from the shells
Lobster warmed over the coals, Meyer lemon and broth from the shells
Battle creek trout with its skin and roe
Battle creek trout with its skin and roe
Abalone grilled over the embers, sauce of the liver and capers, grilled pork jowl. Topped with seaweed
Abalone grilled over the embers, sauce of the liver and capers, grilled pork jowl. Topped with seaweed
as plated
as plated
Live Spot prawn and its roe with salted plum sauce
Live Spot prawn and its roe with salted plum sauce
close up of prawn
close up of prawn
Sea urchin and liquid toast
Sea urchin and liquid toast
as plated
as plated
Seaweeds in seaweed vinegar
Seaweeds in seaweed vinegar
as plated
as plated
wine
wine
Sea cucumber, the ribs roasted in the fire, sauce of the innards with a chicharon made of the skin (separate photo)
Sea cucumber, the ribs roasted in the fire, sauce of the innards with a chicharon made of the skin (separate photo)
as plated
as plated
Chicharon of the sea cucumber skin
Chicharon of the sea cucumber skin
as presented
as presented
Dungeness crab with seaweed and cardoon
Dungeness crab with seaweed and cardoon
inside
inside
one of the few chefs still there since last visit
one of the few chefs still there since last visit
Brussels and cabbages blistered in the fire
Brussels and cabbages blistered in the fire
as presented
as presented
wine
wine
Fire in the sky beet: pressure cooked beet stuffed with bone marrow and hung over the fire several days
Fire in the sky beet: pressure cooked beet stuffed with bone marrow and hung over the fire several days
as presented
as presented
wine
wine
Savory duck liver toffee with milk, bread and beer
Savory duck liver toffee with milk, bread and beer
Muscovy duck grilled near the fire and salad
Muscovy duck grilled near the fire and salad
Duck bouillon made from the bones of the previous course
Duck bouillon made from the bones of the previous course
presentation of beignets
presentation of beignets
wine
wine
Beignets
Beignets
Cheese and honey to eat with beignets
Cheese and honey to eat with beignets
Milk from their cow with caramel (I had extra!)
Milk from their cow with caramel (I had extra!)
Buckwheat tea with citrus and twig
Buckwheat tea with citrus and twig
Frankie got thirsty!
Frankie got thirsty!
Buttermilk ice cream presentation
Buttermilk ice cream presentation
Inside ice cream with citrus flavor
Inside ice cream with citrus flavor

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