SAISON, San Francisco, 7/30/16

Chef/Owner Joshua Skenes
Chef/Owner Joshua Skenes

This is a repeat visit to Saison, but in a different season than our usual.  As always the service is flawless and  Mark Bright’s wine selections bring out something different and wonderful in your price range. Michelin three star Chef Joshua Skenes was in the kitchen and when not supervising or inspecting he was cooking. It is thoughtful food and everyone is served a tasting menu, with the only changes being from preferences or allergies. Bring your major credit card, though, as it is now known as the most expensive dinner in the Bay area.

Chef watches over all
Chef watches over all

 

This evening’s menu started with an infusion of herbs from the Saison garden. It had a pleasant taste.

Infusion of herbs from their garden
Infusion of herbs from their garden

 

Moving into the next course you are served a bowl of custard that is then topped with caviar from Idaho. It is lovely combination of tastes and accompanied by a warm biscuit that had been basted with pork fat. Wow! is all you need to say about this little bit of heaven.

Saison reserve caviar, cured with their smoked salt
Saison reserve caviar, cured with their smoked salt
hot biscuits
hot biscuits
Frankie found a fish
Frankie found a fish

 

Amberjack which has been marinated in soy sauce and other ingredients is next. It is served with an array of gooseberries –  fresh still in the husk, dried and the fried flowers of the plant. The fresh ones have a sweetness with a bit of grapefruit essence. The fish was a success and the berries a really fun accompaniment.

Amberjack course
Amberjack course
Amberjack
Amberjack
Gooseberries fresh, dried and flowers of
Gooseberries fresh, dried and flowers of
wine
wine
lots of action in the kitchen
lots of action in the kitchen

 

The sea urchin seems to have become a standard and with good reason. It is served on a piece of grilled bread that is sticky, gooey and crispy on top. This is decadently fun and delicious.

Sea urchin and grilled bread
Sea urchin and grilled bread
from the back
from the back
another angle
another angle
Frankie found some nice towels to rest on
Frankie found some nice towels to rest on

 

A new dish was the Koshihikari rice from the Sacramento delta served with a broth of grilled rice. With this dish you are given a number of accompaniments which you can combine for various tastes and textures.  The options include smoked trout, smoked trout skin, roast cauliflower, shiso and chrysanthemum greens, pickled vegetables and herbs and flowers. Overall it is a nice set of flavors and textures but mild.

rice in a grilled rice broth
rice in a grilled rice broth
fish
fish
greens
greens
more accompaniments
more accompaniments
Roe and roast cauliflower
Roe and roast cauliflower
crisp skin
crisp skin
pickled vegetable
pickled vegetable
pickled vegetables
pickled vegetables
Frankie and the table flowers
Frankie and the table flowers

 

The radish is served in different ways in one bowl – fermented, poached and raw. After presentation it is covered with clarified butter. It is another mild dish until you dip the pieces in the butter. It makes them come alive.

Radish, the whole plant, our butter
Radish, the whole plant, our butter
underneath
underneath
Frankie found a shelf of goodies
Frankie found a shelf of goodies

 

The black cod has been grilled and is served with a yogurt and citrus leaves sauce. The cod picked up some nice smoke tastes and is wonderfully moist. The sauce reminds me of some I’ve had in Thai restaurants. It is a delicious course.

Black cod, grilled over the coals, sauce of yogurt and citrus leaves
Black cod, grilled over the coals, sauce of yogurt and citrus leaves
as plated
as plated
F
Frankie liked the plate
wine
wine

 

The hairy pig is a Mangalitsa, the Kobe beef of pork. It is covered with a sauce of grilled fat and accompanied by a dish of herbs and flowers.  The meat has been seasoned and is spicy and juicy. They also serve it with a bowl of hot sauce that added a bit of barbecue essence to me, but it wasn’t really needed even though it was quite tasty.  The meat is absolutely delicious and the herbs added a diverse set of flavors.

Hairy pig
Hairy pig
pork
pork
Frankie checked for catnip in the herbs and flowers
Frankie checked for catnip in the herbs and flowers
hot sauce
hot sauce
Frankie was glad to note the scizzors were for the greens not her claws
Frankie was glad to note the scizzors were for the greens not her claws

 

The grilled bones of the pork are turned into a broth. This simple offering has an amazing flavor.

A bouillon made of the grilled bones
A bouillon made of the grilled bones
Scott was busy
Chef Scott was busy
Frankie was getting the wines confused
Frankie was getting the wines confused

 

Ice cream is served with their smoked caramel sauce and topped with crunchy toasted cocoa nibs. The crunchies add a slight salt component that serve to intensify the delightful taste of the dish.

Ice cream and caramel, cooked in the fireplace
Ice cream and caramel, cooked in the fireplace
as plated
as plated
Counter/stove has their name on it
Counter/stove has their name on it
hanging herbs
hanging herbs
Frankie checked out the purse holder
Frankie checked out the purse holder

 

Fruits and tea end the meal. One fruit has been seen before, the dreamsicle is an orange filled with ice cream and some chunks of orange toward the bottom. It is nice. The alpine strawberries are the other fruit and they are coated with a sweet syrup and served with a bowl of sweetened whipped cream. They are scrumptious in their own right but equally delicious when dipped in the cream.  The buckwheat tea ends the meal. It’s a full circle to start and end with tea.

"dreamsicle"
“dreamsicle”
Frankie wanted to see what was in the orange
Frankie wanted to see what was in the orange
strawberries and whipped cream
strawberries and whipped cream
close up of strawberries
close up of strawberries (white ones are also perfectly ripe)
Frankie checked out the strawberries
Frankie checked out the strawberries
Joe Weaver, Captain, and Frankie
Joe Weaver, Captain, and Frankie
That's a lot of copper pots
That’s a lot of copper pots
Inside
Inside
Frankie thought the cream bowl was just her size
Frankie thought the cream bowl was just her size
Pouring the tea
Pouring the tea
tea
tea
Mark Bright, Co-Owner and Wine Director and Frankie
Mark Bright, Co-Owner and Wine Director and Frankie

 

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