San Francisco, USA
April 11, 2018
Saison was the very first restaurant on the quest. It was ranked 37th in 2017 and dropped to 46th in 2018. It’s also a Michelin 3-star restaurant.
Jonathan and I went to Saison before he and Andy hatched this 50 by 50 scheme. He was embracing my "every 3-Star restaurant" idea, and had booked all four Michelin 3-star restaurants in San Francisco for the week we were there. I went to three of the four of them with him, missing out on one that was on the same night as a talk I was giving.
Saison was the second of the three 3-star restaurants we went to together on this trip. It boasted an eleven course tasting menu, with seats “in the kitchen.” In this particular case, "in the kitchen" meant we had a view of the kitchen, could see all the preparation, could hear them yell “Yes, Chef” every time a new order came in, but weren't actually in the kitchen. We enjoyed the show.
As Jonathan comments, "We noticed some overlap with the menu at Benu: the cod, some sea urchin, and, a glazed barbecued quail." He had a caviar option that I passed on. The plates were interesting and delicious. The quail was made in a way that I wasn't a fan of, but I recognize that that was a quirk of mine, and didn't reflect poorly on the experience.
I was, unsurprising, immensely grateful for, and more than a little overwhelmed by, how great the experience was.
Downside, we smelled like smoke afterward.