Saison

uni, toast, saison, michelin, SF
MODERN FRENCH | MICHELIN ***
SAN FRANCISCO
Nestled in the heart of SoMa SF, behind the most unassuming brick and mortar facade, sits the kitchen of Joshua Skenes. Saison, French for "season", was just named 37th on the World's 50 Best, and has held onto it's 3 Michelin Stars since 2014. That's quite a feat. After the 4 hour meal, I couldn't agree more with the accolades.
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
We had front row seats to the action. The sommelier poured us a glass of their 2010 Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus. And I lost myself somewhere between the earthy Champagne, the 70's rock playlist, and the captivating dance of the sous chefs as they gracefully skirted about the open kitchen. Everyone had a role to play. Some were prepping, some were cooking, some were plating. Every finished plate was brought over to the head Chef for final sign off. The meticulousness was inspiring.
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, Caviar, Spinach, michelin, SF, fine dining

Saison Private Batch Caviar

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner

Tea with fresh herbs and flowers from the garden

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner

Turbot Sashimi, Turbot Ribs, Fried flowers, Physalis

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
The Sea Urchin Toast was undoubtedly one of the standout dishes of the night. The sticky sweet tartine toast cradling the delicate uni worked together in the most wonderful way. Every bite was sheer unadulterated decadence.
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner

"Brassicas 88.8". Textures of Brassicas, Green Garlic Custard

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner

Radish, Clarified Butter

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner

Squab, Pickled Bitter Greens, Biscuits, Honey Butter

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Smoked Ice Cream, Salted Caramel
There's something magical about a deep dark caramel that has been pushed just past it's limits before burning. This caramel was exactly that. But what I really liked was the DIY component of this dessert. I felt like a 7 year-old again, dressing my ice cream with a confetti of spiced nuts.
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner, dessert

"Fruit and Tea". Orange Creamsicle, Berries, Kumquat

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner

Hazelnut, Chocolate

Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
To top off an amazing meal, the staff graciously offered a full tour of the kitchen. We met Patrick the starfish, aka the kitchen pet. We learned about the importance of burning an open fire in their hearth. We got a sneak peak into their pantry which housed their latest foraged finds, preserved produce, and meats which have been aging for months, all of which would make it into the next diner's meals. Getting a family photo with the entire crew was the cherry on top to end the night.
Saison, michelin, SF, fine dining, dinner
Croissants and Caviar's TL;DR:
Saison was an unforgettable experience. The uni and squab have been amongst the best I've had. But I would have liked to see more inventive flavors and textures played with. The turbot dish, for example, lacked a certain level of cohesiveness because of the DIY nature of the presentation. The desserts (the kumquats served on ice, not pictured), seemed a tad out of place. These are small shortcomings. But overall, my birthday meal with Saison was definitely an unforgettable one.

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