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Jan 24, 2008 03:07 PM

Customized Celebration Tasting Menus

Looking to take a visitor out for a tasting menu in the SF city limits. I want a true tasting menu a la French Laundry and Manresa but without the distance (did both TFL and Manresa in December, would love a meal with food, service, and atmosphere as close to those as possible). Person does not eat meat, but eats seafood and loves vegetables. I eat everything. Currently have reservations in Feb at the Dining Room b/c of Siegel, his reputation of customizing to individual diners...ideally I would like us to have different meals. And the atmosphere. But given the turmoil over at the Ritz, I am hesitant to go now.

Question is should I stay w/the Ritz or are there recommendations elsewhere?

I've read that Fleur de Lys is having service issues, so their veg menu does not tempt me right now for this special birthday occasion. My only other ideas are:
1. Michael Mina's where they could get the veg menu and I could get regular
2. Making no-meat course requests at Coi, Ame, or Aqua since they seem to be mostly seafood anyways (would these accommodate single-diner requests like that?). Though I don't think our meals would be that different at Aqua or Ame.

Comparisons between MM, Coi, Ame, Aqua or any others appreciated!

*Note: person is in town for 4 days. Just so people don't suggest it, was already planning on doing a dinner at Millennium or Aziza another night (if you had to pick one, is Aziza's food better/more unique?). Was also going to do a Friday lunch at either Aqua or Ame, depending on where the tasting menu dinner was.

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  1. I would not miss the Ritz because this may be the last chance to get Siegel's cooking with the full backing of a hotel kitchen. Call the Ritz ahead and tell them about your friend's needs and they will have a custom menu for her.

    I not only thought The Dining Room matched the French Laundry ... I thought The Dining Room was much, much better.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Don't get me wrong, I think Ritz is the perfect place (ethereal food, celebration atmosphere, elite service, etc.) for this big celebration dinner. I really want to experience the Ritz at it's peak though, and my concern is that it won't be. You don't think the possible deal with Myth will cause inconsistency in February? I know they were rumors, but it sounded like actual news would take shape in early Feb. I would assume Siegel's manning the kitchen until the day it's official, but you never really know.

      What are the benefits by the way of the hotel's backing vs. regular restaurant financials?

      1. re: justtryit

        Hotels of that class ... the Ritz, Campton Place, the Mandarin Oriental, etc ... can afford to throw money at their restaurants ...more staff, etc. For example, IMO, Bradly Ogden never achieved the same height as when he was at Campton Place. Of course, now he's gone the upscale chain route and is no longer relevant, but when he first opened Lark Creek and was actually heading the kitchen ... the food was still wonderful ... but not as much as when he had a more extensive staff at Campton.