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Michael Mina's RN74 in San Francisco

SFgate has an article on this new restaurant that opens next Friday April 24. Sounds like a reasonably priced restaurant.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

Also you can book reservations on Opentable now.

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  1. Since I walk by the building literally every day (it's right across from the Transbay Terminal), I'll have to check it out. Looks like, if nothing else, a nice place to stop for a glass of wine and a snack after a hard day at the office.

    1. Apparently its going to have a crazy burgundy centric BTG wine list, and even crazier bottle list. Food may be reasonably priced, but wine is going to kill the bill.

      1. Opening night!

        To see all the pictures hit: http://www.foodnut.com/307/rn74-resta...

        RN74 from Michael Mina in the Millennium Tower serves French-American cuisine. The wine bar has slightly cheaper items. It is named after the highway that goes through the Burgundy region of France. (Inspired by A16?

        )

        Huge 69 page wine list, Jason Berthold’s (French Laundry, Per se) seasonal menus, Wine Bar, and Restaurant. They have wine boards all over the room with a low markup wine board showing today’s bottle specials when only 1 bottle is left.

        Decor- $4.5 million make this a beautiful restaurant with stylish booths, unique walls full of wine listings, and a large elegant bar area. Moderately loud french techno music was blaring. Walkways are cramped though. Folks were mostly well dress locals in their 30’s to 40’s. We even saw Mayor Brown.

        Website Menu

        You can select one item from each section for $48 and save a couple bucks.

        Picks:

        Foie Gras Terrine ($19) with strawberries, shaved celery, poppy seed marmalade, brioche was excellent. The terrine had a strawberry jello accent on top that perfectly balanced the rich foie gras. Top notch brioche too.

        Liberty Farm Duck Confit ($19) with barley, shitake mushrooms, green garlic, barrel aged tamari had a very nice crispy skin and tender flavorful meat. One of the better confits we’ve had in a while. The barley’s sauce was too heavy and salty.

        Grilled Grass-Fed Beef ($19) with savoy cabbage, potatoes, thumbelina carrots, bone marrow bordelaise vinagrette was awesome. The meat was tender and flavorful, some of the best steak we’ve had, too bad you could eat it all in 2 bites.

        Herb-Roasted Lamb Loin ($19) with navarin of chantrelle mushrooms, fava beans, young turnips, mint had some high quality lamb with minimal gaminess. Cooked perfectly and bundles with some nice vegetables.

        Maine Sea Scallops ($17) with sunchokes, tardivo, lovage, wildflower honey was very good. 2 fresh, big, and perfectly cooked scallops with crispy carmelized tops and some nice accompaniments that infused a sweet flavor.

        Olive Oil-Poached wild caught halibut ($17) with beech mushrooms, english peas, cippolini onion, watercress was excellent. The portion was on the small side with 3 maybe 4 bites. Cooked just right and accented by the vegetables.

        Spring Garlic Agnolotti ($17) with stinging nettles, asparagus, black truffle, brown butter, castlemango cheese was an excellent pasta. The truffles turned this dish into something really special. Again portion size was very small.

        Chocolate Delice ($9) Roasted Banana, Brown butter Cashew ice cream was very slick, with a little taste of each item layed out. Very delicious and highly recommended.

        Napa Valley Strawberries ($9) Baby Fennel, Pound Cake croutons, basil, creme fraiche sorbet was a beautiful looking but fairly light dessert. Sorbet was delightful.

        OK:

        Marinated cold beets ($15) with belgian endive, sicilian pistachios, green peppercorn was a decent salad with nice tasting beet but at this high price, we’d spend $2 more and get a meat dish.

        Vanilla Gelato ($9) pineapple, olive oil genoise, sea salt was fair. The pineapple was pretty sour and did not balance out the rest of the dish.

        Pans:

        Grilled Cobia ($17) with tokyo turnips, broccoli rabe, sour cherry black olive emulsion was a well cooked but the fish itself was too fishy. Stick to the halibut.

        Caipirinha Vert ($10) was way too sour. Stick to the wine.

        RN74’s service was very good to excellent with it slightly fading as the place filled up. Busy boys were constantly circling, so water was always filled and napkins folded the moment you got up. Our server was pretty knowledgeable and fairly friendly.
        Food was excellent as we expected but what surprised us was the small portions. Most folks will need to order the 3 course bundle and a dessert to be full, significantly increasing check prices. The original thoughts of nothing above $17 inferring a low cost meal were not fulfilled.

        In the end, RN74 made for an excellent dining experience with top notch food, service, and tons of wine options. Michael Mina has done it again.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Foodnut8

          Those 12 dishes total $186 before drinks, tax, and tip. How many of you were sharing them and were you still hungry afterwards?

          I wonder how many people who like their meals accompanied by blaring techno can afford those prices.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            3 adults. I would say we were about 85% full afterwards, not stuffed. Keep in mind that we are 'average' eaters, not ones that of eat super sized portions of food at a sitting. It is pricey but worth it as the food quality is high. I wouldn't mind having double portions of some of the super tasty dishes like the Rib Eye or pasta..
            The music was not as loud as places like Pizza Nostra or Tipsy pig but was noticeable..

            The no items over $18 talk basically is not very pertinent. Each adult would need the $48 3 selection meal plus a $9 dessert to be satisfied.

            Overall the food beat our expectations by a mile, while the prices also surpassed what we expected.

          2. re: Foodnut8

            Cool report - thanks. Great pics, as well.

            1. re: Foodnut8

              Huh, the by-the-glass prices are surprisingly modest given how expensive the food is, $8 to $20.

              http://www.michaelmina.net/rn74/

              -----
              RN74
              301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                If the pours are adequate, then I agree that the BTG pricing would be surprisingly well priced.

              2. re: Foodnut8

                I'd agree that the food is good but not necessarily a good value. For similar prices per dish, you can get a full sized item at Murray Circle, for example.

                Sampled the Agnolotti, the foie, and the chicken croquettes. The portion size of the pasta was quite small as noted but it had a great truffle smell. Much stronger smell then taste. Foie was quite tasty, not enough brioche, but they brought me more (brioche, not foie) when I asked for it. Chicken croquettes were just ok, not really recomennded.

                The pours are 5 oz for a full glass and 2.5 oz for a taste. They have one of those enomatic machines that dispense exact pours.

                I think that this place is best for a glass of wine or two, maybe with a snack, then a place for dinner.

              3. Last night the menu offered three dishes for $48, which though a relative deal compared to ala carte still doesn't provide a lot of food. The imposing wine list is mostly bereft of bargains.

                I think the best strategy here is to stick to the wines by the glass (interesting and reasonably priced) and order a dish or two to graze on while sipping. Despite all of the tables, I don't regard RN74 as a dinner destination, it is a very upscale, swank and theme-focused wine bar.

                1. $48 for what are apparently 3 tiny plates? Huh, wonder how long after the first blush it will last in this economy. Think I'll stick with the still delicious SPQR which is less than half the price.

                  1. I went by last night around 7:30 and there wasn't a seat to be had.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      The prices are not exceptionally cheap given the quantities everyone is talking about. The train station theme is kinda cool with the changing wine board but I agree given the economy I don't know how long the restaurant will last. The service was sooo slow, our dinner took 3 hours for 3 courses.

                      The tasting pours are a pretty good amount and surprising affordable. I just finished a decadent meal at BIX last week for about $100 a person including a bottle of wine (with tips and tax) and the same at RN74. I would rather go to BIX, One Market or Murray's Circle.

                      Pictures of the food.

                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonnibel...

                      1. re: cocochanelella

                        That pic of the tempura shiitake mushrooms looks sooo unappetizing. Was there anything accompanying it, like a sauce? Tell me it tasted better than it looks...

                        1. re: BernalKC

                          My husband and I had wine and bites in the bar area last week and shared the maitake mushroom tempura ($10) - it was delicious! Came with a green onion mousseline sauce, which was pretty innocuous. Wish it had a bit more bite.

                          We also shared the following: RN74 slice ($12) - fingerling potatoes, epoisses, rosemary & fleur de sel on a thin bread. We really liked this. The epoisses gave it a great flavor. Free range chicken croquettes ($16) - excellent! Lots of shredded chicken in a panko crumb, served on frisee, haricot verts and a sauce gribiche. Great flavor.

                          Would definitely go back - but get there early. It does fill up quickly.

                    2. Michael Bauer reports that RN74 abandoned the tiny-plates approach. The manager says they doubled the portions.

                      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/m...

                      The new menu lists $9 bar snacks, first courses $12-22, and second courses $24-31 (plus 4% surcharge).

                      http://www.michaelmina.net/rn74/pdf/R...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        That went into effect the evening we were there. The above is the menu for dinner. There is still a separate wine bar menu:
                        http://michaelmina.net/rn74/pdf/RN74%...

                      2. Went to RN74 for the first time last night and loved it. Beautiful, sexy, warm room and really bend-over-backward great service. I sat at the bar for 30 min before dinner to try a few tastes, then we spent about 3 hrs at dinner--and never felt rushed. Had tastes of a Chablis and the intriguing Moscatel from Malaga, and shared bottle of a 2007 Domaine Combier Croze-Hermitage. Loved them all. Apps: pork belly and manila clams, beef carpaccio. Entrees: grilled cobia, cassoulet. Sides: chickpeas (my absolute favorite of the night, can't stop thinking about them!), tempura mushrooms. Really, all were fantastic. Dessert: beignets, only thing not that great, but the financiers that came with the bill more than made up for that! All in all, one of the best new restaurants in the city that I've tried in recent memory, and I can't wait to go back.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gtchow

                          Having been to RN74 on three separate occasions for work functions,I feel like I have got a sense of the place. As the poster notes above, the room is beautiful. The tables, lighting, everything, it just looks fantastic. You would never know that you were basically in the lobby of a residential tower. The food is good, but not all of that exciting. It basically serves as a foil for the wine which is the true star. I have had the cassoulet, grass fed veal, soft shell crab, tempura mushrooms, a bite of the pork belly, hamachi sashimi, and a few other appitizers or firsts that I do not remember. Since this wasn't on my dime, I have been able to work my way down the pinots by the glass. The wines by the glass selection is fantastic and the sophisticated wine do-hickey that they have at the bar ensures that you will get a fresh tasting glass. In fact, one of the wines that I had actually tasted better by the glass than by the bottle. Out of the entrees, I would recommend the cassoulet since it pairs extremely well with the Pinots which for the most part are fantastic (except that German one I tried but that is what I get for trying a German Pinot). In terms of other expense account restaurants in the area, I would place it above Boulevard (which I think is overrated and overpriced) and below Ame (whose cooking I found more sophisticated than RN74). Would not go if not on an expense account. There are too many better restaurants at that price range in the City and the East Bay. However, I might go back to the bar if in the mood for wine and in the neighborhood.

                        2. I was very disappointed with my belated first trip here. My dining companion and I were seated along the long banquette, where I was unfortunate enough to have the aisle seat. Everybody, and I mean everybody, hit me or my chair every time they walked by (and I was scrunched up as tight as possible and am a relatively slender person). We started with the house-made mortadella, which had a nice texture but was completely tasteless. The sour cherry added a jarring and overpowering sweet note. We followed with the hamachi tartare -- again, nice texture and fresh fish but absolutely no flavor - and the roasted beets with honey and snow peas. The beets were well cooked but all the flavors on the plate were disjointed. There was a blob of honey here, some snow peas over there, but the flavors never coalesced. Is anyone actually tasting these dishes before they go out? For my main, I tossed them what I thought would be a softball: bacon-wrapped pork loin with cornbread, mustard greens, mustard, rhubarb, and whole grain mustard. I'm a Southern girl and all about pigs & greens -- how could this miss? Again, there was an astounding lack of flavor given the succulence of the ingredients. I am convinced the cornbread was made by someone who only has read about cornbread and never actually eaten it. I didn't even identify it as cornbread when I took a bite -- I thought someone dropped a ladyfinger on my plate. It was dry and mealy with a jarringly sweet taste. The pork itself was beautifully cooked to perfect medium but it had absolutely no taste unless you found the mustard (hidden under some greens, west of the meat) and introduced them in a hurry. The greens (which I am convinced were not mustard greens but spinach) were undersalted and overcooked. The rhubarb, which intrigued me, was a complete fail. Four sticks of rhubarb were randomly scattered around my plate. That was it. Chef failed to integrate the rhubarb into any other part of the dish, and eating cooked rhubarb sticks is just not exciting. To be fair, I should probably return for another go before I completely write off this restaurant but at the prices MM charges, I won't. I probably won't return, even if someone else pays.

                          -----
                          RN74
                          301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                          1. Just had a great meal there recently and I've been trying to figure out something delicious that I ate. We ordered the 1st course Asparagus salad. It came with a very light slab of white, creamy deliciousness. I thought maybe it was cheese? But I am not sure. Does anyone know?

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: grayelf

                                I'm not sure. It was more like panna cotta

                            1. Update Oct '13

                              I had never been to RN74 before, so can't compare to previous versions and times. As part of the MM empire, I just can't get excited about what might seem to be a chain, even a fancy experience like this.

                              The place is nicely furnished, hipster old lamps. The bar area was pleasant enough but a little cramped. There was a larger loung-y area behind the bar where one could sprawl out a bit. The famous signs with all the "by the glass" weren't doing any flipping, and only visible to the table seating.

                              The fact that they had crazy burgandy by the half glass (at $25/half glass) was fun, but not a long list. I expected more. The by-the-glass was fresh and kept in those nice nitrogen keeper things. Overall, I liked the wine at Willi's more.

                              Food was OK but not exceptional. "local sardines" prepared in a spanish oiled style, with some kind of shapeless paste that was actually a molecular bread breakdown and re-fusion. Souffle, which was excellent and rare and worth stopping by for. Brussel sprouts in that crispy style - with a sweeter glaze. Some kind of provancale sausage that was QUITE tasty.

                              If I was a business traveller in the area, I'd eat there and possibly think I got a very SF style meal, even though the place was a bit generic.

                              For a local, of course you'll go somewhere else, but the half-glass menu, and a few items like the Souffle, made it worthwhile --- if expensive.

                              I can't imagine ever returning.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: bbulkow

                                We found RN74 more expensive than, and inferior to, Prospect, Perbacco, and One Market. Didn't help to receive a lovely filet that was so oversalted, my salt-loving spouse had to cut off all the crust to be able to finish the meat.

                                As a week earlier than RN74, we had just eaten at Michael Mina and also received oversalted and overpriced food, we have written off all of Mina's 20+ restaurants.

                                A shame...I remember when he was actually cooking at the old Aqua, and the food was marvelous. Now he's just a corporate figurehead with hacks in the kitchens.

                                1. re: jaiko

                                  Makes me glad I didn't have the filet.

                                  Our choices weren't as bad as yours, but I'd agree with the statement that you can get better food and a better price elsewhere (the places you listed, for example, which are a few blocks away and have similar ambiance).

                                2. re: bbulkow

                                  I noted at the inception of this thread that I walk by there every day. However, after one visit at happy hour I've never bothered to go back. There's just nothing there that appeals to me, especially the corporate FiDi atmosphere.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Ruth,

                                    I agree based on a couple of ho-hum experiences there.

                                    Atmosphere = corporate expense account (and loud)
                                    Food = Intricate dishes that don't carry any flavor punch
                                    Wine = the one reason I might return. Can't get top-notch burgundies by the glass anywhere else I know of (at least not within walking distance of my apartment!)