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May 13, 2009 08:56 AM

molecular gastronomy / other creative cooking in SF

I'm helping my dad plan a suprise anniversary trip for my mom in SF. My mom is an amatur molecular gastronomy chef, and she loves to visit this type of restraunt. Could someone please give me a recommendation for a place my dad you bring her to that has creative/innovative cooking?


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  1. Coi

    373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

    3 Replies
    1. re: Concetta

      COI looks great, thanks Concetta.

      Anyone have more recs for me?

      1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

        Perhaps by checking this link you can find more about MG in the bay area. Also, as suggested, check with Le Sanctuaire where the MG chefs shop.

        1. re: wolfe

          Oh, thanks wolfe. OMG my mom would love to visit Le Sanctuaire--an probably will spend to much on equipment!

    2. Orson uses some molecular gastronomy techniques.

      Coi does it better, but Orson is another option.

      11 Replies
      1. re: daveena

        Thanks davenna. I think they should visit Orson as well as Coi.

        1. re: daveena

          When they opened about 15 months ago, Orson had quite a few dishes using molecular techniques. The current menu is almost completely devoid of any such influences.

          1. re: Paul H

            Some of the desserts are still pretty technical.

            1. re: Paul H

              I wast thinking about the pop rocks in Caesar salad the slow-cooked egg dishes, but you're right - most of the menu is pretty straightforward Californian.

                1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

                  I haven't had it, but I've read about it - it's a deconstructed Caesar with globules of dressing, shards of crouton, and parmesan streusal spiked with Pop Rocks (presumably flavorless. I hope).

                    1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

                      I don't know what you expect from molecular gastronomy. Here is a quote from a recent review by uhockey on the Dining Room at the Ritz.
                      "Following the prawn I waited only minutes before my second amuse arrived - titled 64-degree Quail egg with golden osetra caviar and cedar smoke the dish consisted of a poached quail egg and caviar resting daintily atop a plastic film atop a glass filled with cedar wood smoke. With an "mg" feel akin to The Bazaar and Moto (and clearly inspired by Adria and Achatz) a simple touch of the egg released a puff of smoke from a small hole in the film and surrounds the diner with a dense aroma meant to enhance the flavor of the egg/caviar. While interesting (and even more fun to watch the elderly crowd confusedly interact with) the overall effect was somewhat blunted and the caviar, for being purported golden osetra, was somewhat bland."
                      Confused elderly chowhound.

                      1. re: wolfe

                        It's my mom that's a molecular gastronomy chef, not me. I admire my mom for doing it. She is super cool. But her bags of chemicals scare the pants off of me.

                      2. re: Henrietta Stackpole

                        Icky is too kind - I think it sounds revolting. I like some molecular gastro techniques more than others (strong preference for the non-chemical ones - dehydration, freezing, foams - I can tolerate alginates and maltodextrin if the results are delicious as well as "interesting") but pop rocks are solidly at the bottom of the list.

                        1. re: daveena

                          Pop Rocks are just sugar which has been melted in a high-pressure carbon dioxide atmosphere and then allowed to cool, trapping CO2 bubbles which are released when the sugar dissolves in your mouth. They seem a lot less spooky to me than some of the other chemicals that apparently go into a typical El Bulli dinner.

                          Anyway, that chocolate boutique on Hayes and Gough, Christopher Elbow, has a very nice pop rock chocolate bar -- "No. 6 Dark Rocks":

            2. I wish I could sing so I could do "Chow Tips."