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commis or something better?

My son will be visiting us from london. he's a sous at a michelin starred restaurant in london and we want to take him for a special meal. we are all passionate about food and have experienced most of the great restaurants in bay area. we're looking for something quirky, chef driven and hopefully will give him some ideas to take back to london. My thoughts were commis or coi. Anyone want to give their opinion or suggest something better? thanks.

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  1. i think commis is a good choice

    4 Replies
    1. re: vulber

      you 100% want the counter tasting menu, irregardless of the awkwardness of having > 2 people at the counter. Backup might be the big tasting menu at Saison.

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      Saison
      2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: bbulkow

        is the menu different @ the counter? or just the view to watch the chefs?

        1. re: drewskiSF

          To what I understand, there's a larger tasting menu that you can only get @ the counter. Best to check the website or call to see what the current deal is.

          1. re: bbulkow

            i asked them and was told it's the same. there were some differences when the restaurant first opened, but not since they moved to just the 4-course prix fixe menu.

            you do have to call directly for reservations at the counter. Open Table will only get you . . . well, a table.

    2. You might consider Plum, which is an informal spinoff of Coi. Definitely quirky and chef-driven.

      1. My husband and I have had really good, interesting meals at Saison and Benu in the last couple of months. We were totally underwhelmed by Commis.

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        Commis
        3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

        Saison
        2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

        Benu
        22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

        5 Replies
        1. re: srr

          Haven't been there yet, but this post screamed "Benu" to me. If he wants to see new food and trends, it seems like the place in SF at the moment.

          1. re: selectiveomnivore

            Yes! The technique is really cutting-edge without being totally in-your-face about it. The service is fine dining without stuffiness. We went with really "Let's see" attitudes and were really impressed. If your son is a chef he will be really into all the small, perfect details. Corey Lee is a master.

            1. re: srr

              one advantage of commis over benu is that if you want to watch the food being prepared (which seems applicable in this case), the coutner at commis is far cheaper than the chef's table at benu

              1. re: vulber

                Yeah, we sat at the counter and by the end of the meal we were silently cracking up watching the pretentiousness of the plating procedure. Every plate, one of the line cooks would cook the food and then right before it was sent out, Syhabout would come over, whip out his tweezers and painfully place flower petals just so. During the placement of the flowers the line cooks would all gather around, standing still, leaning over, breathless at his expertise. It was like a SNL skit.

                1. re: srr

                  i don't really feel the pretensiousness of the plating procedure at commis is any different from any other restaurant at that level; commis is just different from the other restaurants in that it has a compeltely open kitchen. it's definitely shooting for two michelin stars, and it won't get there w/o the pretentious plating

        2. Coi is a very good choice, especially given the quirky and chef-driven parameters. The food is mostly vegetables there, though not vegetarian, which might give your son some ideas.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Paul H

            Coi will not be under $50/person. For vegetable driven, there's Ubuntu, although some recent reports have said it's slipping

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            Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
            1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

            1. re: vulber

              I didn't see anything about a price range in the original post. If the son is working at a Michelin star restaurant in London almost anything in the Bay Area will look cheap in comparison.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                oops; got mixed up with the other posting needing a price range :)

          2. I do not recommend Coi.