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Saison 3.0 [San Francisco]

http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

I found it interesting that they're ditching the chef's counter after the move.

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  1. It would be quixotic to have a "chef's counter" when by their own account the entire dining room will be in the kitchen.

    Can't wait to try it.

    1. Confusing and conflicting information about seating capacity. Inside Scoop piece says the current place has 18 seats, looked like more to me. The Eater post says 18 seats in the dining room and 12 at the bar at the new place with no increase in seating capacity. So are there 26 seats in the dining room now, or are they replacing the 4-seat chef's counter with a 12-seat bar?

        1. I saw Mark Bright, the sommelier, so I asked him about the bar. He said it's just for drinks. So one could go there for a drink and to check out the space without having to commit to a $500 meal.

          23 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Update on the bar: starting tonight they're offering a $48 canape tasting menu.

            http://sf.eater.com/archives/2013/02/...

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                A friend was there last night for the canape tasting menu, left hungry and went elsewhere for dinner. All the bites sounded lovely though.

                  1. re: drewskiSF

                    I had the $88 version the other day. Essentially a bunch of highly delicious one bite items that won't fill you up. I was expecting that, so no disappointment, but I wonder about the sanity of this kind of meal as a restaurant concept. You pay $88 just for the food and you still have to make plans for what to eat afterwards so that you don't go to bed hungry. It's even more aggravating because each of those bites are so delicious that they make you crave for more and when the meal is over, you feel like you could have gone on eating for another hour.

                    1. re: nocharge

                      Yeah, at that price it might just be better to bite the bullet and eat the whole $248 dinner which to me is a pretty damn good deal for the amount and quality, AFAICT from what I was served.

                      1. re: nocharge

                        How can you spend $88 plus drinks and tax and tip and leave hungry? This makes no logical sense to me. Lay out a C-note and then have to plan where to eat afterward?

                        1. re: budnball

                          I wasn't exactly hungry at the time I left the restaurant, but it clearly wasn't enough food for the evening. I later ended up having an entree at another restaurant.

                          1. re: budnball

                            If I'm not on a budget, I can easily spend $88 or more on drinks and a light snack or two at any good wine bar. I don't think of that as a meal, I think of it as going out drinking. I figure Saison's just doing a more upscale version.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Yeah, except in this case, the $88 didn't include any wine. We probably spent over $200 per person with the wine, tax, and tip. Also, the items served are not random snacks -- the flow of courses is similar to what you would expect from a tasting menu except that each course is one bite. So if you go elsewhere to eat afterwards, you might end up having an entree after just having had dessert.

                              1. re: nocharge

                                Huh. So for $88 you basically get a canapé version of a tasting menu? How many?

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  I lost count, but it was probably around 10, most of which could be eaten with a single bite.

                                  1. re: nocharge

                                    I am not trying to be a hater but what kind of business model is that? I can drop a $100 on a night's drinking also but usually it's closer to even on food and booze if not weighted more to the liquid side. At $48 I was tempted, but at $88 i am baffled. Sounds like the economy is booming somewhere.

                                    1. re: budnball

                                      Dinner at Saison is $248 (before drinks, tax, and tip) for around 20 courses, some of which are just a bite and most of which are no more than a few bites, so $88 for ten bites seems like similar pricing.

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8178...

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        I guess that it will be one of those places I will read about and never enter. One of many.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Is it worth it? This is like what you pay at EMP. Maybe its priced this way just because there are people who will pay? But this kind of price might lead to the conclusion that this is the best restaurant in the city. Is it?

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            If you assume that the quality of the ingredients for the canapé menu is similar to that of the dining-room menu, but at a fraction of the cost, it would be reasonable to assume that the amount of canapé food you would get would be a fraction of the dining-room amount. I have no problem with the amount of food assuming that customers know what they are getting into. I'm just intrigued by the idea of the canapé menu in general and whether the concept is a viable one.

                                            1. re: nocharge

                                              88/person is a pittance.

                                              I would happily pay that amount for a 10 course "canapé" taste menu at Saison.

                                              It's more than just about the food (or the quantity); it's also about the experience.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Completely agree with ipsedixit. With these types of meals, it is not only about the food; the whole experience at Saison is great, I enjoyed my meal here MUCH more than my meals at EMP, Le Bernardin, French Laundry, and even Benu. I honestly think the $248 is really very fair for what you get and I'd imagine the $88 menu would be equally fair.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  Our experience was very good, but partly because we had the right expectations. The risk with this kind of menu is that some customers will expect a full meal for $88 -- there are always restaurant goers with unreasonable expectations -- and will leave disappointed. Next time I go, I'll probably have the full $248 menu that makes a lot more sense to me and which I haven't tried in the new location. I like the idea of small bites in the lounge but would much prefer ordering them a la carte than dealing with a fixed menu that's kind of an awkward fit for a meal.

                              1. re: grayelf

                                Today Tasting Table featured the bar's ala carte menu. Eight dishes available.
                                http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_det...

                          2. anybody been to the new the place yet?