San Fransisco 3 Day Tasting Trip
I am traveling to San Fransisco with my girlfriend in May and have reservations for dinner at Atelier Crenn, Saison, and Sons & Daughters for 3 nights. I am wondering what is everyone's opinion on eating tasting menus night after night? Are there other restaraunts y'all would suggest? Are they different enough so they won't just start to seem inseparable?
I'd say go for it -- if you don't like it, just don't do it again.
that said, all of these places are tiny complicated course after tiny complicated course. but if you're interested in this style of cooking / restaurant, trying them in close proximity helps highlight the differences.
sons+daughters is definitely the weakest of the three (by far). I'd replace it with Keiko's -- though her food is less modern and more traditional french with a japanese approach (minimalist / perfectionist.) Actually, though, i'd probably replace s+d with anything and call it an improvement.
I usually do food marathons like this when i travel. Though oftentimes by the end my girlfriend is begging me to cancel the rest of the reservations and/or is falling asleep at the table (which pisses me off), and all i'm really craving is room service spaghetti. but it depends, and it definitely allows me to try a lot more places that i would otherwise be able to.
oh, and definitely report back! :-)
Thanks for the response Dustin. I should have been more specific and said that the last day of the trip is a Sunday so that definitely limits our choices for dinner.
I'm curious; what was it specifically about Sons and Daughters that you disliked so much? I don't really expect it too be on par with Atelier Crenn or Saison, but I've read alot of blogs that seem to make it sound like a pretty solid tasting menu.
I also am a fan of the food marathons and my girlfriend has similar reactions after a while. We have a rule that has worked well for me. If you don't make the reservations, do the research, or pay for dinner; no complaining allowed,
sons and daughters had (imo) a not fantastic space, and not fantastic service. they seem to have the "food is what is important" philosophy.
problem is, i didn't think the food or cooking was particularly good. i just didn't think the flavors worked well. it was nice to see some interesting ingredients (eg abalone), but that didn't make up for the other problems in the meal.
this is based on 1 meal, though, and truth be told, i'm not a huge fan of modern tasting menus (eg i was not a big fan of pierre gagnaire in paris, nor ryugin in tokyo). i generally prefer a smaller number of dishes that have been perfected and withstood some test of time. my sons and daughters meal was about a year ago, though, so things certainly could have changed.
manresa or commis could be better alternatives -- but it is probably not worth the trip to go to them if you're only in sf for a couple days.
that sounds like a good policy you have with your gf. :-)
I think back-to-back tasting menus is seriously overkill (I used to do it).
Saison has recently raised their prices ($298 just for food) and for that price, is not remotely worth it. I adore Atelier Crenn and can recommend that whole heartedly. I have eaten at and enjoyed Saison, but before the prices went up.
Haven't tried S&D and can't comment on that. Other restaurants to consider: