SPECIAL Sunday Night Dinner [San Francisco]
None of the big ** names are open on Sunday night -- I wanted to do either Saison, Benu or Coi but they're Tuesday through Saturday.
The one rule is NO French as I'll be back in Quebec a week later, eating nothing but!
It has to be a really special meal. Something equal or better to any of the big Michelin four that get tossed around so often. Willing to drive up to 30 mins. max if that helps but prefer something within the city.
Any cuisine other than French please!
AQ is not really attempting to be a two-Michelin-star restaurant in the mold of the existing ones. It's way more casual and accessible. (Plus it's in a really crappy location.) If you're OK with that, there would be plenty of other alternatives as well. If not, I would look at the one-star places that are open on a Sunday that might have two-star ambitions. Michael Mina, Keiko, and Ame might be possibilities, but I wouldn't necessarily bet my life's saving on them being equal to or better than the current two-star places.
Casual is not a problem for me, I'm more interested in extraordinary flavors and presentation with creative, inventive, seasonal ingredients.
That said, I've been to Ame before and it was fantastic but not on par with the others referenced. Keiko, I believe, is French-influenced fusion with elements of Japanese cusine, no? I really really insist that we avoid anything French, because it's literally all we'll be eating for 2 weeks when returning to Montreal, and I want it to feel fresh and exciting when back home! If you don't feel that Keiko's fusion is outwardly French however, it would be a contender as it's been on my list for a very long time. Does it feel and more importantly taste, particularly French and are the ingredients primarily of Asian origin or the type of terroir based menu with sauces/roux/velouté etc. that are typically found in "nouveau" French cuisine?
There are plenty of great mid-range restaurants in SF. I haven't been overly impressed with AQ, but if you are OK with that type of restaurant, there will probably be other alternatives and threads for "open on a Sunday" that you can search for.
As for Keiko, I wouldn't be able to judge your thoughts about the nature of the French influence. My suggestion would be to check out the online sample menu and form your own opinion.
extraordinary flavors and presentation, creative, inventive, seasonal ingredients, not French, on a Sunday:
Commis, AQ, Jai Yun, Aziza (maybe kind of Frenchy)
Maybe Michael Mina, I haven't heard anything about it since Ron Siegel took over last year.
Manresa's more than 30 minutes. For the most pleasant experience there I think it's essential to stay overnight in Los Gatos.
Thanks for all the suggestions... I've been to Commis in Oakland before (it's one of my favorite kitchens in the Bay Area!) and I took my wife to Jai Yun the v ery first night that I met her last January (2012) - we had a great experience but I don't necessarily feel the need to return.
I've decided to go with Keiko as it looks quite interesting and unique; unlike the more rustic terroir fare that we'll be eating so much of in Montreal weeks later. The atmosphere also seems terrific which is important to me, and it's a 7 minute walk (or cable car ride) from our apartment.
Thanks for all of the great advice!