Prospect, Saison, and Hooker's Sweet Treats draw us in at first taste
It's been an exhausting, thrilling whirl of new openings in SF this month. And it's not quite over yet... as usual, I hit most new SF openings right away, then continue to revisit as they settle in (if they are worth revisiting, which is often the case). Here's a quick, initial take on openings of the past week or two, with more to come next week (for more details, check out my upcoming July 1st issue of The Perfect Spot):
SAISON -- Walk through the side gate of Stable Cafe, with unique 1800's carriage house setting, and enter Saison's newly remodeled garden, evocative of an Italian or Mediterranean villa patio: white lights strung across the courtyard, lemon tree emitting a soft citrus scent, rocking chair and vintage ashtray stand inviting you to linger with a glass of wine, and wood-burning hearth (which will also be a bread baking oven with mention of whole animal cooking to come)? Entirely transporting.
Chef and owner Joshua Skenes has taken his acclaimed weekly "pop-up" and launched a full, Tuesday through Saturday restaurant, opened June 22. Cooking on the only Molteni stove in the Bay Area, the 30-seat interior is minimalist, but warm and glowing, with open flow between dining room and kitchen. Prices are hefty for this unusual dining experience, from a one nightly seating, $98 per person/8-course tasting menu, to a four-seat chef’s counter at $200 per person, or a two-seat chef’s table with 20 customized courses at $200 to $500 per person (!) They were very smart to add the casual, enchanting patio to the mix with a la carte options for those not partaking in multi-courses. Something for everyone.
Saison's garden entrance
At a pre-opening dinner, I sampled possible menu offerings, while Sommelier Mark Bright kept us satiated with wine pairings like affordable 2005 Chateau de Montpezat Coteaux du Languedoc and 2004 Neal Ellis Shiraz. Dishes were delicate, tiny, artistic, and, of course, farm fresh, from hand-picked, local ingredients. Highlights include crispy sweetbreads roasted with caramelized honey and intriguing slant of berbere spicing, as well as a perfect rendition of one of my favorites: rhubarb as a sorbet on milk granite with tart strips of rhubarb decorating the sorbet.
2124 Folsom, SF.