Seasons Does Steak in San Francisco

Hearst Ranch filet with green peppercorn and Bourbon sauce
Hearst Ranch filet with green peppercorn and Bourbon sauce

by Tiffany Apczynski

In San Francisco, steakhouses are back! Once at risk of falling into obscurity, and with them, the surf and turf menu entry, modern steakhouses are now all the rage. 2011 Best Restaurateur in the U.S. Michael Mina is behind the successful Bourbon Steak. Alexander’s Steakhouse offers tasting menus that can go as high as $390. 5A5 offers prime meat with a side order of weekend dance parties. These meat palaces have all breathed new life into this tried-and-true restaurant genre.

Joining its elite colleagues, Seasons, the swank restaurant situated on the fifth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, has gone and revamped its longtime conventional menu to that of the “modern steakhouse.” What this really means is a versatile menu from executive chef Mark Richardson that is fit for steak lovers and everyone else. But, boy, does Richardson do amazing things with steak.

Each cut can be ordered with an impressive selection of sauces. For our little slice of a heavenly Hearst Ranch filet, we chose the green peppercorn and Bourbon sauce — but soon abandoned it in order to savor every bit of our naked steak’s gorgeous crust and utter tenderness.

Other winners from Seasons include:

A local hen egg amuse bouche that has been tweaked so that it is 40 percent yolk, 60 percent truffle.

Heirloom beets in shades of burgundy, pink, and orange, artistically plated with a log of persimmon sprinkled with candied walnuts, and subtly peppered with creamy goat cheese.

A geometrically sound disc of jumbo blue crab that faces off against a small salad of butter lettuce and shredded carrots, with a smear of smoked avocado and a mound of pickled mustard seeds in between.

Also innovative is a creamed spinach dish that is neither creamed nor spinach. Instead, Richardson mixes together Swiss chard, collard greens and mustard greens with a hen egg soft-boiled at 63°C, which is then tossed tableside. The result is a creamy, toothsome dish that waistlines everywhere can forgive. Or those waistlines can at least know they’ve saved room for the “macaroni and cheese,” which is a parmesan spaetzle garnished with a sprinkling of hazelnut and black truffle.

Meanwhile, newly minted pastry chef Jeffrey Wurtz continues to churn out imaginative desserts such as his spin on high tea, in which a homemade scone is paired with bergamot-flavored ice cream, berry jam, and Devonshire cream panna cotta.

So there’s plenty for non-carnivores to enjoy at Seasons as well. But when I go back, I’ll be enjoying steak for sure!

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You can click on each photo to enlarge to see pictures of Seasons’s restaurant menu.

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