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178 Townsend St. (3rd St.) Send to Phone
415-828-7990 | Menu
The tasting menus achieve perfect harmony with simple ingredients at this distinctive dining experience housed in a historic SoMa building.

Dinner Tues.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

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Saison, San Francisco, CA

Saison Restaurant Review

About the restaurant and décor: Founder/co-owner Joshua Skenes started Saison in 2009 as an elegant and unique pop-up restaurant, then transitioned a few years later to its permanent home in this historic SoMa building that survived the 1906 earthquake. He has since handed over the reins to chef/co-owner Laurent Gras. The large, organic space presents no barriers between guests at the walnut tables and the chefs in the stainless steel kitchen. While one might expect this to be chaotic, on the contrary the setting is quiet and pristine, almost clinical. Diners are greeted by a stack of wood that feeds the hearth, which features prominently in the cooking philosophy. The dining room only seats 18 --- all the better to preserve the quality of this gourmet gastronomic affair.

About the food: The multi-course menu served in the main dining room rings in at $298 (plus beverage pairings). Although not easy on the wallet, it's worth every penny. (A five-course experience, priced at $148, is also available at the bar and in the salon.) An evening could start out with Saison caviar cured and grilled in kelp, followed by Pacific cherry salmon with heart of palm, then halibut with peas and citrus. Perfect harmony is achieved with simple ingredients. Each course arrives on stunning and varied serving plates, along with whatever utensils are required (forks, chopsticks, etc.). The parade of dishes might continue with black cod with its skin and fermented walnut; sea urchin on grilled bread; and Northstar bison and steamed bun. The beautiful and simple desserts might include smoked milk ice cream with salted caramel and cacao nibs.

About the drinks: The ever-expanding wine program puts a special emphasis on Burgundy wines as they are considered to best complement the food. Pours are served in custom handblown stemware from Zalto in Austria. Craft beers and exclusive sakés are also offered. The service is top-notch.
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