Saison- When the most expensive restaurant in SF lets you down…

  Posted by - July 25, 2015 - $$$$ (100+), NightTime, Restaurants, San Francisco

When the most expensive restaurant in SF lets you down…

And you’re still hungry after! WTH!

I literally drove straight to Whole Foods & ate a donut to drown in my sorrows after leaving 3 car payments on the table (insert: crying emoji)

I mean. Don’t get me wrong… I had a great meal.

I just wasn’t… WOW’d by it (does that make any sense?). And more importantly, I wasn’t FULL either! If I’m paying $750 a person (+ wine pairing), I expect to be soooooo full and mindblown, that they’d HAVE to roll me out of there.

SO anyways, for those of you who have never heard of Saison… they serve a ~16 course tasting menu that changes daily depending on the best ingredients available. The courses are well presented, service is excellent, but neither the flavors nor the combinations were THAT impressive. Like, the uni was good. But I’ve had better at a restaurant with no Michelin stars for .000005% of the price.

I’m also saying these things in comparison to other restaurants of this caliber.

So. Compared to other three star Michelin restaurants (The French Laundry, Eleven Madison Park), Saison was the only restaurant where I wasn’t WOW’d. I was actually more impressed by Atelier Cren with 2 Michelin stars (<– #mindblown. I swear, you don’t even have to read my blog post, just check out the pics-!!).

Side: for those of you who read my blog, you know that I hate writing about places I don’t like. So I’m going to keep it real short.

Basically, I think Saison is an overall great restaurant. But for the price? Meh. Plus, it was lacking that WOW-factor for me.

Since their menu changes quite often, your experience and dishes could be much different than mine. But if i’m paying that much money for a meal, I’d expect a fantastic meal no matter when I go.

Here are the pics:

Saison SF

Our first appetizer of the night is a generous portion of caviar, cured with smoked salt.

The flavors are delicate with mild briny notes. It was paired very well with a brioche cube basted in smoked pork fat.

Honestly, this was one of the best dishes and a great way to start the meal-!!

Saison SF

This broth of grilled roots with sea cucumber cracking was… Meh.

Saison SF

Their uni is served like a piece of nigiri, except it was on top of sourdough bread which was soaked in brown butter & soy sauce. Not bad, not mind blowing either.

Saison SF

Now THIS piece of trout was delish and impressive. It’s made of delicately crisped skin, thin layer of roe gelée, sauce from its bones, and smoky, buttery soft flesh. One of the tougher dishes to execute and they did it perfectly.

Saison SF

I can’t remember what this was…

Saison SF

Or this #unmemorable

Saison SF

This duck tho! I honestly loved every bite and wished there was more. There was a perfect meat-fat ratio and the skin was slightly crisped. Each bite was tender, juicy, and flavorful. Awesome job- Saison!

Saison SF

This red beet is cooked for THREE days, and roasted over coals. It has a dense and almost “meaty” texture, the herbs & bone marrow juice complimented the flavors very well.

It was probably the best beet I’ve ever had, but then again- it’s just a beet.

Saison SF

These brassica leaves are cooked multiple ways and blistered in a fire (kinda tastes like brussels sprouts). It was good, but lets face it- did I really just pay THAT much money for some leaves?

Yep – I sure did. (face-palm)

Saison SF

This custard was really good. It’s made from parmesan & Cowgirl Creamery cheese. It’s creamy, savory, and the texture reminds me of a Chinese dessert called TofuFa.

Saison SF

I don’t remember what this was either.

Saison SF

This was also unmemorable.

Saison SF

For dessert- we started off with a scoop of ice cream and caramel cooked in fire, topped with delicious caramel and cocoa nibs.. It had a deep smokiness to it, that I’ve never had before.

Saison SF

The second dessert is a sorbet served inside a mandarin orange shell. I LOVED this and thought it was super creative.

Saison SF

This last course is basic- basically TINY ass strawberries with a glaze on top. You would think that they’d actually give you bigger or normal sized ones? Maybe?

(Side note: this picture is missing one because I forgot to take a pic first lol)

Saison SF

Oh yeah, we also had some tea at the end (they also count this as a course).

So it sum it all up:

I went to Whole Foods after and ate a donut.

The end.


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  • Adriana November 16, 2016 - 5:54 pm Reply

    Saison is $398 per person, not $750.

  • Sarah July 31, 2015 - 6:38 pm Reply

    I loved watching your dinner on Snap but I can’t believe you were still hungry after all that food. What a shame!

    • CynEats August 3, 2015 - 1:32 pm Reply

      Thanks for following on Snap!

    • David Stone June 25, 2016 - 11:23 am Reply

      “…After all that food”? This is a joke, right? I worked as a chef in a nationally recognized 5-star restaurant right here in San Francisco. +$750/pp for these tiny Barbie Doll portions is wallet rape and delusional.

  • Mariah T. July 29, 2015 - 1:44 pm Reply

    Dang I hate it when that happens! What a ton of wasted calories and money. At least your got some really good pictures in tho!

    • CynEats July 31, 2015 - 5:39 pm Reply

      yah, seriously! It just wasn’t worth it!

  • Ben @Focus:Snap:Eat July 27, 2015 - 7:58 pm Reply

    I don’t mind paying for a tasting menu but it has to be satisfying, both in the creativity and the stomach. The price for Saison is so steep, it really has to have an amazing reputation to draw me in. But I’m worried a lot of the reviews (done by critics who get their meals covered by their companies) may not really address the value angle, which I always take into consideration when deciding where to drop my money. Lovely photos as usual, too bad the food wasn’t as memorable.

    • CynEats July 28, 2015 - 10:35 pm Reply

      Hi Ben! Thank you for the comment. Honestly, it’s kind of hard to elaborate on the entire meal in a post. Don’t get me wrong, the food was exceptional; however, the 3-star Michelin was questionable. I’m not saying they didn’t deserve it. But I just had a better time at Atelier Crenn (it was cheaper AND I was FULL lol). Maybe I’m picky, maybe I’m biased, but for example, if you put Saison and Eleven Madison Park side by side. Hands down, EMP wins. I can’t wait to visit Benu, my boyfriend says it’s one of the best dining experiences of his life.

  • Shelly July 26, 2015 - 6:24 am Reply

    So sorry to hear about such an unimpressive meal! Hate it when that happens – definitely will prioritize all the other amazing eats in SF before this one!

    On that same note, don’t go to Blanca or Per Se if you’re ever in NYC =P

    • CynEats July 28, 2015 - 10:26 pm Reply

      Thanks for the tip! Was looking into Per Se for this coming week, but I think i’ll have to pass. Also heard French Laundry was better!

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