I wished the same skill had been applied to the cocktails ($18), which use innovative ingredients like popcorn syrup, barbecue bitters, and smoked pineapple, but never quite cohered into masterful, multilayered drinks. Luckily, wine pairings come from Mark Bright, whose deft touch finds the perfect complement to your dish — the Sonoma pinot noir he recommended teased out the fruit in the wood pigeon and made a good dish even better, as pairings should but so rarely do.

Saison's modern plating, as seen in the wild rice stew with abalone liver and coastal sea greens.
Alex Leber
Saison's modern plating, as seen in the wild rice stew with abalone liver and coastal sea greens.

It's admirable that Skenes and his team are trying to make their food more egalitarian, but it may be that the concept of a bar menu at a restaurant like Saison is flawed from the start — a tasting menu is like a marathon, and you can't dip in for a few miles and expect to have the same experience. On both visits the bill was in the triple digits and I left not quite full, two facts that I had a hard time justifying for food that didn't make me swoon or change my perception. Then again, there's no shortage of money in this town. I'll leave the conspicuous consumption to the foodies who can afford it.

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3 comments
justsaying
justsaying

I would agree with Jennifer, if Saison didn't tout their "Salon" as a cheaper way to enjoy Skenes' food.  If you have to save up to essentially eat what is supposed to be an upscale a la cart bar menu, then you might as well save up and eat in the dining room.  If there isn't a distinguishable line between eating in the dining room and ordering items a la cart via the bar then what is even the point of advertising one as something more accessible? 

dtaggert
dtaggert

I could be wrong...maybe Saison's menu spells 'abalone' 'abOlone', or maybe you're referring to some obscure food product I've never heard of before, but....

the text on your caption should read 'abalone'.

Jennifer Tonnelli
Jennifer Tonnelli

A flaw in the review is insisting that the Salon at Saison is not a salon, but a bar. It is so much more classy than a bar and a Salon sets me in mind of a more refined dining experience than mere bar food. It tainted her entire perspective. Adjust expectation, save up a little, then go and enjoy the culinary ride!

 
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