Best Restaurant Trend - 2011
Gardens + Science
Over the past two years, San Francisco has put its distinctive stamp on avant-garde, modernist cuisine. Yes, it involves foams and "soils," not to mention tools Auguste Escoffier couldn't have dreamed of. But compared to modernists like Spain's Ferran Adria and Chicago's Grant Achatz, this city's most experimental chefs still think land first, idea later. Building on the territory settled by Coi's Daniel Patterson and Manresa's David Kinch, everything you'll find on the menus of new restaurants like Commis, Plum, and Benu is just as seasonally focused as the menus of Zuni Cafe or Boulevard. Going one step further, Sons + Daughters grows much of its herbs and greens in chef Matt McNamara's mother's backyard. Atelier Crenn's Dominique Crenn is working toward sourcing all her vegetables and meats from a single farm north of Sacramento. And long before Plate Shop opened, chef Kim Alter planted an enormous garden out back, complete with chickens, to provide her with supplies. It's urban homesteading meets Marcel's Quantum Kitchen. And no one is doing it quite as well as we are.