Atelier Crenn 2nd Visit — San Francisco (9/2016)


I had visited Atelier Crenn almost exactly three years ago. Dominique Crenn’s story was the subject of an episode of Chef’s table on Netflix, and that prompted me to go back for a visit. I liked my first experience very much, so I was looking forward to my return. They changed from using to Resy as their booking system. I was able to secure an early seating for a Friday dinner a few weeks in advance.

As before, there was no menu, just a poem, with each line referencing a course. The wine list format was different in that all the by-the-glass choices for the whole meal were on one page. Now, it was compartmentalized into a more familiar format. I went with the Chassagne-Montrachet Chardonnay this time, which I thought was among the better Montrachets that I have tried.

There was still a longer selection of half-bottles than usually seen.

The meal started off with the traditional (for here) apple cider inside a delicate cocoa butter shell topped with a little crème de cassis.

Soon after, a very delicate preparation of potato dusted with seaweed with a little maple butter was presented.

Along with the potato was Hokkaido uni with golden Osetra caviar with ginger and carrot curd. This had a touch of sweetness to it.

For the full write-up, click here.


Mosu — San Francisco (3/2016)


Mosu is a restaurant that just opened in San Francisco.  I got word of it from a newsletter I get.  The pedigree of the chef (including time at The French Landry and Benu), and the proposed tasting menu of Asian-inspired dishes caught my interest.  They are located on Fillmore St. very near the intersection with Geary.  Reservations are made via the website. The restaurant is not well-marked on the outside.

The restaurant only seats 18 people total.  Downstairs, there was a table for 4 and two two-tops.  The rest of the seating was upstairs on a loft level (curtained and walled off).

Upon arrival, they offered a glass of Champagne, which was very good.  The tasting menu was already on the table, as was the wine list.  I liked their wine selections as they had two Meursaults on it.  Unfortunately, they were by the bottle, so I had to “settle” for the French white Burgundy by the glass.

The first snack was grilled burdock bark, served with house-cultured butter, fermented kombu, and lightly pickled sancho (pepper) berries stuck on the underside.  The bark was like a cracker and sweet.

For the full write-up, click here.

Rich Table 2nd Visit — San Francisco (4/2015)


I had tried the tasting menu at Rich Table 3 months ago and enjoyed it.  Now that the season was starting to change, I thought it would be a good time to go back and see what might be different.  I did not have a reservation this time, but I went to the restaurant just prior to its opening time on a Saturday in hopes of securing a walk-up seat at the bar.  There were only a few people ahead of me when I arrived, so I easily made it in and picked a spot at the end of the bar.  The rest of the bar area did not fill up right away, but within a half-hour, all seats were taken.

Some of the items listed on the menu had changed.  Some of the items that looked the same were being served with different ingredients.

For my wine for the evening, I selected a glass of the Chablis this time.

Last time, when I was seated at a table, there was a little wait before the snacks started to arrive.  And when they did, they were presented all at once.  Perhaps because I was at the bar this time, the snacks were brought as they were ready.

For the full write-up, click here.

Rich Table — San Francisco (1/2015)


Rich Table has made a name for itself in San Francisco in a relatively short time.  It can be hard to secure a reservation.  A lot of folks show up early for a seat at the bar to dine.  The first time I went there a year or so ago, that was how I had a chance to try their food.  They have since garnered a Michelin Bib designation.  And a recent review by a local food critic talked about a tasting menu experience, which I did not recall them having before.  So, I managed to secure an early dinner reservation one recent Friday evening.

In addition to the bar seating, there are several small tables and a large community table.  Reservations can be made via

Their drinks menu offers a wide variety of beverage choices.  I went with a glass of the 2011 French Chardonnay.

The food menu focuses on local ingredients and innovative combinations and presentations, which are what attracted me to the restaurant.  I didn’t know exactly what would be covered by the tasting menu.  I was hoping that at least some of the items would be taken from the standard menu, which is how it turned out.

For the full write-up, click here.

Quince 2nd Visit — San Francisco (1/2015)


I first visited Quince a little over three years ago.  Since then, they recently remodeled and earned an additional Michelin star (for a total of two).  Some friends had visited within the last few months, so I was interested in going back some time.  Coincidently, some other friends wanted to go, so we managed to find a reservation in late January to go.  In its current iteration, the restaurant has gone to just a tasting menu format with options for the standard menu or garden menu (greater emphasis on vegetables).  Both menus were the same price and the same length.

To start off, I went with a glass of the white Burgundy, which I enjoyed with several courses. My friends brought a nice Papapietro Perry Russian River Pinot Noir that took me to the end of the meal.

For the full write-up, click here.

Dinner Lab SF — San Francisco (3/2014)


I finally signed up for my first San Francisco Dinner Lab event.  I attended my first event in LA in November.  The ones in SF started in January, but the dates never worked or the menu was not appealing enough until this one.  On the original announcement, it appeared they were going to do 2 or three seatings.  When it opened up, I went for the first seating at 7:30pm.  Subsequently, it appeared they didn’t get enough sign-ups for later seatings, so there was only one that was done.

A few days before, I received an email asking for any food allergies.  On the day before the event, I received the address.   It was to be in a building that turned out to be a Sports Basement store.  When I arrived, I thought it might be right on the floor with all the merchandise.  It turns out there was a room downstairs.  I checked in at the door and then was told how to get to the dining area.  I was checked in again there.  Unlike, in LA, I did not have to sign anything, including a waiver of liability.

For the full write-up, click here.

Coi 2nd Visit — San Francisco (10/2013)


I decided I wanted to go back to Coi.  It had been about two years since my first visit.  They are still on, and I managed to book a 5:30 pm reservation on a Saturday night.  They have maintained their 2-star Michelin rating, and I wanted to see whether anything had changed.  Upon my arrival, I was promptly taken to my table.  I was the first guest of the evening to arrive.  After I was asked whether I wanted sparkling or still water, a champagne flute soon arrived and they offered to pour a glass of what I took to be the house champagne (French, mostly Chablis, premier cru), which I accepted.  The General Manager came by soon after to welcome me to the restaurant.  Subsequently, after other guests arrived a little while later, I noticed that none of the other tables received the same treatment.  I thought that perhaps they were trying to make me feel as comfortable as possible as a solo diner.  I know that it wasn’t because this was a return visit, as I was asked a couple of times later in the evening if this was my first visit (which surprised me, as I would have thought such information would have been conveyed in the reservation by

I was presented with the menus (wine, cocktails, and the tasting menu) was asked to let them know if I had any allergies, dietary restrictions or aversions.  I told them that I really wasn’t much of a lamb eater, and they said they would check with the chef for alternatives.                        

 I had thought about ordering a glass of the offered Riesling, but I decided to wait and see how long the champagne would last through the courses.

For the full write-up, click here.