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Saison - New rules, so most online reviews are outdated

Saison reminded me of Coi, with its tiny portions, precious pairings, and whopping prices. At least Saison has a nice, relaxed atmosphere that Coi -- in its dourness -- lacks. Don't go to Saison if you're looking for a meal, however, because what you will get are small bites. Unfortunately, when you plate up small bites for big prices, you can't afford a misstep -- and we had some serious ones. Let me go straight to the lamb with this comment, because the lamb was the subject of a previous review here. The lamb was served red and cold, with an unappetizing collar of unrendered fat ringing the small chewy pieces of meat. (Interestingly, Coi doesn't know how to cook a piece of meat either -- Coi's beef was blue when I had ordered it medium rare.) There was absolutely nothing good to say about that lamb. Similarly, the dish of brassica featured exceedingly tough strands of greens, albeit soaked in a delicious broth. The farm egg never registered, paired as it was with an overpowering roe. The fluke was absolutely delicious - delicate flakes of raw fish in a mild vinaigrette and strewn with tiny, crisp broccoli shards. Consider also that there is no wine list -- you drink what they are pouring or you don't drink. Our waitperson, however, was generous with the pours and there is a very good vibe there (again -- unlike Coi -- ugh). I just wish there was value for the money.

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Saison
2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Nov 08, 2010
Simca in San Francisco Bay Area

Farina - Any Recent Experiences?

I've been here twice, most recently last Saturday night during prime service. Our first dinner was so uninspired that I can't remember what I ate -- I remembered only that I would not go there again. BUT, things change, friends invited us, so we went. The waiter was so freaking rude and aggressive that had I been dining with my spouse, we simply would have left. (The waiter is the one who looks sort of like Gavin Newsom with tattoos. Avoid him at all costs.) We ordered the burrata appetizer, which was sloppy but good and generously proportioned. My spouse ordered handkerchief pasta with the gold-star-award pesto sauce. Meh. Too creamy and small portion. I ordered the tortellini with venison ragout which, while tasty, was horribly dry. The table ordered the fried milk dessert, which was as weird as it sounds, but I skipped dessert and ordered a glass of nocino. The nocino was terrible -- like someone dissolved a piece of cinnamon candy in the glass. Don't waste your time here. There are plenty of other good Italian restaurants where you won't overpay and hate your waiter.

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Farina
3560 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Sep 13, 2010
Simca in San Francisco Bay Area

Anson Mills Grits

Candy, also try Logan Turnpike Mills. Scott Peacock (and there's a man who knows his grits) recommends them, and my family loves them. They do take about an hour to cook up right, though.

Mar 16, 2010
Simca in General Topics

Michael Mina's RN74 in San Francisco

I was very disappointed with my belated first trip here. My dining companion and I were seated along the long banquette, where I was unfortunate enough to have the aisle seat. Everybody, and I mean everybody, hit me or my chair every time they walked by (and I was scrunched up as tight as possible and am a relatively slender person). We started with the house-made mortadella, which had a nice texture but was completely tasteless. The sour cherry added a jarring and overpowering sweet note. We followed with the hamachi tartare -- again, nice texture and fresh fish but absolutely no flavor - and the roasted beets with honey and snow peas. The beets were well cooked but all the flavors on the plate were disjointed. There was a blob of honey here, some snow peas over there, but the flavors never coalesced. Is anyone actually tasting these dishes before they go out? For my main, I tossed them what I thought would be a softball: bacon-wrapped pork loin with cornbread, mustard greens, mustard, rhubarb, and whole grain mustard. I'm a Southern girl and all about pigs & greens -- how could this miss? Again, there was an astounding lack of flavor given the succulence of the ingredients. I am convinced the cornbread was made by someone who only has read about cornbread and never actually eaten it. I didn't even identify it as cornbread when I took a bite -- I thought someone dropped a ladyfinger on my plate. It was dry and mealy with a jarringly sweet taste. The pork itself was beautifully cooked to perfect medium but it had absolutely no taste unless you found the mustard (hidden under some greens, west of the meat) and introduced them in a hurry. The greens (which I am convinced were not mustard greens but spinach) were undersalted and overcooked. The rhubarb, which intrigued me, was a complete fail. Four sticks of rhubarb were randomly scattered around my plate. That was it. Chef failed to integrate the rhubarb into any other part of the dish, and eating cooked rhubarb sticks is just not exciting. To be fair, I should probably return for another go before I completely write off this restaurant but at the prices MM charges, I won't. I probably won't return, even if someone else pays.

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RN74
301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Feb 26, 2010
Simca in San Francisco Bay Area