Well, I am a foodie. I love food, and watch the Food Network religiously. After seeing Giada eat at this restaurant, I had to try it. When I finally made it back to San Francisco in August, I quickly made a reservation. The earliest time was 10pm, a little late, but I HAD to eat there. The restaurant is tucked away inside the Westin, which is in Union Square. We walked in, and were quickly escorted to our seats. We were presented with the evening's menu and I was so excited! I started with the seafood trio (which may I add, is an additional $15 to the prix fixe menu) I was so excited to eat the lobster roll, shrimp cocktail, and softshell crab. Then I ordered the salmon trio for dinner, and the root beer float & cookies for dessert (Giada ordered this too)
I was so disappointed with the first course. The shrimp cocktail was a shrimp jello in a clear bowl!!! The lobster roll and soft shell crab were a little better, but not by much. Dinner was terrible... dessert was just ok. For the price we paid for our meals, I expected so much more! The only nice little treat were the ice cream lollipops they serve you before they deliver the bill. The minute your behind sits in their chair, it's $100... and it only goes up from there. I don't mind paying good money for good food, but this is not a restaurant I will return to, EVER!!!
Fine Dining, Contemporary American in Union Square
Located in Union Square's fancy shmancy Westin hotel, this restaurant is known for its trios. We went for my dad's birthday, and in true family fashion we tried to cover all our bases. Service was good, ambiance nice although loud since it's an open space to the hotel lobby, and the food was good. Ah, the food. I'd say it redeemed the more disappointing fine dining meals that I've had in the last year, thanks to the pastry department (even though their pastry chef is vegan...).
- sea urchin custard w/ dashi gelee + rice crispy ball things: buttery and smooth
- fried crab ball w/ pickled vegetables: nice chunk of crab, but mine was soggy
- eel on top of stuff I don't remember: fishy
- (mine) American kobe + foie shabu shabu: I'm sick (I should really be asleep right now) so I wanted something soupy. It was aiiight
- scallops: small! my sister and aunt liked 2/3
- watercress stuff: my uncle said it was just ok
- foie: seemed like it was the winner at the table
Shabu shabu, halibut w/ lobster pot pie in the background
- duck: I was surprised that in all 3 parts the duck was cooked the same way (seared), although one of them did include a confit. It was cooked very nicely though - juicy and tender.
- halibut: big disappointment. I don't think fish should be poached! That reminds me of when Richard from Top Chef did his crappy sous vide salmon
- Beef: I didn't try it, but my dad said it was interesting
- Lobster pot pie: crowd-pleasing table-side presentation. Nice rustic copper pot with the pie crust, cut open, then plated meticulously in front of us. Compared to how it actually tasted... presentation wins out hands down
- Lamb: I didn't try it, but my uncle finished it before I was even done with the second portion of my duck!
breakfast for dessert, the "mission," frozen bon bons (hazelnut + chocolate, green tea + white chocolate)
Desserts: THE BIG WINNER (their website has the current menus with full detail)
- "Mission": the most incredibly silky flan, a tres leches guava cake, and a mole pudding (I could really only taste the Mexican chocolate so it didn't really feel like a mole to me)
- "Breakfast": a tangy yogurt mousse, a fun milk + cereal, and a french toast w/ maple syrup ice cream (my least favorite of the trio)
- "PB sandwich": There were a lot of components to this dish, but the most interesting was a sourdough ice cream, that didn't really taste like sourdough to me. Not sure how they made it
- "Chocolate + flowers": didn't try it
The creativity of this restaurant really shined through their dessert menu, regardless of how biased I might seem. That's probably the best dessert I've had in a long time!
A stunning décor, by the renowned Barbara Barry
Selection of over 3,000 wines from around the world, highlighting wines from Burgundy, Austria, and the Rhone
Michael Mina, Managing Chef Behind This Top Downtown San Francisco Restaurants
Named Bon Appetit's "Chef of the Year 2005", San Francisco Magazine's "Chef of the Year 2005", and "Restaurateur of the Year 2005" by the International Food and Beverage Forum, acclaimed chef Michael Mina continues to dazzle the culinary world with the 2004 opening of one of the best restaurants in San Francisco, Union Square. Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle calls his work "...a rarified vision of what we want San Francisco to be... Michael Mina is a great and ambitious chef." This eponymous restaurant, MICHAEL MINA, marks the newest phase and ultimate gourmet expression in the career of the James Beard Award-winning chef. Come discover this stunning downtown San Francisco restaurant - located in the legendary Westin St. Francis. Some of the restaurant's more recent accolades include:
"Michael Bauer Four Stars, San Francisco Chronicle"
"Michelin Guide Two Stars, 2006"
"Best San Francisco Restaurant and Chef, 2006", Wine Spectator
"Best Chef: Michael Mina, 2005", Bon Appetit American Food and Entertaining Awards
"Best Chef: Michael Mina, 2005", San Francisco Magazine
"Restaurateur of the Year: Michael Mina, 2005", International Food & Beverage Forum
"Best Chef, California: Michael Mina, 2002", James Beard Foundation
"Top 40 Restaurants in America, 2005", Gayot
"Wine Spectator Grand Award, 2006 and 2005", Wine Spectator
"Best New Restaurant, 2005", San Francisco Magazine
"Best Service, 2005", San Francisco Magazine