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XYZ Tries Its Hand at the Seasonal Decor Experiment

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SoMa: So, the W Hotel's XYZ Restaurant will be transforming into Seasons at the XYZ; the idea mirrors what Park Avenue has done in Manhattan to much success, change the decor with the seasons. Some key differences, though, are that Park Avenue's seasonal changes are pretty dramatic and San Francisco embraces neither gimmicks nor seasonal nostalgia like NYC. Also, most restaurants abide by seasonal ingredients here. Bauer pretty much panned the entire concept yesterday, but we're not as down on the idea as The Big Guy, though we didn't see much aesthetic difference either (yes, the half-hearted "summer" might need to be tweaked).

To play devil's advocate, consider that for a three-star restaurant, XYZ has not exactly been generating a lot of buzz lately on the dining scene, and at worst, the high-profile gimmick will turn heads towards chef Paul Piscopo for a bit. At best, this seasons experiment works out, the changes are something to watch, the kitchen stays strong, and XYZ returns to relevancy. For now, we're filing this under "Wait and See" with the cautious hope that they'll make it work.

Here's the release. As always, your thoughts are very welcome, in the comments or straight to us:

XYZ RESTAURANT AT W SAN FRANCISCO ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF “SEASONS AT XYZ”

A SENSORY DINING EXPERIENCE THAT WILL TRANSFORM WITH THE START OF EACH NEW SEASON

SAN FRANCISCO (June 23, 2008) –XYZ Restaurant at W San Francisco is thrilled to announce the debut of “Seasons at XYZ,” a new sensory dining experience that will transform the award-winning restaurant at the start of each season. Launching on June 23rd 2008, Seasons at XYZ will celebrate summer with a new menu featuring sun-kissed seasonal fair, surf-inspired décor, and whimsical elements throughout the restaurant. With the arrival of each new season, XYZ Restaurant will offer guests a dinning experience unique to that time of year.

Kicking off in June, Seasons at XYZ will bring the outdoors in, inviting dinners to experience summer at XYZ Restaurant. The dining room will be dressed in seasonal shades of white and green, with bright botanicals and table top accessories enlivening the room. As a tribute to the season, XYZ Restaurant will display summer-inspired artwork. Two handmade surfboards will flank the back wall, providing an ideal backdrop for oceanic photography by local artist Erin Kunkel. Executive Chef Paul Piscopo will debut a delicious summer-inspired menu featuring dishes created from fresh summer ingredients including: Asparagus Pizza with spring onion and asiago; Sweet Corn Soup with sourdough croutons; Soft Shell Blue Crab with poached apricot, arugula and a fregola salad; and Striped Bass with braised artichokes, roasted mushrooms and a preserved lemon broth. Seasons at XYZ will stimulate the senses and tantalize the palette, with fresh seasonal cuisine and atmosphere.

“We are thrilled to be rolling out this seasonal concept just in time for the summer solstice,” says XYZ General Manager Mark Ernst. “Paul’s dedication and commitment to sourcing the freshest local seasonal ingredients will truly now be showcased in a setting that serves as the perfect backdrop for his delicious cuisine.”

[Ed. note: shortened for length]

What’s next? As the leaves turn color and temperatures change, so will the dining experience at XYZ Restaurant. Guests and diners alike will delight in the seasonal surprises that await them throughout the year with the arrival of Fall, Winter and Spring. In Fall, XYZ Restaurant will be transformed with burnt orange hues, a new menu, along with artwork and images that evoke the season. In Winter XYZ will sparkle with icy white elements mirroring the weather outside, and in Spring it will bloom with fresh blossoms and warm hints of color scattered throughout the restaurant. Seasons at XYZ will take guests on a dining exploration through taste and time, as they experience the seasons at XYZ Restaurant. XYZ Is located within W San Francisco at 181 Third Street at Howard. For reservations or more information please visit www.xyz-sf.com or call 415.817.7836.

· A new take on seasonal cuisine [BauerBlog]

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