To quickly recap, Michael Mina ended its first life in mid-September; then was reincarnated back in October in the old Aqua digs -- with lots of notable changes. Gone are the days of trios and white-tablecloths. Instead Sir Mina has been working the power lunch, multiple tasting menu options and an Asian bent. Not surprisingly, the place had been flooded with eager faithfuls since opening day. But what's the real word on the street at this juncture? Will Mina 2.0 continue to wow the expense-account and otherwise deeply pocketed masses? Or will it fall short of its ever-so-high expectations?
The Good News: FoodNut asks: "How is Michael Mina 2.0? He is back and better than ever. The cuisine is inventive while-being accessible to the mainstream. We were surprised by the excellent food and top-notch service." [FoodNut]
The Service News: Jenny K. of Yelp says, "For a restaurant that was once awarded two Michelin stars, service should be everything and unfortunately, this place lacks it. The moment we walked in, I felt the vibe that we were being profiled." However, FoodNut had a great experience, "One expects top-notch service at a venue like this and they delivered just that. A knowledgeable and accommodating waiter and very good service." [Yelp, FoodNut]
The Price News: Ellen H. of Chowhound asks, "How does Michael Mina compare to top San Francisco restaurants like Gary Danko? This restaurant definitely belongs in the same league again. If you are on a budget, come to Michael Mina for the much lower cost lunch menu. They have a $39 tasting menu at lunch that should fit the bill." But there's a good amount of this vibe out there as well: "Overall would be 5 stars but menu is is overpriced. Tiny portions leave you no choice but to order multiple dishes. Is is probably the most overpriced menu in town. Service is outstanding. We will not return at these outrageous prices." [Yelp, OpenTable]
The How-To-Order News: Grace C. of Yelp has some sage advice: "I recommend getting appetizers and/or shared plates over entrees, as the appetizers were all excellent while the entrees were just a little above average. The portions, to my surprise, were pretty big (for a fine dining meal.) I would skip the desserts because they were not one bit impressive." On OpenTable several agree with this review the tasting menu is the way to go: "Michael Mina's tasting menu was great. One of the better meals I have had in SF over the years."
The Gratis Bread News: Grace C. of Yelp says "the bread and the honey ricotta cheese that they serve with it = divine." FoodNut agrees: "Grilled sourdough bread and ricotta honey spread was excellent." [Yelp, FoodNut]
The Decor News: FoodNut feels good likes what they find: "Upscale formal elegance with huge mirrors, modern art, hardwood tables and beautiful chairs. Long bar up front. The loud, dimly lit, and high-ceiling room was filled with well dressed diners, businessmen, and locals. Most 40+. We feel this location is far more intimate than the old Westin hotel." [FoodNut]
The Bar Menu News: Quoth waldrons of Chowhound "I had some fabulous lamb chops off the bar menu last year.... the chops, dessert and a glass of champagne were a wonderful (and surprisingly filling) dinner." [Chowhound]
The Lobster Pot Pie News: Chowhound's tomatoaday says: "I had the full sized version when he was at Aqua and thought it was underwhelming, especailly [sic] for the price. I ended up switching entrees with my husband who said it was ok but nothing special. For $75, I expected something special and Willie Brown at the next table was not what I was looking for! The tartar was outstanding though." David L of Yelp adds "Had a craving for lobster pot pie after the niner game. The pie has changed. It's still good but I prefer the original. The current rendition is deconstructed. They bring a puff pastry layer on a plate and proceed to place the lobster, cream, corn... on top." [Chowhound, Yelp]
The Meh News: Salmaun A of Yelp: "For a Michelin rated restaurant..I expect to be OOOOO'd & AAAAA'd all night long. Michael Mina? More like "OOOOO!!!" & (Yawn)" Christy F. adds "The food is good but not great. I have such fond memories of being wowed by the old MM, and it was not just all the three-way dishes. There are so many new restaurants and great classics, I don't need to repeat this one." [Yelp]
Have an opinion or an experience to share? Please do enlighten us in the comments or over the EaterWire.
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