File under "unexpected reviews": New York Times dining critic Pete Wells snuck into town to sample the reincarnated Saison, which he also visited in its original Mission home last year. And while his meal last year wasn't as good, he's in love this time: "The issue is whether Saison, which has won two Michelin stars along with its share of mixed reviews, delivers enough pleasure to justify the pain...my answer has gone from a reluctant no to a definite yes. Saison brings together some of the best and the worst things about tasting menus, but now, I believe, the good has the upper hand."
Wells loved many of Joshua Skenes' dishes, including asparagus with cured tuna and sea urchin and parmesan custard with peas, and even though a snotty waiter chastised him for his note app's autocorrection of "Krug" champagne to "Kruger," he found the staff "kinder and less cocky" than last time, when they acted like they had "come straight from God's workshop, and God couldn't quite remember who I was." Pastry chef Shawn Gawle's "heart-stopping" souffle and Mark Bright's wine service also get shoutouts. So while Michael Bauer may not have been won over by the quality of the food in comparison to the attitude, Wells thinks it's worth the hassle: "For all of the extraordinary demands it makes on diners, Saison delivers a meal that is at least as extraordinary." We're guessing Wells' good word might finally make inroads for Skenes with the James Beard Awards, which have previously shown him no affection, not to mention lure in a few out-of-towners.