The restaurants at SF's high-end hotels have taken a turn for the casual in recent years, with the Ritz-Carlton's Dining Room becoming the more relaxed Parallel 37, the Mandarin Oriental's Silks transforming into the cocktail-centric Brasserie S&P, and the Grand Hyatt's chichi Grandview being renovated into the laid-back OneUP. The latest hotel to get a casual-chic restaurant makeover is the Four Seasons, whose Seasons restaurant had been in operation since the hotel's opening in 2001; it closed last November, and reopened last night as MKT, a steakhouse and cocktail bar.
MKT, which was designed by NYC firm AvroKo, also rides in on another trend: a theme based on old-school newspapers, which can be seen at nearby Local Edition and Oakland's Tribune Tavern. (Fetishizing old newspapers is apparently more interesting than saving current ones.) Recycled newsprint wallpaper, ink bottles, block type, and brass detailing based on newspaper drying racks all figure in, and the soaring views will certainly make diners feel like they know all the stories in the naked city.
Mark Richardson, the Four Seasons' longtime executive chef, remains at the helm, while Chris Aguirre is serving as the head chef of MKT. Appetizers include simple items like Caesar salad, roasted beets, and fried green tomatoes, as well as a couple of more ambitious offerings like soft-scrambled eggs with uni and chive brioche crisps. The menu then moves to pastas, entrees like scallops and salmon, and two kinds of burgers, including one cooked in duck fat. Then, of course, there are the steaks: sourced from local farms, they range from an eight-ounce grass-fed filet to a 24-ounce Angus porterhouse. Check out the full food menu here.
Seasons' bartender, Oliver Lee, also remains on board, and has introduced a new cocktail menu to pair with the food, including a Blue Bottle espresso martini, a habanero dark and stormy, and a menu of punch bowls. All ingredients are sourced from within 100 miles of the bar, and there's also a rotating "tribute" menu of variations on a classic cocktail (it's currently the Tom Collins). The full cocktail menu is here. Also of note are the staff uniforms, designed by locals in a Project Runway-esque competition (read more about them in this Chron feature), and the private dining room for events, which can only be accessed with a secret knock on the door. Once they get rolling, they also plan to hold weekend brunch fashion shows and blog-themed happy hours.
MKT will be open straight through from 6 am-12 am daily, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night bar bites. Call (415) 633-3838 for reservations.
· MKT Bar and Restaurant Headed to Four Seasons [~ ESF ~]