The three Michelin-starred Saison, home to San Francisco's most expensive tasting menus, has suddenly become significantly more accessible. Joshua Skenes' SOMA-district venue now serves a vegetable tasting for $298, not a cheap menu by any measure, but a menu that's a hundred bucks cheaper than the restaurant''s "discovery" tasting, priced at $398.
In another courtesy to budget minded guests, Saison now permits non-omakase ordering at its chef's counter, where the menu is a collaboration between the regular kitchen and sushi chef Jiro Lin. That eight-seat space will continue to offer its set menus at $398 -- about six small plates plus 16-18 pieces of nigiri -- or at $225 for a similar bill of fare but without caviar. A la carte offerings will start at $8 and might include dishes such as "grilled rockfish with ichiban dashi infused with the bones of the fish & citrus leaves ($18)." Like at most good sushi restaurants, diners can discuss their budgets with the chef for a more tailored meal, a policy that Skenes had already been employing in the main dining room.
Skenes told Eater on Monday that the collaboration with Jiro Lin will last at least a year as the duo look for a separate space to open a proper restaurant.
The new vegetable tasting, using products sourced from Saison's farm, will run $778 for two after tax and service, and might include dishes such as "heirloom tomatoes & gooseberries cured gently in the wood oven with a gelée of grilled tomatillos, and beet hung over the fire for three days then slowly grilled, sauce of the roasting juices & rose vinegar," according to a release from the restaurant.
Saison has also re-introduced a la carte offerings in the bar area. Among those offerings are "Saison Reserve Caviar cured with our smoked salts & grilled buttermilk biscuits (sold by the ounce) or Mallard Duck roasted whole in the fireplace & a stew of the giblets ($38)."
Wine pairings at both the chef's counter and the dining room are priced at $298.