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Feast on The Perennial's Menu of Eco-Comfort Food

Food is not an afterthought in this innovative restaurant.

Patricia Chang

At a place like The Perennial, a restaurant that not only serves food but intends to change the way the industry operates, the menu could be something of an afterthought— the fight against climate change is a pretty weighty topic, after all. However, the food has been carefully preserved in the old-fashioned sense: as in, something to be enjoyed with friends.

From Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz, the husband-and-wife team behind Mission Chinese Food and Commonwealth, and chef Chris Kiyuna, the restaurant's cuisine is described as "progressive agrarian cuisine." While thoughtful consumption of resources is a headliner for Myint and Leibowitz, Kiyuna has designed a menu meant to be an equally thoughtful consideration of satisfying and flavorful food. "I'm pained to call it comfort food because that has so many other connotations, and that's not necessarily what we're doing, but there's a satisfaction factor for sure," Kiyuna told Eater.

"We want people to relax. You start talking about climate change and that can be stressful all by itself, and we're very conscious about not making it a doom-and-gloom restaurant."

Expect dishes like a potato confit with clam bagna cauda (featuring clams from the restaurant's aquaponic farm in Oakland), celeriac gnocchi with grilled apples and fresh cheese, and roast lamb whose cut will vary, based on what part of the whole animal is currently on offer. The Perennial's  Nicola Carey developed the restaurant's bread recipe, using a perennial wheatgrass called Kernza— a grass developed specifically to reduce the release of carbon into the atmosphere via it's deep root system. Cocktails are from Jennifer Colliau (The Interval at Long Now), who has developed a bar program with similar emphasis on conservation. Drinks like the pisco sherbet use leftover juice from the bar to create a sherbet that is then topped with California-made pisco and corn nuts; most are pre-batched and served on tap, conserving energy by refrigerating large kegs in the walk-in versus using reach-in coolers.

The Perennial is officially open for dinner on Wednesday, January 20. Hours will be Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

The Perennial

59 9th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 500-7788