It’s been four months since Russian Hill neighborhood wine restaurant Mason Pacific closed after a kitchen fire. That’s three-and-a-half months longer than owners Jay and Shannon Thomson anticipated being closed, but rest easy — Mason Pacific will roar back to life as this Thursday, July 14, and with a new chef to boot.
The Thomsons brought on chef Max Mackinnon, who joins from Vermont’s Pistou (where he earned a Best New Restaurant nod from the James Beard Foundation in 2012), to create food that "will be an evolution of what you loved about Mason Pacific," which they described as "neighborhood restaurant that’s worth traveling for," in a letter to friends, family, and customers about the reopening. Mackinnon has created an all-new menu that’s in line with the restaurant’s wine-friendly Californian fare. "It’s not a drastic departure from what it was before," Mackinnon told Eater. "I hope when people are in the restaurant and they see the food and the menu, that it feels like we’re in northern California and feels like a Bay Area restaurant."
It certainly accomplishes that, with the menu (in full below) split into categories such as "Vegetables," "Land and Sea," and "Raw/Chilled," with dishes familiar to this city, like Liberty Farms duck with eggplant/mushroom purée and turnip or scallops with avocado, nasturtium, and sesame. Mackinnon told Eater he’s particularly excited about the vegetables section. "I hope that’s something that jumps out at people," he said. "The food is going to be fairly simple. Maybe not all of the techniques are simple, but it’s simple and clean food on a plate."
As for what has stayed the same at the restaurant, the design is what you remember, as is the recently-relaunched wine program that features picks and programs from Somm star Dustin Wilson and RN74's Eric Railsback. Mackinnon said working with Wilson and Railsback was a huge draw. "It's good to have good people around to push you and to make sure you're working at a high level," he said.
Mason Pacific reopens to the public this Thursday, July 14. Check out the full menus below.