Saison’s Latest Tasting Menu, Illustrated

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Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Saison is an amazing restaurant and the finest, most quintessentially S.F. dining experience you can probably have right now. We don't know why it doesn't have four stars from the Chronicle yet, but it likely will soon, and before Bauer comes around the place may even have a shot at three Michelin stars. But we don't want to jinx them. We'll just say that a recent meal at Saison proved to us that chef Joshua Skenes has only honed his craft and upped the ante over the past three years in that humble, cozy space behind the Stable Caf and as he prepares to expand (or move?) to SoMa next year, he's doing some of the best work of his career.

All of the sixteen to eighteen dishes in the current, non-chef's-counter tasting menu (the chef's counter is now upwards of 22 or more, not including intermezzos) are fairly small, with one of the largest remaining his signature Brassicas course of roasted and braised brassicas greens and seaweeds with seaweed consomm and toasted rice. And now the service and pacing are so smoothly orchestrated that the dozen and a half plates don't feel like an onslaught, or like drudgery. Dishes float in front of you, Steve Winwood and Hall & Oats play on the dining room speakers, sommelier Mark Bright pours some obscure French whites, and before you know it, three hours have passed and you've just had some of the most intricate, inventive, and cleanly flavored food of your life.

Check out our slideshow of the ever-evolving menu at the restaurant, including a couple of new additions from recently hired pastry chef Shawn Gawle, formerly from New York's Corton.

Earlier: Josh Sens Calls Saison Money Well Spent
Actually Pretty Awesome: Crudités at Saison
Saisons Joshua Skenes Reacts to His Michelin Stars
A Sixteen-Course Meal at Saison, Illustrated