151 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/17/16
In Situ was probably my most anticipated restaurant opening in San Francisco this past year. It’s both a unique and copycat concept – the restaurant exists to duplicate dishes from notable restaurants around the world, as closely as possible. It’s kind of like a rotating museum exhibit of restaurant dishes, fittingly housed in the SF Museum of Modern Art.
The “chef” here is Cory Lee, ex-chef de cuisine of The French Laundry and chef/owner of Benu and Monsieur Benjamin. He has as strong a pedigree as anyone to be able to duplicate this diverse cuisine here.
A broad array of dining instruments clearly indicated this would be a unique kind of meal.
Shrimp & Tasso Henican Five pepper jelly, pickled okra, Crystal hot sauce beurre blanc (Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1990)
Glazed Chicken Thigh onsen egg, lettuce, sansho, teriyaki (Hiroshi Sasaki, Gion Sasaki, Kyoto, Japan, 2015)
Fresh Stone Crab Claw steamed with egg white and Chinese wine (Lau Chiu Shing, Fook Lam Moon, Hong Kong, China, c. 1970)
Octopus and the Coral braised octopus and seaweed (Virgilio Martinez, Central, Lima, Peru, 2014)
Liberty Duck Breast French green lentils, apples, aged red wine vinegar sauce (Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, California, 1995)
The Forest quinoa risotto, mushrooms, parsley “moss” (Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur Menton, France, 2011)
Jokbal Ssam lettuce wraps with pig’s trotter (Byung Jin Kim, Gaon, Seoul, South Korea, 2015)
Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes sichuan peppercorn, yu choy (David Chang, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, New York City, 2007)
Guinea Fowl Larp Chiang Mai raw vegetables and herbs (David Thompson, Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand, 2011)
Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart (Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy, 2012)
Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake hazelnut, white chocolate, cookie (Albert Adrià, Tickets, Barcelona, Spain, 2015)
Interpretation of Vanity moist chocolate cake, cold almond cream, bubbles and cocoa (Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz, Errenteria, Spain, 2007)
In Situ was an interesting meal. While I still love the concept; in practice, it made for a meal that seemed kind of all over the place. I guess that’s the point, but it felt disjointed when creole shrimp was served alongside a Japanese chicken dish and Korean pork lettuce cups. Or, Chinese stone crab served with Peruvian octopus. On an individual basis, however, I really enjoyed trying each one.
Execution of the dishes seemed to be very strong. While I’ve been to a few of the restaurants represented this evening, I’ve never had any of the exact dishes so it was hard to truly compare. However, the flavors and preparations for the restaurants I was familiar with (The French Laundry, Commander’s Palace, Momofuku Ssam Bar) seemed pretty consistent with what I remembered. I would definitely return once the menu refreshed.