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.
I’ve been to Cotogna quite a few times now, the more casual sibling to Michelin three-star restaurant Quince. The restaurant was selected again to introduce some friends to chef Michael Tusk’s Italian cooking. We ordered a variety of things throughout the menu to share – an appetizer, a pizza, two pastas and one large format course.
Trestle is the second restaurant from the Stones Throw team. It opened in Jackson Square in last year, serving a rotating prix fixe menu at an extremely reasonable $35. That price tag buys you three courses with the option to have a pasta course for just $10 more. It’s really a deal for San Francisco standards. Furthermore, the pastas came with an optional white truffle supplement for $20. Our party of four ordered two extras (a pasta and a risotto) with white truffles on each.
I’ve been to Michael Chiarello’s Bottega once when it first opened, way back in 2009. I enjoyed the lunch there and always thought to come back. I didn’t think it would take me 7 years to do so (so many options, limited time!), but this time I stopped in for dinner.
The restaurant was packed on this Independence Day weekend. We lucked out and managed a corner booth in the patio which turned out to be an an ideal setting on a warm summer evening.
There’s plenty of good restaurants in the Napa Valley, but for me a trip just doesn’t feel complete without a stop at a Thomas Keller establishment. There would be no French Laundry on this brief trip, but a stop here at the more casual Ad Hoc was in order. The restaurant serves a 4-course fixed menu for $52, although there’s regularly a supplemental dish offered as well. Since the menu isn’t published until the morning of the meal, it’s a little bit of a crapshoot depending on what you’re looking for. We lucked out this time as this evening’s menu featured steak – a ribeye to be exact.
Hog Island Oyster Co. is based out of Tomales Bay, just north of San Francisco, with oyster bar locations in both San Francisco’s Ferry Building and Napa’s Oxbow Market. As its name implies, the restaurant serves up fresh oysters and other shellfish of all varieties, prepared very simply.
I’ve been to both the SF and Napa locations a couple of times. They’ve been very popular with both locals and tourists; lengthy waits are commonplace at this no-reservations spot especially on weekends. While spending the long holiday weekend in Napa, I stopped in for a lunch meal.
Lord Stanley opened about a year ago and has garnered some high praise in its first year. It received a Michelin star in October and was added to Michael Bauer’s Top 100 Restaurants in the Bay Area list in April after getting 3 1/2 stars from him.
The food is from the husband/wife team of Carrie and Rupert Blease, formerly of Commonwealth and Central Kitchen. At Lord Stanley, they are cooking a refined cuisine described as modern European/Californian. A seven course tasting menu is available ($83), but we went a la carte on this evening.
San Francisco has seen a lot of growth in its sushi scene in recent years, particularly in the high end segment. Michelin-starred sushi restaurants Maruya, Kusakabe, and Wako opened in 2013-2014; Omakase opened in 2015 joining that group with a Michelin star of its own. I’ve yet to go to one of those other restaurants, but was able to squeeze in Omakase as my last dinner in San Francisco over the Christmas holiday.
Two fixed menus are available each evening, one at the $150 level and one at $200. From what I could tell, the higher level offered a couple more pieces of sushi and a beef course towards the end of the meal (at least on this evening). We went for the $200 level.