It shouldn’t be any grave surprise to learn that we love Michael Mina restaurants and in fact, just reviewed Four Season’s Wit & Wisdom in Baltimore in September, another Michael Mina establishment. Despite the fact that I feel that I’m on airplanes as much as I spend time in California restaurants, despite the fact that I hang my hat here most of the time, I have eaten at Michael Mina’s downtown San Francisco location on several occasions over the past few years, both for dinner and lunch and even did a delicious write-up on a 7 course wine pairing dinner three years ago.
Recently I attended a luncheon hosted by the Hawaii Tourism Board in one of their private rooms and as such, it was a set menu. The good news about a larger table is that you have an opportunity to see and taste a wider array of dishes. They have a number of restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, including a few stand-outs where I had memorable meals — in fact, I attended the RN74 launch when it opened in the city and ate at Bourbon Steak earlier this year — still haven’t tried their local Test Kitchen which I’d love to experience one of these days.
Lunch is served in the dining room featuring an à la carte menu and at the bar featuring an array of seasonal small plates as well as salads if you’re not in a private room as we were in this case. Since tuna tartare was on the menu as an appetizer, I couldn’t say no — they serve it with Habanero-infused sesame oil, pine nuts and Quail Egg Yolk. Delish!
They also serve simple soups and salads at lunch, but beautifully presented and prepared. Below, a grilled cheese sandwich with Sunchoke soup.
Like we had during the 7 course wine pairing, they offer a daily caviar choice even for lunch which we didn’t sample from a set menu obviously, but it’s worth mentioning since they have Siberian, Russian or Golden Osetra to choose from. You can also get seasonal Japanese sashimi, which is incredibly fresh. Lighter apps include an Autumn Salad Roasted Beet, apple, Marcona almond and blue cheese, or a Romaine Lettuce salad with avocado mousse, red Quinoa, Persimmon and Pedtro Xim e nez. Yum!
For mains on the heavier side, they offer a Cauliflower Risotto with Maitake, and pomegranate seeds. On the lighter side, a Cedar-Grilled Autumn knife fish with watermelon radish, Bolinas Black Cod with quinoa, sunchoke maitake and mustard greens, and a King Salmon with truffled apple jam, potato gnocchi, prosciutto and pickled cabbage. OR, of course you can order red meat and get your fix with a Prime Black Angus ribeye with potatoes, cabbage and beets. Also not available, but something I’d love to taste one of these days is the Tolenas Farm Quail with Butternut Squash, brussels sprouts, pomegranate seed and Foie Gras.
Now for dessert….bring it on. I went for a cheese sampler since I am going light on carbs — they served it with figs, apple and peach slices.
San Francisco’s legendary Executive Chef Ron Siegel goes for bold, balanced flavors in a cuisine, which draws upon Japanese and French influences, which you can see throughout the menu selection. Their signature Trios Menu is the star of the MICHAEL MINA experience inviting guests to taste one featured ingredient in a progression of three variations to fully explore a dynamic range of flavor profiles. The Trios Menu is a multi course, prix-fixe menu offered for dinner only at $105 per person, with vegetarian options and additional supplements. A full tasting menu is available for dinner, as well as a paired down ‘a la carte’ menu at the bar.