Friends, we have eaten gold leaf. That’s what they’re serving these days at the new digs of the most lauded restaurant in SF, Saison: a voluptuous dish of sea urchin over grilled root custard in a handmade Japanese ceramic bowl, topped with a generous skin of melted gold. (Let’s settle one question right away: no, our toilet wasn’t gilded the next morning. Nor did we use the leaf to fake a grill.) It’s part of the $248 tasting menu, $396 with insane wine pairing, at this two-star Michelin hotspot. Don’t worry, there’s a bar menu featuring reserve caviar dolloped over corn pudding and grilled Australian black truffle stew, both at $88, cough. Look, we have to hand it to renegade chef Joshua Skenes and sommelier and co-owner Mark Bright — if you ever can/want to shell out $400 for a meal (ours was a press comp), this is the absolutely perfect one. Fourteen courses of the best the world has to offer, served in jaw-dropping ways. Yet it was the metaphorical combination of the dish mentioned above — gold smothering an urchin — that rang particularly true of this moment in San Francisco history. The delicious, flashy rush. And then what lies beneath it, left behind.
178 Townsend, SF. (415) 828-7990, www.saisonsf.com