Saison the 3 Michelin Star Dining Experience

The sacred honor & prestige of fine dining. The pinnacle award for restaurants. A world that I know…. nothing about.

Yep, this may come as a surprise, but (just like Paul) I have very cheap taste in food.

Chicken? [Meat? Good!]

Oysters? [Raw? Bad!]   Crabs?  [Uhhhhhhh….]    Lobsters? [Smelly. Yuck!] 

Salmon? [Yay.]      Uni? [Nay.] 

Beef? [Meat?! YUM] 

 

I may travel fancy, but when it comes to food, I’m a simple carnivore bear. The only time I might eat these delicacies is when it’s offered on a First Class flight.

IMG_7101
Lufthansa First Class caviar

 

In fact, I’m notorious for rejecting expensive food in flights all the time. After declining caviar in Emirates First Class, I still remember Miki (to this day) yelling at me to the point of no return. That annoyance resonated in my recent Lufthansa First Class flight, so I acquiesced when they asked if I wanted to try this rare fish roe. It was my first time trying caviar… & probably my last.

 

So with an unrefined palate and an empty stomach, I Chai Bear, say unto you in the words of my friends: “Allez, 3 Michelin Star cuisine!”

 

Photo Apr 01, 7 17 20 PM
Saison San Francisco

 

 

To paint you a fiscal picture, Saison is an American restaurant located in the SoMa district of San Francisco. On any given night, the restaurant charges at least $296 USD (gratuity not included) per person. Deposit fee ($88 USD / person) is required to make a reservation. Thus, with six humans… that’s $528 USD out the window upon walk-in.

 

Promptly at 5:30pm, a suited gentleman opens the door and welcomes us into their Michelin world.

 

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main entrance

 

 

Immediately upon entering, we notice a well-decorated bar that’s primarily used for a waiting area.

 

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bar waiting area

 

 

Like a First Class flight, we constantly feel like there’s a Saison entourage catering to our every needs.

 

Going to the restroom?  [A staff shall escort you the way]

Heading back to your seat?  [Another staff shall pull out your chair.]

Sparkling or still water half empty?  [Yep, there’s a refill staff for that too.]

 

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the Saison service army behind us

 

 

The kitchen layout is up close and personal. Can you smell the expensive food in the air? Hm, since this is San Francisco, I wonder if their ingredients are small batch, artisan, and/or locally sourced ingredients…

 

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discussing today’s omakase

 

 

As if my mind was being read…

“Want a brief tour of our kitchen?” a staff asks, “we can start here where we freshly prepare our lettuces, herbs, and flowers that all come from our farm which changes daily”

 

saisontour1

 

 

“And over here is our ember fire where all our ingredients are cooked over the flame to bring out the flavors of our dishes.”

 

saisontour2

 

 

 

As I head back to my seat, the staff (again) promptly pulls out the chair and prepares a floral tea to “cleanse” our palate.

 

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floral tea

 

 

As I sip on the tea, the main supervisor welcomes us and offers the option to add a caviar dish to our meal.

“It’ll only be another $88 USD more per person” 

 

really

 

Um…. I have trouble eating caviar on First Class flights for free. And now 88 dollars?! NO THANK YOU.

 

First dish then? Of course… a lobster. Since this is a 3-star Michelin restaurant, I opt to take a bite.

Alternatively though, fish & sashimi can be provided for those that are allergic (or hate 😉 ) shellfish dishes.

 

 

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lobster, fish, & sashimi on lettuce wrap

 

 

The next dish is orgasm sea urchin.

It’s uniquely prepared on a sesame sourdough bread. I don’t know what sorcery they put in it, but even I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

 

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highlight of the night

 

 

In fact, some of my friends (no joke) did this internally as they swallowed the Uni.

 

standing ovation

 

 

Since the dishes are very hands-on. Towels are provided after every course.

 

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warm towels upon every course

 

 

At this point, I finish our welcome champagne (courtesy of the restaurant) and sip on our Burgundy wine ($158 for the bottle). Yikes, quite the up-charge.

 

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Larmandier Bernier / Bourgogne from France

 

 

The next one wins for presentation and plating. It’s a grilled black cod resting on a yogurt sauce.

 

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black cod

 

 

 

The following one is my personal FAVORITE. It’s a barbecued quail with honey. Tastes like chicken! 

 

IMG_9681
yum!

 

 

Unfortunately not all the dishes for our table are perfect. Though tastefully presented, the antelope texture feels a little too chewy.

 

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And coming from a bear that loves meat, this was definitely a huge miss (even the broth [not in picture] that was served after was meh too).

 

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meh

 

 

“Would you guys like anything else? Dessert is next.”

Come again? What?!

 

That was like… only 5 courses! Wait, that means, dessert aside…. that’s like $50+ per dish!

 

thinking
mentally calculating the cost per bite for this 3 Michelin star meal…

 

Which mathematically equates to….. $10 USD per bite! Oh gawd, my wallet is going to hurt….

 

Luckily, the desserts were divine.

 

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butterscotch

 

 

I’m normally not a dessert person, but when you mentally calculate $10 dollars per bite…. I’m going to maximize every bite possible.

 

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decadent strawberries

 

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orange sorbet

 

 

 

This was a birthday dinner for one of our friends. As a nice gesture, the Saison staff surprised him with an additional chocolate dessert topped with gold flakes. And in case he didn’t want to share, we also each got one.

 

 

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Happy Birthday!

 

 

Alas, the inevitable…. the check. In the end, the total cost of the meal (including the deposit) was $2553.69 USD

 

$422.28 USD / person! Ouch.

 

Look on the bright side. With Chase Reserve being 3X…. that’s 7600+ UR for the table?

 

saison17

 

 

Overall, I had extremely high expectation for this restaurant. And rightfully so. With the price tag of $296 per person (before taxes AND service fees), the whole experience had to be flawless.

 

And while bashing on one antelope dish may sound too nit-picky, keep in mind that there were only five main courses before dessert. Again, that’s practically $10 USD per BITE.

 

marketprice
value analysis for our Saison experience

 

While the whole meal from beginning to end was superb, we simply wanted more. More fantastic dishes…. more uni…. more barbecue quail ❤ I think if the price was about half though, I would’ve easily rated this as the best meal of my life.

 

In all fairness, that’s what I say too about a First Class flight. Never in my life, would I pay $10,000 USD cash for a one-way Cathay Pacific First Class flight. Instead, I justify it by booking it with miles!

Hm… maybe that’s what Saison needs! A Michelin rewards program… how genius would that be.

 

A loyalty program to let foodies & regular people like us…. to redeem for an once-in-a-lifetime dining experience 😉

 

saison meter

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