After much trials and tribulations, an entire day of missed flights, airport diversions, and long immigration lines, I finally arrived in San Francisco about 8 hours later than originally scheduled. I missed the opportunity to check out a food truck or a taqueria for lunch, but that didn't matter. Upon arriving at my friend's apartment some 15 minutes before dinner time, I took a very quick shower while she helpfully ironed my crumpled dress shirt (something which she doesn't even do for her own clothes!). After a short walk of a few blocks, I eventually arrived at my destination about 20 minutes late.
There was absolutely no way that I was going to miss dinner at Saison. This was the first restaurant I booked when I started planning my trip just a month ago, and would certainly be the culinary apex of my entire trip. This was the reason I re-routed my itinerary to arrive in LAX and connect to a domestic flight, instead of taking the next available flight to SFO... because I would have missed this dinner otherwise. And I was so grateful that I took the 8:30 p.m. seating!
We were led to a table facing the kitchen, where my friend Ducky and I were seated side-by-side... rather intimately. One of our neighbors looked vaguely familiar and we kinda figured he was a famous musician of some sort. At the end of the evening, we found out that it was actually Kirk Hammett - the guitarist for Metallica. What a soft-spoken gentlemen he turned out to be.
After checking our dietary restrictions, we were told that there would be about 15 courses coming our way. We were both pretty hungry by now, and eagerly awaited for the food to arrive.
But my string of bad luck seemed to have continued even in San Francisco. As I was going through my usual routine of setting white balance for my camera, something weird seemed to be happening. Many of the pictures had dark shadows across part or even all of the frame, and it seemed to occur mostly when the camera was pointed at a downward angle. I was never able to properly set white balance, and was pretty much frustrated the whole evening trying to get in a decent shot of each dish.
We were "encouraged to drink directly from the bowl", so once again I had my face buried deep into the bowl, and asked Ducky to take a picture...
The prawn itself was delicious and just barely cooked. Not a fan of the lettuce that covered it, though. The seaweed salt was surprisingly meh, but the citronette was full of shellfish broth and had loads of umami.
I browsed through the impressive wine list of the restaurant a couple of weeks ago, and decided it would be far more economical to bring my own wine and pay corkage... since I have a couple of hundred bottles lying just north of the city.
P.S. We were listening to mostly 80s music throughout the entire evening, which was pretty cool to me but probably a lot less meaningful to Ducky. I asked Michael about it at the end of dinner, and was told that it was Chef Josh's idea to keep things less stuffy and more casual - in line with their "come as you are" attitude. Indeed, a neighboring table were occupied by guests in shorts - similar to my experience with Martin Berasategui in Spain. Whatever the reason, I was pretty happy!