I'm spending a long weekend over NYE with my little lady (unbeknownst to her!) at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite Nat'l Park and plan on popping the question to her on the 31st. We're driving back into the city late afternoon or early evening on Tues, Jan. 1st.
I would like to make reservations somewhere really special for this night, as it will be our first "engagement" dinner. I was considering either Saison or Benu. I also really want to take her to that goat farm (they offer seasonal barn dining) just across the bridge; I forget what it's called- Harley's maybe? I'm not sure how the quality of food compares to the surroundings, but it looks really special.
I want to find a place with really great ambiance; somewhere romantic and intimate. I just read that Saison was moving into some old 1800s building, but I'd think it would be too soon after switching kitchens to risk the night. I've never been to Benu before and have been wanting to try it ever since I moved to SF, but this is more about the lady. I think she would enjoy that and I'm keeping it as an option, though modern/contemporary French would be my preferance and most well suited to the occasion. It's the cuisine of amour afterall... and I'm from Montreal. I want to avoid anything that remotely resembles a hotel banquet room though!
I'm taking her for early tea service at the N.M. Rotunda just before the long haul to Yosemite (same morning), and then to the Garden Court at The Palace the following Saturday. I would ideally like to find the equivalent of these settings in a dining venue, but with a more refined and unique or interesting seasonal menu. Some really iconic or historic San Francisco building-landmark to dine or snack at, or else somewhere in one of the neighboring counties that's more rustic and intimate. I've even considered the Dining Room at Meadowood, though a trip out to Napa from Yosemite just for dinner, only to return to SF might be tolling; especially after countless flutes of champagne! I haven't been to the Dining Room at the Ritz and am not sure what the ambiance is, but something evocative of a ritzy old grand dame with equal (modern) kitchen and service would be ideal. Does anyone have any suggestions?