Michael Mina's new location is up and running. Foodnut8 concludes, "How is Michael Mina 2.0? He is back and better than ever." Highlights of the meal included a lovely (but tiny) hamachi crudo with green apple, winter black truffle, and tempura crunch ($19). Top-notch foie gras is presented both seared and as a terrine, served in a pineapple buckwheat crêpe with allspice dram and macadamia nut ($28). Not as crazy as it sounds, Foodnut8 says, and a surefire pleaser for anyone who loves foie gras.
Brandt Farms beef rib-eye in porcini butter ($46) is a meat-lover's dream: "Top-quality meat, cooked perfectly, with a nice crispy crust and elegant potatoes topped with a fava bean pendant." Braised pork short rib in hock jus is exceptionally tender and meaty, with Mission figs and excellent Anson Mills polenta ($32). Some "fried balls full of meat" made it in there too.
But it's not all turf over surf. The bouillabaisse ($18) is "a fun and beautiful dish full of several types of clams" with the tomato-based broth poured tableside. It comes with uni toast, piled high with the delectable seafood. Only fault: Some of the razor clams weren't cleaned properly and were sandy. The "five seas" tasting of Japanese fish (including braised tuna cheek, Hokkaido scallop, and miso-glazed cod) with bamboo rice and ginger vinaigrette ($42) is beautiful and perfectly balanced between freshness and starch. And just-in-season Dungeness crab is featured in raviolilike "pasta pyramids" with Meyer lemon ($24).
There's also a dessert tasting for $15 per person. You get six items, many of them chocolaty, and playing with different elements. Brownie with dark chocolate and bourbon, for example, includes a bourbon-filled hard candy.
For a taste of the Mina experience on a budget, go for lunch, when the chef's tasting menu is $39 and served family-style. artiedart enjoyed such Michael Mina classics as lobster corndogs and tuna tartare, flavored with Scotch bonnet chile–infused sesame oil. The Japanese-style hamburger is highly recommended. "People, just order that! I am so happy I got to try it," says artiedart. The meal is smartly paced enough that it even works as an office lunch date.
Michael Mina Restaurant [Financial District]
252 California Street, San Francisco