As a Vegas resident I have already gotten used to the idea that Michelin Stars represent depth of wine list above all other things. Tonight's meal for three underscored this with a certainty.
Just above the main lobby of the Westin St. Francis is a room that adequately captures the history of the building. It's lovely in a very European way. Very formal dining room with a very button down kind of feel. None of this is a bad thing in a 100 year-old hotel. The sounds of the lobby were not as overwhelming as some of the other reviews this board has seen.
The Wine List:
Massive and deep. The list itself varies from Robert Parker 91 and better wines by the glass for reasonable sums to rarities costing hundreds of dollars by the bottle. Whatever your your taste, you'll find something.
The competency demonstrated by the bartender was outstanding. Martini delivered ice cold and on point. For the price, it should be. No disappointment here.
Aggressive ambition was visible throughout. The menu appeared more for the purpose of creating a variety of exotic dishes than distinctively focused. Between the main tasting menu and a sub-menu created just for hotel guests of the Westin St. Francis, there was no shortage of options.
Despite the vast numbers of uniformed service persons in the dining room, there were times when the two hour meal left us wondering what had happened to our servers. Even the cheque itself sat with a protruding Amex for too long before it was collected.
The food was good but not outstanding. A dish by dish analysis is unnecessary as the plates from start to finish were entirely unremarkable. More than one seafood item seemed as if spices were chosen to cover for inferior quality of the underlying ingredients. Even Mina's signature Lobster Pot Pie found little to recommend it over the other outstanding restaurants in San Francisco.
Table presentation of many dishes was unnecessarily theatrical with tableside reworkings of the kitchen platings purely for show not because the components needed to be assembled with tableside expedience.
I am left wondering after working through a number of restaurants in the Las Vegas Michelin Guide and dining at Mina's restaurants in Las Vegas, what has gone wrong at this San Francisco flagship of the chain. Good enough food with middling service that hardly justified the price.
Remembering that two Michelin stars means "Excellent cooking and worth a detour. First class cuisine of its type," we just did not experience this level of culinary or service excellence.
Disappointing? Yes. Unsatisfying in light of the hype? Absolutely.
Michael Mina Restaurant
252 California St, San Francisco, CA
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