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SF - tasting menu food, served a la carte?

Frodnesor | May 1, 201207:57 AM

It looks like I'll be getting a few days in San Francisco this summer after having been away for about three years. We have our favorites, but this trip I'm mostly interested in catching up on what's new since we were last there (though we still have many gaps to fill on places that have been around for a while).

Here's the dilemma: if left to my own devices, I'd be looking primarily at places doing degustation style menus - Saison, Atelier Crenn, Coi, Benu, Commis, Sons & Daughters - but my family, I've learned from sad experience, often doesn't have the patience for such things.

So my questions are:

(1) Where can I find "tasting menu" style food, but served a la carte so it's not a 3-hour plus affair?

Knowing my limitations, it seems I'll probably have to scratch several of those places above off the list. I'm considering adding the following:

State Bird Provisions
Mission Street Chinese
Lers Ros
Flour + Water

Thoughts? Other suggestions?

(2) I see that Benu and Commonwealth have both a la carte and tasting menus - how do they compare (in other words - do they make sense to try if you're not doing the tasting menu)?

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