Eater Restaurant Editor Bill Addison reviewed Saison this week. He liked it. Or to use his words: "It was easily one of the most expensive and remarkable meals my life." That sounds about right, as the two-Michelin starred Saison is San Francisco's most expensive restaurant.
Chef Joshua Skenes serves a set menu of nearly 20-courses for $248, with wine pairings costing the same, as well as a more luxurious "Discovery" menu at $398. Addison selected the pricier of the two offerings, which is the financial equivalent of eating at Saison and then adding the entire price of the tasting menu at Momofuku Ko or Keiko a Nob Hill onto the bill. His check came to $864 after a cocktail, pairings, tax and tip. It's worth noting he was dining alone. It's also worth noting that Addison likely wasn't the only person indulging in such extravagances.
Patrick Ellis, Saison's general manager, tells Eater that 30-40 percent of guests on average order the Discovery menu, which "showcases everything the kitchen has to offer for that particular night." So how precisely does that differ from the regular menu? Well, that depends. Here's Ellis again:
There isn't a set amount of courses as it changes all the time. The best way we can describe it is that the discovery menu is rather spontaneous, and whatever is listed down for that particular night is just the framework. The chef might continue to add courses in between those listed throughout the evening. It's a discovery for both the kitchen and guest, as usually Josh himself ends up cooking these courses. I had been talking to him about his honeymoon in Japan and he mentioned that this was something that he found commonplace over there. He noticed that many restaurants don't always have a set price, but a range is given based on the cost of ingredients, the craft of the chefs and the cost of serving them to the guest.
So there you go. The regular menu for two at Saison, plus wine pairings, tax and tip, will cost $1,277, while the Discovery menu, with all the fixins, will result in a $1,663 dinner date (better be a third date). By comparison, a fully-loaded dinner for two at the city's next most expensive restaurants — Atelier Crenn or Benu — will cost $888, which isn't too much more than Addison spent by himself at Saison.
If we expand the geographic parameters to the greater Bay Area, Saison's cheapest menu ends up costing just a few dollars more than The French Laundry, though Saison's priciest offering still costs a bit less than Meadowood's $500 chef's counter menu, which tops out at $1,976 for two with full pairings. One caveat: Saison and Meadowood do not typically carry supplemental items on their menus. Those who go full force with truffles, foie gras and caviar at The French Laundry can easily spend over $400 more than the prices listed below.
How much will you spend at any of these restaurants? Click through our interactive charts to find out! (Mobile users: click here).
All Saison Coverage on Eater National [~E~]
All Saison Coverage on Eater SF [~ESF~]