Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dining at Michael Mina

Michael Mina in San FranciscoI chanced upon Micheal Mina, the celebrity chef's signature restaurant when strolling past Union Square in downtown San Francisco. Located in the historic St. Francis Westin hotel, this restaurant is resplendent in hues of brown and rich leather. I noticed with interest what turned to be Murano lighting accents on the high ceilings and soaring columns. I had no reservations, but they were able to find me a seat in the causal lounge co-located with the dining room.

Egyptian-born Michael Mina stated his career in the Seattle area, but it was only in San Francisco that he found fame after setting up Aqua. At this time he has dozens of restaurants, but the one I was in is considered his best.

Having narrowed down what I wanted to eat tonight, I picked a Hirsch Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast - turned out an excellent choice. Also, while the bread was good, the butter was particularly amazing - very yellow and apparently hand-churned. From my seat I could see the large clock in the lobby that is somewhat of an attraction given that it has been hard at work since 1906.

The clock in St. Francis HotelMy starter of the Hudson Valley Foie Gras made its appearance quickly. Layered over a cracker, this dish also had young ginger, peaches and greek yoghurt. The foie gras was fantastic - buttery soft, rich and a tantalizing medley of taste and texture. I savoured every morsel slowly with the toast and wine.

Foie Gras Terrine at Michael MinaI had chosen the Elysian Fields farm lamb chops as my entree. The dish was served with polenta, mustard greens, lamb tongue vinaigrette and was delicious . I enjoyed the taste of mustard greens in this dish - popularly known in north India as sarson ka saag, these greens were a particularly good combination with the chops.

Lamb Chops at Michael MinaDessert was their famous Root Beer Float with warm chocolate chip cookie. Now this was completely awesome and made for a fabulous end to my dinner. Scoops of homemade ice cream and tangy sorbet tantalized the tongue with the fizziness of the root beer. And the gooey, warm chocolate chip cookie was among the best I have ever had. This was truely the highlight - in addition to the foie gras.

Root beer float at Michael MinaNext time, I have to make a reservation so I can try out their main dining section. However, the prices in the lounge for the same dishes are lower and a great way to sample their most popular fare. Also the casual atmosphere here makes it a better choice when I am dining alone.

Michael Mina is one among only four restaurants in the entire Bay Area that have been awarded two Michelin stars. From what I could sample at this restaurant, becoming a celebrity chef with 20+ restaurants hasn't had a negative impact on the food. This is also among the few grand old hotels I have seen in America, and that was an additional bonus. When I return I have to try their Maine Lobster Pot Pie and the Quail presented three ways!


Anonymous said...

The entrecĂ´tes look lovely... and very tender!

Not a huge fan of Root Beer though.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lalchand Khatri said...

Yes this is very beautiful place. but when i visited china i enjoyed my journey on many places without worry
because i hired china car service with professional driver.


the starter looks terrific

Lakshmi said...

The beer definitely looks welcoming

Shantanu said...

@Zhu: Am behind on the blogworld; hope to be back soon...Moving house, and that took longer than expected.

@Spammmers: Go Away!

@Harekrishnaji: Yup, was.

@Lakshmi: I loved it.

GMG said...

Hi Shantanu!
Haven't been to San Francisco for a while, but will take note of the address...
Meanwhile Blogtrotter is back to the «urban jungle», which Reykjavik is far from being... ;)). Enjoy and have a fabulous week!

GMG said...

Why does anyone need all those shoes?

Shantanu said...

@GMG: Look forward to your photo blogs always. And yes, that spammer is annoying!

kiran banga said...

Hi Shantanu, I read your blog on and off. I am planning a trip to India so i was making a list of places that I want to try. Lo and behold, I saw you had reviews for the Bay.

Anonymous said...

@Kiran: Thank you for the comment here. And yes, I do review restaurants in the Bay Area since I visit there so often. :)