Dining at a Michael Mina restaurant is always an exercise in excess.
In the best of ways, of course.
After all, this is the chef who popularized the idea of trios, where it’s not simply enough to present just one rendition of a dish, but three different ones simultaneously on one plate.
It takes skill, timing and sophistication to do that well.
And that’s just what’s on display at Mina’s new Bourbon Steak in the Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square. Bourbon Steak takes the place of the former Michael Mina flagship restaurant there, which has moved to the old Aqua restaurant space on California Street.
The once chic white and eggshell blue 102-seat dining room has been transformed with a more masculine atmosphere with dark charcoal floor-to-ceiling columns and hues of deep cognac and sand. The logo of a steer can be found subtly echoed on the Mondrian-like window treatments and water is brought to the tables in whimsical glass milk bottles.
This marks Mina’s fifth Bourbon Steak nationwide. And he has the formula down pat.
Executive Chef Omri Aflalo, who did an externship with Mina while at the Culinary Institute of America, is at the helm of the San Francisco locale.
The broad menu includes some of Mina’s greatest hits, including his addicting lobster corn dogs ($16), black truffle popcorn ($15), and lobster pot pie (market price). Since it is a steak house, you’ll also find the likes of a 28-ounce Porterhouse for $68, an 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye for $42, and a 6-ounce Australian Wagyu strip (market price).
Recently, I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant to enjoy a special tasting menu.
You know you’re in for something when the first thing that arrives at the table is a trio of duck-fat fries with a sour cherry ketchup, a smoked onion aioli that tasted almost of bacon, and a zingy yuzu sauce. You tell yourself you’re going to eat just a couple, but then you finish every one. Every restaurant should take a lesson in fries from Mina, as these are as perfect as they come.
The decadence continued with a small rectangle of foie gras terrine with huckleberry glaze that just melted on the tongue.