Tag Archives: Daniel Patterson

Alfred’s Steakhouse — Where Old-World Meets New World

Flames tableside at the landmark Alfred's in San Francisco.

Flames tableside at the landmark Alfred’s in San Francisco.


Walking into Alfred’s Steakhouse in San Francisco is like stepping back into another era.

To a time when dining rooms weren’t cloaked in reclaimed wood and Edison lights, but in crimson walls, sparkling chandeliers and oxblood-hued, tufted leather booths; when cell phones didn’t exist (as there actually isn’t cell service available there now); and when people actually dressed for dinner (save for the table of tourists decked out in shorts that night, not realizing summer in isn’t all that in San Francisco).

The venerable restaurant, which opened in 1928, still exudes classic bygone mores, and that’s a testament to Chef Daniel Patterson, whose Alta Group took it over in 2015. He spiffed it up, but wisely kept the cherished old-school atmosphere.

It’s a place you walk into thinking: They don’t make ’em like this anymore. And thank goodness it’s still around.

Located on a side street in the Financial District on the edge of Chinatown and North Beach.

Located on a side street in the Financial District on the edge of Chinatown and North Beach.

The old-world dining room.

The old-world dining room.

At least that’s what I felt when I visited recently as a guest of the restaurant. Even though I’m a native San Franciscan, I’m embarrassed to admit this was my first time at the restaurant.

As we slid into the roomy booth in the old worldly elegant dining room, my husband, who normally orders a glass of wine or a beer at dinner, declared out of the blue, “I’m having a martini!”

Because these surroundings just inspire a thirst for that.

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Magnus Nilsson — The Chef of the Moment

Oysters brought to the table on smoldering redwood branches at Coi in San Francisco, similar to the signature dish of scallops on smoky juniper branches at Faviken in Sweden.

The latest culinary rock star appropriately enough sports a mane of long blond hair, a scruffy beard, a too-cool aura and a laid-back cerebral nature.

If Rene Redzepi put Danish cooking on the map when his Noma restaurant in Copenhagen was named San Pelligrino’s “Best Restaurant” in the world for three years running, then Swedish sensation Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken Magasinet has only solidified the fact that Nordic cuisine’s moment has arrived with a wallop.

Nilsson, who previously cooked at three-Michelin starred L’Astrance in Paris and is a trained sommelier, took over Fäviken Magasinet in a remote, rural part of Sweden four years ago. The rather improbable restaurant is located in an isolated 24,000-acre hunting estate. Like Redzepi, Nilsson is all about cooking only with local ingredients. That may be fine in temperate California. It’s a whole ‘nother thing in the wilderness of northwestern Sweden, where the winters are beyond brutal.

Even so, Nilsson, who’s not yet 30 years old, has managed to turn this tiny, isolated 12-seat restaurant into not only one of the Top 50 in the world, but the most talked-about sensation these days in the culinary stratosphere.

Swedish sensation Magnus Nilsson cooks with Daniel Patterson of Coi.

With the launch of his first cookbook, “Fäviken” (Phaidon), he’s been bringing a taste of his innovative cuisine to the United States, including to Coi in San Francisco, where he cooked an extraordinary dinner with Chef-Proprietor Daniel Patterson on Saturday, to which I was fortunate to be invited as a guest.

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