Saison co-owners Joshua Skenes (chef) and Mark Bright (wine director) have a lot more elbow room now that they’ve moved from Folsom Street into the former California Electric Light Company building near the ballpark. Built in 1888, the structure is a red brick survivor of the 1906 quake. During the move, Bright has nearly doubled the size of his Burgundy-centric wine list, and made a particular effort to pick up more whites from heavy hitters like Raveneau, Coche-Dury and Domaine Leflaive. White Burgundy shows particularly well against the subtle toasty scent that pervades the dining room from the kitchen’s wood-burning hearth. Its glowing embers leave their mark on many of Skenes’ dishes, from roasted brassicas to jewel-like pieces of fish. With the campfire aromas and the pristine seafood, the precipitously thin Zalto stemware and Michael Jackson on the sound system, Saison feels simultaneously casual and high-concept. One significant shift: The new space includes a lounge area for those who aren’t in the market for the $298 tasting menus. Sit at the bar, and the kitchen will send out six or seven courses, rather than the full 20-plus, for around $90.
178 Townsend St. (at 3rd), San Francisco, California
This story appears in the print issue of June 2013.
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