Last year my co-worker Sandra and I decided to make a goal of eating at all the restaurants in the Belden Alley in San Francisco. We did it! It was a fantastic goal, but once we were done, what else could we do? We thought for a long time and then, one day it occurred to me! Lunch with the Michelin Guide! There is a special section of the Guide for San Francisco, specifically the Financial District which is where we work. Our plan is to go to a different restaurant once a month near our pay day and see what happens. For our inaugural outing, we opted for Michael Mina. Michael Mina has one star in the Michelin Guide and has a wonderful reputation for food excellence and impeccable service. A group of six of us went, which is almost too many, but we ordered almost the entire menu.
Butter served in a hand thrown ramekin was the first to arrive at the table, followed by some delicious sourdough bread, served warm.
Our first starter of three was Michael’s Classic Ahi Tuna Tartare. Habanero infused sesame oil, pine nuts, and quail egg yolk. It is prepared table side and is served with toast points. It was sublime! The quail egg provided a creamy texture to the tuna along with the slightly spicy oil and crunch of the pine nuts was a great combination in your mouth.
We also ordered the Warm Kale Salad with baby beets, turnips, and marcona almonds.
The third starter was the Squab Leg Confit with creamy polenta, shaved radish, and chickweed. You would think a leg of squab would not, could not be distributed among six people but a total of 3 legs were served on the plate. The confit melted in your mouth. Crisp skin on the outside, tender, fall-off-the-bone meat on the inside. Rich flavors coupled with the creamy polenta was close-your-eyes delicious. In spite of a few little tendons, this dish disappeared quickly.
The fourth starter was the Morro Bay Abalone with matsutake mushroom puree, apple, and curry oil. The abalone was tiny, about the size of a mandarin orange. It was chewy and to be truthful, it was difficult to get a really good taste since it was divided six ways.
Lastly, for the appetizers, was the Squash Tortelloni with brussels sprouts, chanterelle mushrooms, and pomegranate. These were cooked perfectly with the seeds in the pomegranate providing a nice little explosion of flavor and crunch with each bite. It was a beautiful mingling of creamy and tart.
For the entrees, we went wild! Out of seven on the menu we ordered 5 plus the special.
The first entrée was the Pan Seared Dorade with a baby leek sauce, Brussels sprouts, and pickled carrot relish. The fish had a very crispy skin and flaked nicely when placed on the fork.
The prawn and mussel pasta was delicately flavored with saffron. The mussels and prawns were cooked to perfection, and the pasta was al dente.
The most disappointing dish was the Vegetable Risotto, due to the hair in the dish and the fact it was cooked improperly. The rice was still crunchy. 😦 I’m sorry to say the only photo I have is terrible.
At the end of our meal, Executive Chef Ron Siegel came out and was kind enough to take a photo with us.
In spite of the hair in the risotto, we all enjoyed our lunch at Michael Mina’s