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Benu & Saison: two new places worth the money?

Benu & Saison: two new places worth the money?

Old Jan 8, 12, 2:25 pm
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Benu & Saison: two new places worth the money?

Benu and Saison are relatively new and highly regarded. However, they are both very expensive (Saison is $198/person) and Benu's tasting menu is $180/person. This is quite expensive, even relative to some great places in the city which are closer to $100/person (Masa's, Fleur de Lys, La Folie, Quince, Acqurello, etc). Has anybody been to Benu or Saison, and are they worth the premium over other great places in the city?

Last edited by SFflyer123; Jan 8, 12 at 5:01 pm
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Old Jan 8, 12, 6:55 pm
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Originally Posted by SFflyer123 View Post
Benu and Saison are relatively new and highly regarded. However, they are both very expensive (Saison is $198/person) and Benu's tasting menu is $180/person. This is quite expensive, even relative to some great places in the city which are closer to $100/person (Masa's, Fleur de Lys, La Folie, Quince, Acqurello, etc). Has anybody been to Benu or Saison, and are they worth the premium over other great places in the city?
I've been to both, and yes, they are absolutely worth the money. The atmosphere in the dining room at Benu is not quite worthy of the prices they are charging, but the food absolutely is. Of the 18 course menu, at least half were spectacular and items that I had never had before, and the other half were very solid. Better than TFL, and just as good as Manresa and Momofuku Ko.

Saison was about $160 when I went, but I also thought it was one of my best meals ever. I'm also not a fan of Quince, so I'd say both are better there, too.
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Old Jan 9, 12, 11:58 am
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My friend liked Benu very much. I think she liked it better than TFL, which she thought was overpriced.
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Old Jan 10, 12, 12:28 am
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It sounds like we are getting a flood of molecular gastronomy places -- heck, there is even one on a secondary business street in Palo Alto (called Baume, I think) that got two Michelin stars.

I wonder how many $300 per person dinner places (including wine pairings, tip, and tax) the market will support.
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Old Jan 10, 12, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
It sounds like we are getting a flood of molecular gastronomy places -- heck, there is even one on a secondary business street in Palo Alto (called Baume, I think) that got two Michelin stars.

I wonder how many $300 per person dinner places (including wine pairings, tip, and tax) the market will support.
My coworker has been to Baume in Palo Alto and thought it was excellent both times. However, she was shocked the second time since the prices had gone up and they had gone to an pricey tasting menu only for dinner. Lunch looks like a better option since there is the a la carte option.
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Old Jan 11, 12, 4:19 pm
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Originally Posted by CApreppie View Post
My coworker has been to Baume in Palo Alto and thought it was excellent both times. However, she was shocked the second time since the prices had gone up and they had gone to an pricey tasting menu only for dinner. Lunch looks like a better option since there is the a la carte option.
Last time I checked their menu posting, they served lunch only on Friday and the only choice was a slightly lessened version of the dinner menu at a slightly lessened cost.

Haven't ever gone, I just typically look at their menu when having an occasional lunch at Cho's Pot Stickers next door -- Cho's would sort of be the "anti-Baume" alternative!
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Old Jan 12, 12, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Last time I checked their menu posting, they served lunch only on Friday and the only choice was a slightly lessened version of the dinner menu at a slightly lessened cost.

Haven't ever gone, I just typically look at their menu when having an occasional lunch at Cho's Pot Stickers next door -- Cho's would sort of be the "anti-Baume" alternative!
You're right only on Friday. At least they offer a 5 course for $78 during lunch as well as a 9 course for $128. A little less than the 12 course $168 for dinner.

I haven't gone to Manresa - so that's where I should go first now that they remodeled.
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Old Jan 12, 12, 11:44 pm
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Originally Posted by CApreppie View Post
A little less than the 12 course $168 for dinner.
Where do you see the $168 for dinner? I'm only seeing $198 on the website.
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Old Jan 13, 12, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by SFflyer123 View Post
Where do you see the $168 for dinner? I'm only seeing $198 on the website.
I thought I read that on Yelp in a recent review. I could definitely be wrong!
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Old Jan 15, 12, 11:44 pm
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I was personally not a fan of Benu - have not been to Saison but my favorite places in SF are by far gary danko and dining room at the ritz.
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Old Jan 17, 12, 8:45 pm
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Originally Posted by sfoactuary View Post
I was personally not a fan of Benu - have not been to Saison but my favorite places in SF are by far gary danko and dining room at the ritz.
What did you not like about Benu? Was it too "ethnic"?

Do you like the dining room at the ritz still? I hear that it has declined dramatically, and it's no longer what it once was.
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Old Jan 17, 12, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by SFflyer123 View Post

Do you like the dining room at the ritz still? I hear that it has declined dramatically, and it's no longer what it once was.
Not only did you hear correctly about the decline in quality, but the Ritz Dining Room closed last year for renovations. I haven't heard that it has reopened.
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Old Jan 17, 12, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by rjque View Post
Not only did you hear correctly about the decline in quality, but the Ritz Dining Room closed last year for renovations. I haven't heard that it has reopened.
http://parallel37sf.com/food/
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Old Jan 20, 12, 3:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Not so good reviews too.
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Old Feb 14, 12, 2:38 am
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I was incredibly disappointed with Saison. At that kind of price point, I expect a good majority of dishes to be memorable and the service impeccable. Most of the dishes have since been forgotten and the service left a lot to be desired. A LOT. And don't get me started on the sommelier. I've read they retooled the place and took out seats, which hopefully has helped the service issues. But I'm not clamoring to come back. A shame, because I really wanted to like Saison.
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