The Greatest Hits from Around the World
I knew nothing about In Situ even just a few weeks ago. But thanks to the great recommendation from @PorkyBelly and @ipsedixit, it quickly rose up our itinerary, until it became a Must Visit place that I was really looking forward to try. This turned out to be the 2nd best restaurant we tried on our SF trip.
Located inside SFMOMA - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (and not to be confused with SOMA (South Of Market Street)) - is probably the most incredible museum-based restaurant I’ve ever eaten at, known as In Situ.
As @PorkyBelly put it so succinctly, this is essentially a restaurant devoted to providing the “Greatest Hits” from noteworthy restaurants from around the world!
But I was curious how they could pull this off - are they just stealing other restaurant’s dishes / riffing on them? But when we arrived, in speaking with the manager, it turns out each of these restaurants from around the world will either send their chef to In Situ, to teach the chefs & kitchen here how to make the dish, or In Situ will send their chefs to the restaurant in question, and train there until they master the dish.
And each dish has to be mastered to the point where the restaurant / chef de cuisine signs off on the execution, before it can be added to the menu at In Situ. Very cool.
Walking in, it’s very modern minimalist in decor. But it’s definitely run as a fine dining restaurant, from the greeting by the hostess to the greeting by our server, to the service throughout.
They changed the utensils - with different subtle changes in shape and size and design - for every single dish we ordered. Probably to that world-class restaurant’s chef’s recommendation on the best way to enjoy their particular dish.
Christian Puglisi, Relae
Copenhagen, Denmark, 2015
Ranked #40 on the World’s Best 50 Restaurants, with 1 Michelin Star, I was curious what this Lettuce Sandwich might be like. When the dish arrived, I laughed a little inside: I was reminded of @ipsedixit’s comment about being fed intellectually, but being physically hungry afterward.
This is essentially a layered stack of Fermented Romaine Lettuce, layered with a beautiful, creamy Goat Cheese and a high-quality Olive Oil. It was crunchy and crisp from the Baby Romaine, and while I love a good Goat Cheese, this dish tasted literally of its individual parts: You tasted raw Romaine (I couldn’t detect any fermentation), a good Goat Cheese, and some Olive Oil.
@Bookwich, you can save your money on this dish.
Thankfully the rest of the meal changed dramatically for the better…
Tim Raue, Restaurant Tim Raue
Berlin, Germany, 2013
Ranked #34 on the World’s Best 50, and winner of 2 Michelin Stars, Chef Tim Raue’s signature dish from his restaurant in Berlin, Germany looked classy and whimsical at the same time.
Here we have a perfectly cooked Lobster Tail coated with Wasabi Flakes, served with Mango Jelly, Thai Vinaigrette and Wasabi Marshmallows(!).
The Lobster was tender and just cooked through, the added crunch and subtle burst of unmistakable Wasabi added to the pleasure of the dish. The Wasabi Marshmallows were fun and a bit shocking to the senses: You eat the cute star-shaped Marshmallow, which tastes like a wonderful, pillowy-soft Marshmallow, and your expectation is “sweet,” but instead you get this subtle infusion of Wasabi!
We felt the Thai Vinaigrette was a touch too strong, and would’ve overpowered the Lobster if you used too much of the sauce. So just a light dab was sufficient.
Plogue a Champlain with Foie Gras
Martin Picard, Au Pied de Cochon
Montreal, Canada, 2004
We were most excited to find this dish still on the menu (it rotates), since we saw this from @PorkyBelly’s visit! When looking at the name of the chef, the restaurant and that it was from Montreal, Canada, it sounded familiar for some reason. Then when we were back home, I looked it up… aha!
This was the chef featured in a few episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s TV shows! I remembered the dishes looked outrageous and delicious at the same time!
Here we have an example of the chefs and restaurants’ request of using their recommended plating and logos, etc.
Getting back to the dish, taking a bite…
Oh My Gosh!
This perfectly cooked, creamy, buttery slab of Foie Gras, served with Bacon, Egg, a slice of amazing Cheddar, topped with an excellent Maple Syrup (something Chef Picard really cares about), on top of a Buckwheat Pancake (Buckwheat! It’s healthy, right? ;)).
This was INCREDIBLE! Sweet, savory, buttery, decadent and one of the Best Bites in the last 2 Years! Thank you @PorkyBelly.
Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur
Menton, France, 2011
Mirazur was ranked #6 on The World’s Best 50 list, and winner of 2 Michelin Stars. After seeing this dish from Chef Mauro Colagreco arrive, I could see why.
Absolutely stunning presentation: This looked like a beautiful forest floor, but it was all edible! This wasn’t like the gratuitous showy stuff seen by some chefs infatuated with molecular gastronomy, it was restrained and more natural-looking.
It starts with an amazing, creamy Quinoa Risotto, a variety of Mushrooms - Porcini, Black Trumpet, Chanterelle and a few others - and Parsley “Moss”. Using various techniques to stew, poach, dry the various ingredients, and The Forest is created.
It immediately engages the senses: Visually arresting, it makes you curious if that “bark” is edible (it is). Is the green “moss” edible? Of course. But in using a variety of quality Mushrooms, you get that inherent burst of umami, that crave-worthy, absolutely delicious spectrum of flavors, and mixed in with the bed of creamy Risotto and it’s outstanding! I think this would be a dish @MaladyNelson @TheCookie would really love. So good!
Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart
Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana
Modena, Italy, 2012
I was really looking forward to this just based on the picture from @PorkyBelly’s visit. Osteria Francescana is ranked #1 on The World’s Best 50 Restaurants, and a 3 Michelin Star restaurant.
And after having taken a bite of this dessert, we could easily see why: Visually it’s stunning. It’s playful and indeed looks like someone “dropped the lemon tart!” But it’s amazing in its refreshing qualities. A beautiful, natural citrus aroma pervades each bite. It’s light, delicate, bright, Spring-time in a bite.
It’s also accompanied by a variety of subtle spice & herb accents (dab a little bit of that flavor, and then eat it with a bite of the Lemon Tart):
And it really does, subtly affect the flavor. All brilliantly paired. Just wonderful!
Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake
Albert Adria, Tickets
Barcelona, Spain, 2015
From Albert Adria, brother of legendary Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli fame, comes a very playful, stunning look at dessert from his Tickets restaurant in Barcelona, Spain. Ranked #29 on The World’s Best 50, and winner of 1 Michelin Star, it’s an amazing dish in many ways.
First, the presentation: It looks just like a wheel of Cheese! The “rind” on the outside is actually the Hazelnut and White Chocolate, and instead of Crackers, they give you these wonderful, lightly sweet, Cookies.
But then you break it open and you’re greeted by a stunning blend of amazing Cheeses from Jasper Hill Farms:
So that it’s like eating a beautiful Brie, but it’s a blend of a few Cheeses. The Cheeses are mild, smooth, creamy, and it pairs perfectly with the Hazelnut and White Chocolate “Rind”, and a bit of the wonderful light crumbly Cookies.
Service was flawless throughout our meal. Servers stopping by and removing plates as we were done, setting the custom style of utensils (different for every single course).
After having visited In Situ, I’m left a bit sad that no one told me about this place until now! I’m going to grill my friends who visit SF regularly why they never told us to go check out In Situ! This is easily one of the most enjoyable, interesting meals we’ve had in a long time, and a great way to try some of the best dishes from around the world, all in one place. I can’t wait to go back!
(inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA))
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 941-6050