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Fodor's Northern California 2014
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This award-winning restaurant, notorious for having one of the priciest tasting menus in the United States, recently moved from the Mission District to a 19th-century, brick-and-timber building in SoMa with 35-foot ceilings. So what exactly do you get for $248? Eighteen to 20 courses impeccably prepared by chef Joshua Skenes who teases from premium ingredients their deepest flavors, mostly using fire, embers. and ash. You might taste Monterey abalone roasted over embers, or fresh fish seared on a log. Skenes' tools are an 8-foot hearth, an Italian Molteni oven, and a German Miwe bread-baking oven—all in plain view because no walls divide the kitchen from the 18 seats in the dining area or the 12 bar seats (each with a cashmere throw). Artful plating on handmade ware comes to tables constructed from 8-foot-long, hand-polished slabs of American walnut. An extra $148 includes wine pairings by sommelier Mark Bright; cocktails are a new addition, served in glass hand-blown in Japan. This is definitely a unique, splurgy dining experience.
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