Dinner at Sons & Daughters
I booked a last minute reservation at the one-star Michelin restaurant, Sons & Daughters, in San Francisco as a way of sprucing up a dinner hour alone. I was excited it worked out after debating the cost and seeing reservations disappear throughout the day on OpenTable, but when I was ready to pull the trigger, I was able to book one of their 28 seats for 6:15pm.
The space was comfortable and I had an amazing seat looking at the kitchen. The dining room is broken up a little bit with a similar feel to a bungalow house. The kitchen is open and tiny with no more than 4 or 5 people working quietly. When I arrived there was one other table seated in the main dining area, which did not fill up until 8:30pm. I found it strange that it was so quiet for most of my meal despite OpenTable showing such limited availability. The staff was kind and professional, but there were a lot of idle hands trying to stay busy, which gave off a sort of nervous energy to the space.
The menu is 8 courses with an optional caviar supplement. The menu is greatly influenced by the seasons and its California surroundings. The wine pairings were mostly small productions from places like Napa, Vermont, and Hungary. As a hopelessly devoted sparkling wine fan, I was happy to try my first sparkling riesling—or a least one worth noting. A Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon blend, from an Oakland based label, beautifully complemented the grilled white asparagus with lime, white chocolate, and escargot dish. Overall, I thought the wine pairing to be one of the more interesting ones I’ve imbibed in.
The food, while beautifully and impeccably presented, was just ok. The halibut crudo was outdone by the sparkling riesling. The take on peas and carrots was delicious, but as expected when you’re paying Michelin prices for a peas and carrot redux. The grilled asparagus was one of the few that stood out to me based off the different ingredients used. The coriander toast is something I’d like every morning because it is tiny-cute and delicious. The caviar with Nashville-style soft shell crab and avocado was another dish that intrigued me, and it worked, but overall I think the caviar got lost in the sauce and avocado. Everything else wasn’t very memorable but I will note the hibachi-grilled lamb because as the final savory dish, I found it anti-climatic.
Overall, I ended the meal questioning the star system. The restaurant felt like it was trying to play the part of a one-star Michelin restaurant, but failed when it came to the food. If this is a one-star place then I know of a dozen other restaurants awaiting their star.