San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has reopened after renovating last year. Its new art collections are amazing and you can also have Sightglass coffee on the second floor. Even better, you can taste many signature dishes of world famous chefs in its new restaurant, In Situ on the first floor. Corey Lee who is the chef of Benu, a 3 Michelin starred restaurant in San Francisco, becomes the curator of this whole new concept restaurant. In Situ is a restaurant with a collection of signature dishes from 80 renowned chefs around the world. Rather than creating each dish, Chef Lee has managed to replicate the dishes of other famous chefs exactly the same. Each season, Chef Lee introduces a new menu as a curator rather than a chef this time. For instance, you can try the famous sea scallops “Black Tie” by Chef Daniel Boloud from Daniel, the 2 Michelin starred restaurant in New York at In Situ. Although In Situ is not run by Chef Boloud, the scallop dish will be presented exactly the same way as it is in Daniel, New York.
interior (main dining room)
you need to make a reservation in order to seat in the main dining area
The artist, Tucker Nicholas has drawn all ingredients of food for In Situ. There are his paintings in the main wall, in the kitchen and also in the bathroom!
looks familiar? yes, it looks very similar to that of Benu! I was lucky enough to have a private tour in both kitchens
Enough talking and peeping! Now time to Order
As I’ve mentioned earlier, each dish is the exact replication of other chefs’ signature dishes. Underneath the name of each dish on the menu, you can find out who made this and where it is originated
Do you remember Tickets, Barcelona by Chef Albert Adria? I wrote my tasting experience at Tickets on my blog a few months ago. He has also contributed his cheesecake recipe to In Situ. This dessert was strongly recommended by my server and also Alice from Red Blossom Tea Company. I loved every single bite of all the dessert dishes that I had at Tickets. Without hesitation, I got the Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake. If you want to try this, you need to order this in the beginning since it takes about 20 minutes
Carrot, Sour Curd, Pickled Pine ($18)
Matt Orlando ι Amass
Copenhagen, Denmark, 2014
I always thought that chefs at the high-end restaurants are artists. Instead of painting on canvas, they create a beautiful art piece on the plate. This carrot dish is originated from Amass, Copenhagen by Chef Matt Orlando. It is not just gorgeous looking but very delicious. That sour curd gives nice kick!
Wasabi Lobster : mango jelly, thai vinaigrette, wasabi marshmallow ($26)
Tim Raue ι Restaurant Tim Raue
Berlin Germany, 2013
A lobster tail is covered by wasabi crackers. Just Beautiful, isn’t it? Look at that star shaped wasabi marshmallow!
My friend doesn’t like wasabi but she said after this dish, She started to enjoy the taste of wasabi
The Forest : quinoa risotto, mshrooms, parsley “moss” ($28)
Mauro Colagreco ι Mirazur
Menton, France, 2011
I don’t think I need to explain why it is called “The Forest.” I feel like I am looking at a pot of beautiful plant: green leaves, flowers, green moss between rocks and little pebbles and sands underneath.
The Forest is a steady best selling menu recommended by my server. It is basically quinoa risotto with mushrooms and potato. The parsley “moss” is very interesting because it really does look like moss! but it tastes like chiffon cake. Very soft and spongy
Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake : Hazelnut, White chocolate, cookie ($22)
Albert Adria ι Tickets
Barcelona, Spain, 2015
This small cheesecake is the size of a regular camembert cheese. It tastes so rich and creamy
Scoop a spoonful cheese and put on top of the crackers. They give you more crackers if you ask. I want to have a glass of wine and start all over again!
Taiwanese Alishan tea from Red Blossom Tea Company
But since I went there for lunch, I had a cup of oolong tea instead of wine 🙂
always cannot go wrong with tea from Red Blossom Tea Company
Back of the lounge area, there are all the books by famous chefs. You can find the recipe of all the menu of In Situ here
In Situ accepts walk-ins too. However, you will be seated at the lounge area (picture above) without a reservation. To be honest with you, before I check out In Situ, I heard and read a lot of disappointing reviews. Despite these negative reviews, I am really glad that I came to dine at In Situ. This new concept of introducing each dish by different chefs all around the world is just brilliant! Corey Lee has been traveling all around the world to meet the chefs, persuade them and learn how to replicate the dish at In Situ. If it weren’t for Chef Lee, I do not think anyone could have done this. Some people criticize that each dish is so expensive. However, think about the money that you save for the flight tickets to Copenhagen, Oakland, and Kyoto and get to try one of the most signature dishes from the the restaurants, some of which require reservations 3 months in advance. Remember, each dish is made and served exactly the same way as the original. Many dishes at In Situ are one of the items from the tasting menus from these Michelin starred restaurants. Each portion of the tasting menu is usually very small because chef’s tasting menu is usually comprised of 5 – 12 courses. You don’t want to be full after 1-2 dishes during a chef’s tasting menu.
If I lived in San Francisco, I would visit In Situ regularly to try its new menu. In Situ is beyond a restaurant. It is a Food Museum where different chefs present its own unique dish as different artists show different art pieces in the exhibition. You learn about the chefs instead of artists and the best part is you get to eat the art piece rather than just enjoying it with your eyes. Congratulations for the impressive debut as a curator and thank you for creating this amazing food museum, Chef Corey Lee.
In Situ at SFMOMA
- address : 151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
- tel : +1 415.941 6050
- website : http://insitu.sfmoma.org/
- hours : lunch Thursy – Tuesday, 11AM – 4PM dinner Thursday – Sunday, 5 – 9PM (*Closed on Wednesday)
- price : each dish ranges from 14$ ~ 46$