Imgur user Hoptail has allowed the internet to experience a $600 meal at the second most expensive restaurant in America from the comfort of their own homes (almost). A foodie, this isn’t the first time this Imgur user has saved up money to experience a restaurant like this and she’s happy with her decision: “For those of you with the disparaging comments about this endeavour not being worth it, or that I shouldn’t be spending my money on stuff like this if I’m not financially well-to-do…” wrote Hoptail. “It’s my money, and this is what I like.” Considering we get to vicariously experience an incredibly exquisite meal at the second most expensive restaurant for free, we’re not complaining.
“I got sent to San Francisco for work and I always make a habit of visiting the best restaurants when I travel,” wrote Hoptail. “I’m not well-off by any means – I’m a college student. But I love good food and I save up. So please enjoy living vicariously through these photos of my dinner for 1 at Saison,” said the Imgur user. Hoptail took pictures of each course (because if you were spending $600 on a meal, wouldn’t you want to remember it?) and offers honest opinions on all of them. Hoptail has disputed comments that the pictures are for social media attention; she simply has a love and appreciation for food.
“Firstly, I don’t have Instagram, and secondly, if I’m going to spend that much on a meal, I want to be able to appreciate it later and share it with people who would find it interesting,” Hoptail explained. “Documenting your food is becoming more and more acceptable now, even in high-end restaurants.” With a meal like this, who could blame her for wanting to remember it all?
1. Imgur user Hoptail raved about this simple cup of tea that started off the meal. She found it so delightful she even requested they continue to fill her cup during all four hours that she was there. “This was, no joke, the most heavenly tea I’ve ever had in my life and could quite cheerfully drink this every day until I died. It was only supposed to accompany one course but I requested that it be replenished throughout the evening. All 4 hours of it. Each little bushel had douglas fir, yarrow, chamomile, lemon balm, anise and hyssop all picked fresh from the restaurant farm and steeped in hot Meyer lemon water,” wrote Hoptail.
2. Up next, some greens. “Baby spinach, roasted kelp cooked in clarified butter (compliments of their jersey cow Bella) and topped with proprietary caviar – some specific type that you can only have there. Can’t tell you how buttery and melty this all was,” shared Hoptail. “Even though all the textures were super different, they came together so smoothly.”
3. Next dish was turbot fish 2 ways. The user called the sashimi “amazing” and said they were blown away by the texture, claiming it was “the most tender, buttery squid you’ve ever had in your life.” Hoptail said she was in tears knowing she’d never have better raw fish for the rest of her life. On the second version of the turbot fish: “The second preparation was grilled with a light soy glaze. Came with little heirloom tomatoes and some sort of deep-fried flower. Was nice.”
4. Next dish: Geoduck. The Imgur user didn’t find this “freaky” looking dish as appetizing, saying “Honestly, it wasn’t that good. Just kind of chewy and the marinade was super overwhelming I couldn’t actually taste the meat. This is actually 3 separate parts of the clam – the siphon (the freakish long, sticky-outty part of the clam), the abductor muscle and I think the inside bit.”
5. We have a winner! Imgur user Hoptail referred to this course as their absolute favorite. “Fresh sea urchin (uni) on grilled bread that was basted in a sauce made of the offcuts of the bread. Like a bread confit,” wrote Hoptail. “I’ve never had sea urchin before, it was SUPER creamy.. like the butter of the sea. So amazingly fresh and the sauce in the bread was incredible. Definitely my favorite.” Is your mouth watering yet?
6. “They used every part of the radish to make this dish,” said Hoptail. “That’s sliced radish on top (again from their farm) with Bella’s clarified butter.” The portions may be a little smaller than what many of us are used to but you have to admit the presentation is unique!
7. But surprise, the chef added more flavor underneath. “Underneath there was a sort of radish jelly vinegar reduction, the radish tops, and cubes of marinated radish,” wrote the Imgur user. “It was actually super fresh and tart and a really good transition from the richness of the previous course.”
8. Apparently, a $600 meal also includes quite a bit of pumpkin. “This is roasted pumpkin – 3 ways. The first to the left is kind of like agedashi tofu except it’s torn roast pumpkin topped with octopus flakes. Was actually super nice,” shared Hoptail.
9. “Second preparation was pumpkin hung over their in-house fire and slow roasted for like 8 hours with a buttermilk cream.” Hoptail also referred to the caramelization of the pumpkin as “incredible.”
10. Although Hoptail loved the first two, the Imgur user was not blown away by the third. “Not sure about this one,” wrote Hoptail. “Pumpkin puree in cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil. It felt like it was kind of added as an afterthought and was way too salty. I’m not even sure how I was supposed to eat it.”
11. Next up, meat. Although Hopkins was a little uneasy with the meat of choice – antelope – the Imgur user admitted it was quite tasty. “It came with stuffed radicchio, herb salad and really nice biscuits and honey butter that tasted like pancakes,” said Hoptail. “It was well-seasoned and had the texture of a cross between venison and beef and was perfectly medium-rare. Melt-in-your-mouth-melt-your-heart amazing.”
12. Already iffy about eating antelope, Hoptail wasn’t thrilled when the next course turned out to be antelope soup. “God make it stop,” said Hoptail. “Antelope bone broth with sage. It was actually really nice, but I needed to move on from Bambi’s relatives.”
13. Although unsure about the antelope, dessert was a definitive success. “Dessert, yes. The best part. This is smoked ice cream. Don’t ask me the science behind how one smokes ice cream – but it’s got something to do incorporating exotic wood embers into the cream.” Hoptail thought the dessert was incredible, but it was the “life-changing salted caramel” that pushed this course over the edge.
14. Not only was the smoked ice cream incredible, but it also came with an assortment of candied toppings including walnuts, peanuts, cacao nibs and pine nuts.
16. Another incredible dessert, this time an orange buttermilk creamsicle that could pass as an actual orange.
17. The presentation of this adorable ice cream isn’t even the best part. “Super smooth, really creamy and had hidden segments of candied oranges at the bottom,” wrote Hoptail. “I’ll confess, I’d been eating for like 3 and a half hours at this point and picked through the ice cream to get to the wedges. I felt bad, but I was barely halfway through the dessert portion of the menu and was already on struggle street.” After all this food, who could blame her for getting full?
18. And the dessert just keeps on coming. “Blueberry sorbet on top of brandy-macerated blueberries. Topped with more brandy. Good if you like brandy. I don’t,” said Hoptail.
19. Last but not least, a secret menu option! “The Saison “Snickers” bar. This is an off-menu item that comes if you befriend the right waiter and mention you have a penchant for desserts,” revealed Hoptail. “Some sort of dark chocolate and nut brownie base, salted caramel center, chocolate ganache and topped with 24K gold – because why not do that when you’re the second most expensive restaurant in the country.”
20. And if you could believe it, the restaurant even has you leaving with a swag bag. “You get a swag bag on the way out and a fancy wax-sealed copy of the menu.” Overall, Hoptail says the experience was worth the $600: “Honestly this was an awesome experience and, for me, well worth the money. The staff was absolutely amazing.” So, if you’re interested in trying out the second most expensive restaurant and happen to have $600, Hoptail recommends the experience. Would you?