Allie Eats Her Way Through In Situ
I’ve been dying to visit the SFMOMA ever since it was renovated last May. But let’s be honest, I’m really more interested in food than I am into art. Even though I was “dying” to see the museum, I never made concrete plans to visit until my friend made a reservation at In Situ. Of course, it was the food that finally lured me in. I’m no art connoisseur so I’m just going to skip to the food portion of my visit to MOMA.
Three Michelin star chef and James Beard Award winner, Corey Lee, created the concept for In Situ. The menu consists of contributions from over 80 chefs from around the world. However, I was surprised to find out that none of the dishes on the menu were created by Corey. Yet, he was still a James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant for In Situ so clearly he’s doing something right.
The menu is pretty intuitive and includes symbols next to each dish to denote the size of the dish as well as a guide for wine pairings. After much deliberation, my friend and I ordered four medium-sized dishes, one large dish, and one dessert. I found it funny when our waitress warned us that we were ordering a lot and asked if we wanted to remove any of the dishes. However, I had just spent so much time trying to narrow down my options that I wasn’t about to reconsider my order all over again.
I started with the Celeriac and Goat Cheese Profiterole, Anis Marinated Salmon, and Wasabi Lobster. The Celeriac and Goat Cheese Profiterole (David McMillan & Frederic Morin, Joe Beef) was served at room temperature with a tomato puree. The Anis Marinated Salmon (Harald Wohlfahrt, Restaurant Schwarzwaldstube) was also served at room temperature even though it was raw. I was actually expecting the salmon to be cooked but it ended up being quite refreshing with the caviar and cucumber jelly. Out of the three medium-sized dishes, my favorite was the Wasabi Lobster (Tim Raue, Restaurant Tim Raue) although the wasabi was overpowering and truly cleared my sinuses (not a bad thing when you’re sick, right?). The lobster is prepared similarly to tempura, which I found a bit ordinary but still enjoyed.
For my main course, I had a hard time choosing between the Creole BBQ Shrimp and Grits and The Forest but eventually settled on The Forest (Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur) since it is the only large vegetarian dish on the menu and I don’t eat meat. The Forest truly looks like a forest with parsley “moss”, quinoa risotto, and mushrooms. This ended up being my favorite dish of the night so I’m glad I ended up choosing it. My friend had the Lamb Shank Manti (Mehmet Gurs, Mikla), which was served with tomato, smoked yogurt, and sumac. The dumplings looked delicious but since it had meat, I wasn’t able to try it. However, my friend truly enjoyed them.
The biggest disappointment of the night, unfortunately, was the Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake. I had the wrong expectations for this dessert and it certainly did not satisfy my sweet tooth. It is probably a great dessert for people who don’t have as sweet of sweet tooth or prefer cheese platters to end their meal. The cheesecake is made with brie so you can probably imagine just how rich it was. It felt as if I was eating a block of soft cheese with cookies instead of crackers. However, my friend who doesn’t like sweets really liked the cheesecake as a dessert since it wasn’t very sweet at all. I guess it’s all based on personal preference but just know that you won’t be getting a typical cheesecake.
In the end, the amount of food we ordered ended up being perfect. We finished everything except for the cheesecake, although we still made a good dent in it (mostly my friend’s doing). Neither my friend nor I was overly stuffed to the point where we had to be wheeled out of the restaurant but ended the meal feeling very content.