Chef Josh Skenes, Joshua Skenes, San Francisco, Recommendations, Details, Where Chefs Eat, Chefs Feed, CA, California, Berkeley, Insider Recommendations, Where to eat, Where to drink, Where to shop, Tea, Chinese, Japanese, Sushi, Bread, Ice Cream, Farmers Market, Stores, Shopping, Eating, Drinking, Tips




Photographs courtesy of Saison

San Francisco, CA

Q & A with Chef Joshua Skenes

Q. Tell us about the new Saison.

A. It is essentially a dream restaurant. We were able to design our kitchen from scratch. 30% of the area is the dining room and the other 70% is for everything else that we need to operate correctly in the restaurant. The space is in an old electrical building that used to be a parking garage. I think it was built in 1888 and I’ve had my eye on it for a while, but it just came available. We’re proud to be in the perfect space and Saison now has so much character.

Q. Has the menu changed with the move?

A. We’ll continue to evolve the same way we have, but I think the difference is that we don’t have physical limitations anymore -- we have all the equipment we could ever ask for.

Q. For people who have never been to your restaurant, how would you describe it?

A. I would say that it’s a place to eat good food and drink good wine, really simple. This is something where I’ll be cooking here until I’m old, it’s a craft and about perfecting a skill. We try to just find the best stuff on earth that we can find and cook it in the same respective way that it’s created or grown or caught.

It’s not about how cool of a combination I can come up with or how new and innovative it is or any other thing. It’s about trying to ask ourselves what we can do to make the most delicious food possible. It should be real food, it should be nourishing and you should leave feeling like you ate real food.





General Information

Saison San Francisco

178 Townsend Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

T: 415.828.7990 (make a reservation)





Chef’s Recs | San Francisco

Bread at Tartine Bakery | Ice Cream at Bi-Rite Creamery

Photography courtesy of Tartine Bakery | Photo Credit:star5112 [flickr]

Find | Bread

Tartine Bakery

I like Chad’s [Robertson] bread at Tartine, I think it’s the best bread. It has the most delicious, texture and flavor. For me everything’s about flavor. Either it tastes really good or doesn’t; I could care less about everything else. Quality comes with flavor. If you have something that’s really high quality, chances are it’s going to taste really good and have a great flavor by itself so you don’t have to do too much to it.

Chad’s bread is has a beautiful texture and the crust is amazing. He searches out the best grains and flours to make the bread, so he has a really fantastic product. My favorite bread is the sesame loaf.

[See details.]

Find | Farmers Market

Marin Farmers Market

On Thursday, I go to the Marin Farmers Market and we usually we get here around 8 o’clock. It’s beautiful and almost the same size as the Ferry building. It’s got some different vendors, some people who don’t come on Saturdays go here.

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Find | Ice Cream

Bi-Rite Creamery

I love ice cream and Bi-Rite has really good ice cream. I love it because it’s a nice creamy ice cream that’s kind of light. Not because it has a ton of cream in it, but because of the way it’s made. They do the basic things right. And the flavors are always good, like their salty caramel. Everybody knows about that one though, so you should go there and you try anything.

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Z & Y Chinese in San Francisco

Photography courtesy of Z & Y

Eat | Restaurants

Chez Panisse

The birthplace of simple Californian food and it’s still delicious as ever. It’s food that you want to eat all the time.


I really like Hamano, it's somewhere I go all the time. It’s really good and you form a relationship with the sushi chef which is just so nice. Ironically, the sushi chef’s name is Jiro.

My Canh

They have a great rare beef salad and a Dungeness crab noodle soup, really good. They shave their beef really thin and top it with a dressing that is basically water, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, chili, garlic and sometimes lime. They serve it with lettuce and topped with little crispy shallots and garlic and a lot of different herbs, delicious.

Z & Y Restaurant

It’s Schezuan food and it’s really good. I have a lot of favorite dishes here. There is a pickled cabbage and fish soup which is delicious. It’s a pickled mustard green that adds really nice acidity to the soup. There’s a beef tendon dish which is made with a mala sauce. It’s the base in a lot of spicy dishes for Schezuan food and it has hot, sour, salty and sweet. A really good mala sauce is a very addicting thing. They put it on pig ears, on beef tendon and on dumplings. All four of these dishes are really good. They also have a drunken chicken dish that’s delicious.

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Imperial Tea Court

Photo Credit:zyzzyva [flickr]

Drink | Tea

Imperial Tea Court

They have the best commercial tea available. I go here all the time and all the teas are really good. Really phenomenal tea only exists in private collections, but this is good as it gets commercially. Start with the basics, like Green Oolong. It’s a lighter shade of oolong tea and has a very grassy buttery kind of smooth finish and body. It has a nice texture to it. This one is in the Ferry Building and it's kind of traditional tea house. They also have one in Berkeley that I like a lot too.

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F.E.D. Recs on the Go

Download the F.E.D. iPhone app and get Joshue Skenes’s recommendations as well as more recs from other chefs, sommeliers and bartenders.

Sommelier’s Recs

Saison’s sommelier and co-owner, Mark Bright, talks wine and his favorite spots for eating, drinking and shopping in San Francisco.


Details of chef Joshua Skenes’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in New York City.


Recommended By:

- Chef Traci Des Jardins of Jardiniere, Public House and Mijita in San Francisco, CA