Considering that In Situ is technically inside a modern museum, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the architectural nature of their dishes. The origami inspired menu artfully identifies beverage pairings with letters and contains a map alongside detailed explanations of each dish and its origin. By definition, In Situ refers to something “in its original place,” which is quite a contradiction to the restaurant itself, where dishes from Michelin-starred restaurants around the world are meticulously recreated. The small gallery wall, sculptural wooden ceilings, and modern tableware are reflections of the contemporary SFMOMA museum.
We tried the Apocalypse Burger of Mission Street Food fame, Kalbi Jjim: a braised beef short rib stew from L.A. Son, and the Liberty Duck Breast from The French Laundry. There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding The French Laundry’s chef and owner Thomas Keller, as he recently announced he’s planning to build a small hotel on the property as well. I’ve been dying to check out his landmark restaurant in Yountville, motivated by their three Michelin star ranking for six years running. In Situ’s recreation of Keller’s dish did not disappoint. The green lentils, apples, and aged red wine vinegar sauce lent complex flavors to the perfectly cooked duck.
If you’ve looked through Yelp reviews or Instagram photos of In Situ, you’ve likely seen the Interpretation of Vanity. It’s a small chocolate cake with cold almond cream surrounded by chocolate bubbles. The dish is visually stunning and more about aesthetics than anything else, hence its name. The chocolate bubbles are nearly impossible to eat, but the cake itself is really excellent. After finishing your meal make sure to check out SFMOMA’s expanded building, amazing installations, and inspiring exhibits.