Getting a complete makeover for your 25th birthday sounds like a great present. For a person, it would be a bold new haircut, maybe a dye job, and a phenomenal wardrobe worthy of What Not to Wear. But for a hotel, it’s a lot more dramatic.
We’re talking a top-down, inside-out reconstruction, as seen in the recently updated Mandarin Oriental Hotel in downtown San Francisco. The renovation boasts new interior designs, new meeting facilities, a soon-to-be-open spa, and perhaps most importantly, the brand new Brasserie S&P restaurant.
A Modern Twist
Brasserie S&P is the younger, more affordable reincarnation (of sorts) of the much-lauded Silks Restaurant. Silks had been a fine dining staple in the Financial District, but didn’t fit the modernized Mandarin Oriental. In came Chef Adam Mali, most recently of Nick’s Cove in Tomales Bay, to reinvent the menu—while keeping some favorites—with a focus on local ingredients that mesh with the casual brasserie concept.
Since its opening in June, Brasserie S&P—which stands for Sansome and Pine, the hotel’s intersection—has seen an influx of younger customers to compliment the steady stream of regulars. Edwina Kluender, director of communications for the hotel, describes the customer flow as a lot of families during breakfast, suit-and-tie power lunches mid-day, followed by a 20s and 30s crowd during happy hour, and back to professionals for dinner. The restaurant’s design accommodates the various groups nicely: near the windows, semi-secluded alcoves accommodate private business dinners and first dates, while tables in the middle of the floor can easily be grouped for large families, and the separate bar is hospitable for those wishing to just grab a drink.
Drinks at Brasserie S&P, under the direction of mixologist/sommelier Priscilla Young, are a gold mine on their own. The restaurant has over 600 wines available, including the exclusive Prelation Pinot Noir made in partnership with Mandarin Oriental and Hirsch Vineyards. Cocktail lovers will undoubtedly revel in the extensive gin and tonic menu: with 34 gins available, the combinations are endless! Priscilla has also developed three exclusive tonics and has three more in the works. She calls gin the “hidden gem” of liquor. Brasserie S&P offers several great options as part of Project G&T, including a flight of three gins paired with a house-made tonic. Additionally, there are several original gin cocktails, such as Priscilla’s first concoction, Indian Summer at Mt. Tam (pictured at right).
A Fine Brasserie Menu
Whatever libation you choose, know that it will go well with Chef Mali’s menu. He and Priscilla partner on both the food and drinks and they complement each other nicely. For dinner, diners can split a variety of global starters, then select a main course per person. Highlights from the starter menu include the Fallon Hills Ranch lamb sliders, local Albacore tuna “poke,” and grilled pork steam buns. The Dungeness Crab Louis is a sizeable dinner salad, and the faro spaghetti vongole is a healthy twist on the traditional Italian spaghetti and clam dish. For dessert, check out the cinnamon rosemary beignets which are surprisingly light, and small enough to fend off guilt. Chef Mali uses local ingredients as much as possible in his dishes, and plans to update the menu regularly.
Brasserie S&P serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and recently added a weekend brunch menu as well. Brunch highlights include waffles (with optional fried chicken), a smoked fish platter, and a great eggs benedict plate.
Whether you’re looking for a place to hold your team’s next lunch outing, or suggesting a spot for out-of-town guests to dine, know that the brand new Brasserie S&P offers a comprehensive menu in a casual, yet sophisticated, setting. Come by for brunch or dinner, or consider starting a g&t appreciation club. Either way, Brasserie S&P is no ordinary hotel restaurant. It’s one you’ll want to visit even if you live here.
222 Sansome Street, San Francisco
Images courtesy of Edwina Kluender