A Meal at In Situ

Inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA) is the restaurant In Situ. The restaurant is dedicated to bringing to its diners iconic dishes from Michelin starred restaurants or those on the World’s 50 Best lists – incredible dishes from around the world. The menu changes often, and consists of small, medium, and large plates that you can order for lunch or dinner. Essentially, you can think of In Situ as restaurant inside a modern art museum that is itself a dining museum- it curates dishes globally from famous culinary artists and presents them to you as a visitor.

A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes from Michelin restaurants around the world

This is definitely a unique restaurant in how Chef Corey Lee and staff here really are doing dishes from other restaurants and chefs – nothing is the Chef’s own creation, every dish on the menu lists the name of the original chef. Sometimes the chefs give them the recipe outright, other times they give them permission to do an interpretation given what ingredients are available locally here vs that country, or the chef provides them a new recipe.

This does mean that the flavors of dishes can be all over the place since each dish on the menu is from a different chef. It’s on you when you order to decide the size of dishes you want and what kind of flavor profiles you want during the progression of the meal. Look carefully at the size of the dishes, which is shown on the menu. You will also find suggested pairings for the dishes using letters. You will even see the date the dish was first made, similar to when art pieces have a date listed too of when the art was created.
A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes from Michelin restaurants around the world A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes from Michelin restaurants around the world

Here’s what I enjoyed during my lunch break as I was experiencing SF MOMA (particularly the Soundtracks exhibit, as I shared earlier this week). Keep in mind that the menu may change based on what Chef Corey curates from various chefs at any given time.

I started with the small plate of Cuttlefish Cappuccino with potato, braised cuttlefish, ink by Massamiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre from Rubano, Italy, 1996. On a playful touch a plastic First Taste placemat accompanied this dish.

A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Cuttlefish Cappuccino with potato, braised cuttlefish, ink by Massamiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre from Rubano, Italy, 1996 A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Cuttlefish Cappuccino with potato, braised cuttlefish, ink by Massamiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre from Rubano, Italy, 1996

I don’t know how the kitchen does it because I know these dishes are complex, but the kitchen gets all their dishes out quicky and this was piping hot. The suggested pairing was a local sake, Sequoia’s Coastal, a Junmai Ginjo that was delicious – I ordered a second glass with the next course. Here, it’s brightness was a great contrast with the creamy rich texture of the Cuttlefish Cappuccino spoonfuls.

A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Cuttlefish Cappuccino with potato, braised cuttlefish, ink by Massamiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre from Rubano, Italy, 1996 A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Cuttlefish Cappuccino with potato, braised cuttlefish, ink by Massamiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre from Rubano, Italy, 1996

I then had a main plate of medium size of Wasabi Lobster with mango jelly, Thai vinaigrette, wasabi marshmallow, a dish from Tim Raue, Restaurant Tim Raue from Berlin, Germany, 2013. The many wasabi crunches provided a nice burn against the more mango jelly, with all the textures here being pretty playful.
A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Wasabi Lobster with mango jelly, Thai vinaigrette, wasabi marshmallow, a dish from Tim Raue, Restaurant Tim Raue from Berlin, Germany, 2013 A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Wasabi Lobster with mango jelly, Thai vinaigrette, wasabi marshmallow, a dish from Tim Raue, Restaurant Tim Raue from Berlin, Germany, 2013

The reason for the medium sized plate was that I knew I wanted double desserts! First I had the Interpretation of Vanity, a dish of moist chocolate cake, cold almond cream, bubbles and cocoa curated from chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz from Errenteria, Spain, 2007. The Chocolate Cake was so intensely flavored and melt in your mouth that I just couldn’t stop, and it found a perfect balance between not being too sweet and bitter. The bubbles were more just for fun to pop then eat since after popping they were only itsy bits of liquid.
A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Interpretation of Vanity, a dish of moist chocolate cake, cold almond cream, bubbles and cocoa curated from chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz from Errenteria, Spain, 2007 A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Interpretation of Vanity, a dish of moist chocolate cake, cold almond cream, bubbles and cocoa curated from chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz from Errenteria, Spain, 2007

Then the second dessert was Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake with hazelnut, white chocolate, cookie a creation inspired from Albert Adrià, Tickets from Barcelona, Spain, 2015. Super rich, and even though I like rich food this would have been better to share. To give my palate a break I skipped the dessert wine pairing suggestions and ordered a sour beer instead, a San Francisco beer from Local Brewing Co called Weiss So Sour.
A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake with hazelnut, white chocolate, cookie a creation inspired from Albert Adrià, Tickets from Barcelona, Spain, 2015 A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes: this is Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake with hazelnut, white chocolate, cookie a creation inspired from Albert Adrià, Tickets from Barcelona, Spain, 2015

I thought this as an incredible experience, among the best things I have eaten all year from a year of many outstanding meals for me. You can really travel around the world on your table, all without the jet lag and costs of airfare and hotel and the headache of even getting into these well acclaimed restaurants.

A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes from Michelin restaurants around the world

The restaurants take reservations, and half the restaurant is a lounge which can also accommodate walk-ins and there is one communal table in the dining room. The lounge has a smaller menu then the dining room however, so if you can make reservations (you can do traditionally over the phone or also over OpenTable)
A Meal at In Situ, a restaurant at SF MOMA offering iconic dishes from Michelin restaurants around the world

What do you think of this restaurant concept? If you were going to curate a restaurant with your favorite dishes that you’ve eaten, what would you definitely include from a restaurant you’ve dined at?

In Situ at SFSOMA Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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