One of our many contributing chefs at In Situ just happens to be based right here in San Francisco.
Chef Anthony Myint of The Perennial has had his dish, the apocalypse burger, on our menu since our opening back in June 2016. What makes this dish so fun is that it’s a slider size burger lettuce wrap that not only tastes bomb but also has a message behind it. The burger is made to look like a charcoal briquette to symbolize the American backyard barbecue and its leisure and wastefulness. The briquette serves as an embodiment of carbon being released into the atmosphere. At In Situ we donate $1 for every apocalypse burger we sell towards food related carbon offsets through ZeroFoodprint.
With that being said, chef Anthony Myint’s restaurant is unlike any other restaurant in the city. To further explain his vision and concept, here’s an excerpt from The Perennial’s website:
“The Perennial strikes a balance between sophistication and satisfaction with a menu that has fun reinventing classics with an optimistic vision of sustainability that’s all about finding the restorative element in restaurants. Co-chefs Anthony Myint and Michael Andreatta love to showcase vegetables from our greenhouse and local farms, seafood grown or caught sustainably, and pastured meat from ranches that prioritize ecology, animal welfare, and carbon farming. We bake bread daily with the perennial grain Kernza.”
At The Perennial you can do a three ($45) or four ($55) course tasting menu or à la carte. We opted to do the four course tasting menu where you choose dishes off the menu. I was lucky enough to also have a former coworker from In Situ work there who really took care of us and sent out a few extra dishes.
I’ve honestly never tasted such crisp lively lettuce in my life. Within the layers of fresh buttery lettuce were juicy pops of pomegranate, a creamy dressing, and frozen berries.
A vibrant colored tea leaf inspired salad with radish and carrot curls, crunchy quinoa and pumpkin seeds, and aromatic herbs.
Anything on toast is right up my alley and this was one of the best avocado toasts I’ve had. The beautifully browned bread was slathered with a creamy sauce topped with crunchy slices of raw fennel, various succulents, seaweed that added an oceany savoriness, and luscious chunks of avocado.
Their homemade bread was made from the perennial grain, kernza, that had a pleasant sweetness.
This was essentially a farro risotto mixed with fresh cheese and topped with bitter turnips and cocoa nibs.
The charred eggplant with the slightly spicy horseradish cream was so good especially on the thin chickpea crêpes.
I’m so happy I was able to try their updated version of the apocalypse burger. At In Situ it’s a lettuce wrap while theirs has a squid ink bun. The burger itself was juicy and flavorful and went deliciously with the melted cheese. It’s hard to say if In Situ’s version is better since they’re just different.
The charred tender squid was garnished with roasted celery root, a velvety celery root cream, and thin slices of celtuce (a hybrid of celery and romaine lettuce).
This was my least favorite dish of the night as I felt the main attraction, the beef, lacked flavor. I loved the beef fat Yukon gold potatoes and the leeks on the side but overall the dish was uninspiring.
Beautifully cooked pink trout melted in my mouth and the crispy yet air beignet was delightful. The trout skin cracklings added a necessary crunch to the overall soft dish.
Brown butter ice cream was nestled underneath the crispy yet moist waffle. The dollops of farmer’s cheese added tanginess and the asian pear added freshness to cut through the richness of the dessert.
I thought a nasturtium custard could be overpoweringly bitter but this was well balanced. The juicy grapefruit actually added a nice tartness with a hint of bitterness and the hazelnut financier crumbles added texture and sweetness.
This was actually my least favorite out of the desserts. The combination of Camembert cheese that was made into a “milk” with the bitter chocolate was interesting but I’m not sure if it completely worked for me.
I had a great time at The Perennial and the dishes were not only beautiful but also enjoyable. I definitely liked all the small plates and appetizers significantly more than the entrées so I’d probably skip those next time. What I admire most about The Perennial is their dedication to sustainability and where and how the ingredients they use are produced. You can feel confident in supporting a restaurant that has a strong positive message and therefore my rating is a 8/10.