John Birdsall in Saveur on Saison: Joshua Skenes Has a Fleet of Fishermen and an Abalanoe Farmer on Retainer - This chef of the tasting-menu temple Saison goes the distance to get the goods


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Saison’s menu rotates between fin fish such as diamond turbot and black cod, abalone, and so many lobes of uni packed onto Saison’s signature toast course that they come to the table looking like a single fat, orange ruffle. On any given night there might be weird and bumpy or otherwise amorphous creatures such as sea cucumbers, moon jellyfish, and, the homeliest of all, box crabs—things that few chefs ever see, much less work to understand. Even the meat course on the menu one night—a grilled, aged T-bone from a pronghorn antelope, served next to a plump barbecued quail—felt like a temporary diversion from seafood rather than a red-meat anchor.

Photo immediately above: A California red warty sea cucumber.
Ed Anderson