Osito is a new 100% live fire fine dining restaurant in the Mission, in the general area of Tartine Manufactory/Morris/Ernest/Farmhouse Thai. They finally managed to open up at the very end of 2021 after being significantly delayed for the obvious pandemic reasons. I believe the current menu is their second one and the plan is to change it monthly. ~$300/pp, before drinks. Seating is at one enormous communal table, although it wasn’t full when we went so it wasn’t really any different than having your own table. Overall I was very impressed.
There’s also an attached bar/restaurant called Liliana, where I think the food comes out of the same kitchen. I like it quite a lot and eating there a few times convinced me to splurge on the full experience. It’s a shortish (~10 items) a la carte menu, but you can definitely make a meal of it.
The dining room has a lot of natural light early, but the lights apparently gave all the later pictures an orange tint - trust me that they looked a lot better in real life.
Scallop, cara cara, fragrant oil
Kushi oyster, blood orange, mezcal
Sea urchin, tofu, buddha’s hand, radish
A tasty set of opening bites, although the oyster was my favorite. There was something spicy in it that might not be listed.
Geoduck, black garlic mole, beef fat
Nice little presentation on cutesy bear pins (i.e., “Osito”) on smoking douglas fir, I think. I kind of like being smoked in moderation, so this worked for me, and it’s a nice sort of reminder of the restaurant theme.
Abalone, castelvetrano olive, burnt orange, pistachio
Served at the same time as the geoduck. Possibly my favorite bite of the night.
Rye toast, avocado, preserved lemon, seaweed, chili
Rutabaga, shinko kimchee
Black sesame, green garlic, pomelo
Beet, sorghum, jalapeno, green strawberry
Shui jiao, XO, spinach
Roulade, pumpkin seed, black truffle
The bite with the strawberry was really nice but a little awkwardly sized - it’s like a bite and a third. I forget the specific description of the dumpling but I’m pretty sure the word “ash” was used. The wrapper might have been a bit too thick on that.
Crab and chicken consomme
Seaweed sourdough tortilla, Tsar Nicoulai caviar, cultured butter
I think the butter is from Alexandre Farms, or made from their milk. I was a little dubious about just straight up mixing butter and caviar but it worked surprisingly well.
The tortilla was kind of wild. It kind of looks and feels like a doormat but it’s really interesting and goes well with the caviar. Apparently they get a bunch of Tartine’s leftover end of day bread, dehydrate it, grind it down, and then reconstitute it into a tortilla as a weird homage to the chef’s childhood food growing up in Albuquerque.
Consomme was also great - I loved every part of this course.
Steelhead trout, garlic, almond, fermented grape
Roe, burdock, horseradish
Brown rice, wild mushrooms, smoked belly, scallion
Cabbage, smoked mussel
Trout is wrapped in kombu and they start smoking it high above the fire at the beginning of the meal. It’s unwrapped at the table and then covered in almond sauce as a play on trout almondine. For the sides, the trout roe is marinated in sake - the horseradish is very light. I would have been happy with less of the first and more of the second as a matter of personal taste. The rice dish was a favorite of everyone’s - there’s a few mushrooms and bits of trout inside, and half is covered in scallion dust.
Ambrosia, citrus, cherry, coconut
Another take on the chef’s childhood, in moscato jelly, IIRC.
Carrot, pecan, date, blood orange
Also some lightly savory cheese. Love this dessert. I think there was a different variant of this with shinko pears and the cheese at Liliana at one point that was also excellent, but much simpler.
Dehydrated fig, truffly thing, compressed shinko pear
Tea, cocktail, and matchbook to take home