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Saison and Angler launching new takeout barbecue concept, Saison Smokehouse, during shelter in place

[Photo of Esther Mobley]
Esther Mobley April 9, 2020
[Angler restaurant on the Embarcadero in S.F. will now be operating as a takeout and delivery barbecue restaurant.]
1of2Angler restaurant on the Embarcadero in S.F. will now be operating as a takeout and delivery barbecue restaurant.Photo: Jessica Christian / The Chronicle 2018
[Aiden McArdle tends to the fire at Saison restaurant in 2018.]
2of2Aiden McArdle tends to the fire at Saison restaurant in 2018.Photo: John Storey / Special to the Chronicle 2018

Saison Hospitality, the group that owns San Francisco restaurants Saison and Angler, will launch a new takeout and delivery barbecue concept Saturday called Saison Smokehouse. It’s the first service that the restaurants are offering since closing after San Francisco issued shelter-in-place orders on March 17.

“Nobody needs fine dining right now, and obviously we can’t go out to a meal, so this is a simple comforting way to help,” the company said through a press representative. “Everybody needs a bit of barbecue in their life.”

Barbecue doesn’t seem like too far of a stretch for Angler and Saison, both of which have incorporated lots of fire in their cooking methods over the last few years. The Smokehouse food will be prepared by chefs Richard Lee, Jacob Ruck, Paul Chung, Monique Moufarrej and Joshua Plunkett at Angler, whose kitchen is built around a large hearth. The restaurant's seafood-centric menu already incorporated lots of smoke and embers: In normal times, it serves items including a White Russian cocktail with “embered cream” ($17) and smoked cauliflower ($16).

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Now, the dining room of the Embarcadero restaurant has been reconfigured for contactless takeout, and while it’s not fine dining it’s still high end. Diners can buy a “family meal” for either two ($69) or four ($124), which includes a choice of two main dishes (smoked chicken, pork ribs or pastrami brisket), two side dishes, biscuits, barbecue sauces and an “embered caramel frosty” for dessert. Other menu items include barbecued Rancho Gordo beans, cabbage slaw with wild fennel vinegar, collard greens and “Orecchiette Mac and Wine Country Cheeses.”

Bottled cocktails are available, too, like the Saison Milk Punch ($24 for 3 servings), made with Japanese whiskey, rum and smoked pineapple, along with a short selection of wine bottles including Kumeu River Chardonnay from New Zealand ($35) and Bedrock “Weil a Way” Syrah from Sonoma ($50).

The Saison Hospitality group includes Saison restaurant, which opened in 2009, and the Angler outposts in San Francisco and Los Angeles, plus a forthcoming location in Bellevue, Wash. The company was formed in 2016 as a partnership between Saison restaurant and venture-capital fund Terra Ventures.

Saison Smokehouse. Open 3-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday beginning April 11. Additionally open 3-8 p.m. on Sunday, April 12. Takeout and delivery orders available through DoorDash and Caviar. 132 The Embarcadero, San Francisco. Instagram: @saisonsf

Esther Mobley is The San Francisco Chronicle’s wine critic. Email: emobley@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @Esther_mobley Instagram: @esthermob

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[Photo of Esther Mobley]

Esther Mobley

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Wine critic Esther Mobley joined The Chronicle in 2015 to cover California wine, beer and spirits. Previously she was an assistant editor at Wine Spectator magazine in New York, and has worked harvests at wineries in Napa Valley and Argentina. She studied English literature at Smith College.

Past Articles from this Author:

Navarro: the epitome of Anderson Valley wine
Pennyroyal Farm: baby goats and really good wine
Scharffenberger: approachable, affordable California bubbly


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Alchemy Cellars
May 15, 2015 | Alchemy Cellars

Wine Serving Tips

Now that you have taken the time to learn how-to-taste wine, the regions and grapes of the world, reading a wine label and the essentials for buying wine, it’s time to drink it! 

For starters, make sure that your wine is being served at its absolute best. To do that, pay attention to these three tenets of wine service: Glassware, temperature and preservation.

Each wine has something unique to offer your senses. Most wine glasses are specifically shaped to accentuate those defining characteristics, directing wine to key areas of the tongue and nose, where they can be fully enjoyed. While wine can be savored in any glass, a glass designed for a specific wine type helps you to better experience its nuances. Outfit your house with a nice set of stems you will reap the rewards.

All wine is stored at the same temperature, regardless of its color. But reds and whites are consumed at quite different temperatures. Too often people drink white wines too cold and red wines too warm, limiting how much you can enjoy the wine. A white that’s too cold will be flavorless and a red that’s too warm is often flabby and alcoholic.

Time Posted: May 15, 2015 at 3:14 PM Permalink to Wine Serving Tips Permalink
Alchemy Cellars
May 15, 2015 | Alchemy Cellars

Buying Wine

We live in an age in which sourcing wine has never been easier. Looking for a wine from Crete? The wine shop in your town will likely carry it, and if not, you can easily find a wine retailer online. It’s in the hands of the consumer to shop for the best deal or for the most elusive, rare bottle, which can often be shipped to your doorstep. 

Savvy shoppers will stay on top of ever-changing wine shipping laws based on interstate policies. Some states cannot have wine shipped to them, while others have more relaxed laws.

Before you can start investing in a full collection, you’ll need to discover your palate by embracing opportunities to taste and determine what you like. When dining out with friends or at a party, be open minded! A rich Cabernet Sauvignon might woo you initially, but you may also take a liking to exoticRieslings depending on your mood. There is no better way to discover wine than by tasting everything. We have plenty of tools that will help: Best Buy Cheat Sheet, Making the Purchase and Bargain-Friendly Bordeaux will all help guide you on your path to wine bliss.

Time Posted: May 15, 2015 at 3:12 PM Permalink to Buying Wine Permalink
Alchemy Cellars
May 15, 2015 | Alchemy Cellars

Reading a Wine Label

At first glance, a wine label can be confusing to those just getting started. Luckily, New World wine producers have made it easier on wine beginners by listing the grape(s) directly on the label. Old World regions have typically relied on the wine consumer to be familiar enough with the region to know, for example, that Red Burgundy is Pinot Noir. 

Old World Wines might read like this:
Château Moulin de Grenet 2009 Lussac Saint-Émilion

New World wines might read like this:
Cakebread 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley

The French wine lists “Saint-Émilion,” assuming the consumer realizes that wines from Saint-Émilionare mostly Merlot. The wine from Napa, California, on the other hand, lists both the region and the grape variety. As you study more about wine, you’ll become more and more accustomed to all the wine varietals and the Old World regions that produce them.

Old World wine producers are slowly realizing that in order to compete on the global market, they need to make it easy on the consumer. But as much as times may change, a deep understanding of how to read a wine label will always be a useful skill. 

Time Posted: May 15, 2015 at 3:11 PM Permalink to Reading a Wine Label Permalink
Alchemy Cellars
May 15, 2015 | Alchemy Cellars

“Good Wine” for Beginners

You have probably heard from both friends and experts many times that any wine you like is a good wine. This is true if simply enjoying wine is your goal. You don’t have to do more than take a sip, give it a swallow and let your inner geek decide “yes” or “no.” The end.

It’s true that figuring out what you like is an important component of wine tasting, but it’s not the only component. Quickly passing judgment about a wine is not the same as truly understanding and evaluating it. If you’re tasting properly, you will be able to identify the main flavor and scent components in every wine you try; you will know the basic characteristics for all of the most important varietal grapes, and beyond that, for the blended wines from the world’s best wine-producing regions. You will also be able to quickly point out specific flaws in bad wines. 

Time Posted: May 15, 2015 at 3:10 PM Permalink to “Good Wine” for Beginners Permalink
Alchemy Cellars
May 3, 2011 | Alchemy Cellars

Wine Tasting - Getting Started

The ability to sniff out and untangle the subtle threads that weave into complex wine aromas is essential for tasting. Try holding your nose while you swallow a mouthful of wine; you will find that most of the flavor is muted. Your nose is the key to your palate. Once you learn how to give wine a good sniff, you’ll begin to develop the ability to isolate flavors—to notice the way they unfold and interact—and, to some degree, assign language to describe them.

This is exactly what wine professionals—those who make, sell, buy, and write about wine—are able to do. For any wine enthusiast, it’s the pay-off for all the effort.

While there is no one right or wrong way to learn how to taste, some “rules” do apply.

First and foremost, you need to be methodical and focused. Find your own approach and consistently follow it. Not every single glass or bottle of wine must be analyzed in this way, of course. But if you really want to learn about wine, a certain amount of dedication is required. Whenever you have a glass of wine in your hand, make it a habit to take a minute to stop all conversation, shut out all distraction and focus your attention on the wine’s appearance, scents, flavors and finish.

You can run through this mental checklist in a minute or less, and it will quickly help you to plot out the compass points of your palate. Of course, sipping a chilled rosé from a paper cup at a garden party doesn’t require the same effort as diving into a well-aged Bordeaux served from a Riedel Sommelier Series glass. But those are the extreme ends of the spectrum. Just about everything you are likely to encounter falls somewhere in between.

Time Posted: May 3, 2011 at 10:28 AM Permalink to Wine Tasting - Getting Started Permalink Comments for Wine Tasting - Getting Started Comments (103)
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