You’ve probably passed Sons & Daughters and missed it, or wondered what’s behind the two-way mirror. This mysterious-looking Nob Hill building is, surprisingly, hiding a perfectly standard fine dining spot serving California cuisine. Their tasting menu isn’t the most innovative in town, but you’ll walk away satisfied.
As you’d expect from a night costing $225 per person, this spot treats you like someone who has their own Wikipedia page and recently appeared on Deuxmoi. Parties get a welcome note addressing each person by name. Mostly young staff place silverware in front of you with laser focus, and the pacing between courses is like a Silk Sonic hit—smooth but not rushed. The enigmatic aura of the space also works. Black-and-white art resembling amorphous Rorschach ink blots hang ominously (is that two boiled eggs, or a Dementor?), and there’s a fireplace in one of two intimate dining spaces.
This place checks all of the boxes that make a seasonal California restaurant. There’s your requisite Monterey squid dish, and at least one vegetable you’ve never heard of. Because they’re not f*cking around when they call this “Northern Californian cuisine,” you’ll even get salt from Ocean Beach sprinkled on top of the butter. And, of course, dishes are served on wood slabs, all-white ceramic plates, and dramatic bowls that look made from lava rock.
The small plates are the most memorable, especially in terms of unique presentation. A dish involving razor clams is wrapped in daikon to resemble a bouquet of flowers, and a trio of tiny bites is presented on a bed of moss. And scallops soaking in browned butter are served on a scallop shell. But the meal starts getting snoozy during the later courses. The slice of roast duck is nicely tender but predictable, and the dry-aged strip loin is under-seasoned and overpowered by truffle.
In a town of endless seasonal tasting menus to choose from, a night at Sons & Daughters still adds up to a nice time—even if there are other tasting menu spots that excite us more. If you’re working your way through every tasting menu in town, looking for your first fine dining experience, or just need a Very Fancy dinner option near Union Square, this spot is an excellent option.
The 14-course menu at Sons & Daughters changes with the seasons, but here’s what you can expect.
Puffed Beef Tendon, Roasted Porcini Financier, Potato Chip
The meal starts off strong with this trio of bites, served on top of a dish that looks like a manicured front yard. Every texture imaginable is represented, from the crispy puffed beef tendon to the financier decorated with rich bay leaf cream. The potato chip has the consistency of a half-melted Jolly Rancher—it’s the one you’ll still be thinking about for days after the meal.
Razor Clams With Daikon And Winter Greens
Presentation of this crunchy one-biter left an impression. Thin slices of daikon are wrapped around razor clams and winter greens like a tiny bouquet. The winter greens slightly overpower the clams, but you won’t be mad about eating this.
Corvus Ranch Duck With Corn, Chanterelle Mushroom, And Treviso
We’d eat the silky corn purée and smoky mushrooms as a midday snack or any time we need to fuel up after a semi-strenuous hike. Hidden underneath the meat, they’re the ideal supporting cast for the duck, which is tender but nothing you’ll remember in a few weeks.
Passion Fruit And Pistachio With Fermented Shinko Pear And Jasmine Ice Cream
By the time dessert hits, you’ll probably have lost count of how many courses you’ve had, and want to be rolled off the premises. So the light, floral jasmine ice cream is the ideal finisher.