We will only say this once, but we feel it must be said: Michael Mina is expensive. We think to a fault. But nonetheless, the man is serious about his menu action and we found ourselves part of a dinner reservation for 4 at this restaurant this week so we’re ready to gab.
There are two options: order from the three course sampling menu ($100 per person) or order from the seasonal tasting menu ($135 per person). We initially found the menu overwhelming because we didn’t receive the training manual until well after we’d all figured it out. Basically, each course has its own page and on each page there are 4 “categories,” each with three entrees featuring a central ingredient. Each page also has a short list of “Classics” that don’t rely on theme, but rather timelessness.
For instance, Sweetie got the Scallops, Lamb and Cheeses and he sampled three different scallop preparations, three different lamb entrees and a cheese selection for dessert. We went with Classics for both course one and two—the Tuna Tartar and the Lobster Pot Pie—and the berry themed dessert option for our final course. The meal itself was epic, taking around 2 and half hours with coffee and tea to finish everything.
Everything was interesting and much of the experience of Michael Mina seems to concern the presentation of the dishes. There was lot of “on the left of the plate you have the blah, blah, blah and to the right the yada, yada, yada.” Ears would perk up when recognizable items were named—corn, potato, tuna, chowder—but for the most part we nodded and ate what was put in front of us without actually knowing what we were eating. The wait staff was very attentive and appropriately cautious of our nut allergy so we didn’t have to worry that a sliver of the green stuff on the right might send us to the emergency room.
There was much conversation about the meal in cab ride home. “Was that worth all that money?” The conclusion was this: You pay (a lot) for ingenuity and presentation at Michael Mina. The food is good—of course it is—but it may not be the best lamb or duck or lobster you’ve had in your life and if you’re the type of person to eat at Michael Mina you’re apt to find yourself presented with the opportunity to eat other equally fine or even finer versions of the entrées you’ll have at this restaurant. However, you may not have the combinations of food quite like you will at Michael Mina and by all means, if someone offers to take you, there’s little reason to say no. Just be be prepared for the bill. We didn’t pick up the tab, but were pretty sure that the 4 orders, a bottle of wine, two cocktails and coffee came close to $1000. We won’t say it again because we promised it would only be said once, but man, Michael Mina isn’t messin’ around.