Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak opened in October 2010 at the Westin Hotel Union square and is located in a very central San Francisco location. He also has Bourbon Steak locations in Scottsdale, Miami, Washington, DC and Detroit. Mina moved his flagship restaurant Michael Mina to the former Aqua location on California Street.
They are focusing on a upmarket modern American Steakhouse tailored to the San Francisco dining audience, offering contemporary fare focused on seasonal West Coast ingredients. Omri Aflalo is the executive chef. (Formerly of Citrus in LA) Our last visit was in the middle of 2013 when we noticed price inflation.
Decor, Vibe – Bourbon Steak has upscale formal elegance with luxurious tables and chairs. The dining room is smaller and a little less formal than in the Michael Mina days, with a lounge occupying more real estate. The room was very dark and nearly full, with well dressed hotel guests, businessmen, and locals filling the room. Most were older, 40-60 range.
Bourbon Steak Menu
A wide variety of starters and appetizers from lobster corn dogs to Bone Marrow & Oxtail. Many steak options including American and Australian Wagyu. Expensive and Classic Mina Lobster Pot pie is still on the menu.
Lounge menu available with small bites. Vegetarians have few options and should eat elsewhere. The recommend ordering dessert with the rest of your meal. Secret menu has Spinach Souffle.
Bourbon Steak Picks:
Nice warm and crusty bread with butter and Fleur du sel (salt).
Mojito ($12) was tall, not particularly strong, but full of mint.
Pomegranate Drop ($15) was fruity and sweet but not very strong.
Amuse Bouche – Trio of Duck fat fries (herb-sprinkled, onion-scented, and cheddar-dusted) with two types of aioli and house made infused ketchup was a fun way to start a meal. The fries were on the salty side and very decadent with the hints of duck flavor. No need to order too many appetizers.
West Coast Oysters Spanish Mignonette ($22) included six tiny Kumamoto’s along with two dipping sauces. These oysters were fresh and surprised us.
Petite Romaine Caesar Garlic Crouton, Bagna Càuda, Onion Sprouts, Parmesan Reggiano ($16) looked fabulous, and frankly wasn’t that small, which is surprising given its name.
Fresh Ricotta Gnudi Wagyu Meatballs, Braised Russain Kale, Tenbrink Farms Kale Chip, Parmigiano-reggiano ($17) was highly recommended by our server. It was good but not excellent. Several delicate balls of meat interspersed with soft pasta balls.
Ahi Tuna Tartare Scotch Bonnet Pepper, pine nuts, mint, sesame oil ($22) is a signature appetizer and definitely meets the criteria for a must get dish.
Brandt Farms Steak Tartare Caramelized Onion, confit chino valley farm egg, traditional garniture ($24) is a classic steak house appetizer. Prepared tableside, this dish was done well and didn’t seem very exotic.
Michael’s Classic Lobster Pot Pie (Market Price, $75) baby vegetables, brandied lobster cream is his signature dish. It comes table side in a pot and is plated table side. Expensive, 1.5lb of fresh lobster along with some tasty organic vegetables, a rich creamy sauce, and an excellent egg-less crust.
18oz Bone-In Rib eye Steak ($50) was a satisfying large hunk of beautiful all-natural, grass-fed beef cooked to a perfect medium rare using Mina’s signature butter poaching. They use the top of USDA Choice grade meats unlike Alexander’s, who uses USDA Prime. This didn’t seem to matter as the meat was tender and very juicy. Served with a couple small mushrooms. Sides are a la carte. Do you dare gnaw on the bone in this posh restaurant?
1 4oz Angus New York ($49) was actually preferred over the ribeye. It had more flavor and a better texture. Juicy, cooked to a perfect medium which means red throughout the inside.
Pan Roasted Halibut dungeness crab, brown butter, almonds, fennel puree, bing cherries ($38) was an interesting order. Usually asking for fish in a steak house is a no-no. We needed to get a non-beef dish and this was recommended out of the three fish on the menu. Wow, this was cooked just right and looked fabulous. If you are fish fan, do not feel bad for ordering this. Because this is a Michael Mina restaurant, most of the dishes will have a high level of quality.
Brandt Farm Short Rib ($49) Beef & Broccoli, Brown butter potatoes, soy glaze was recommended by our server. Beautiful cubes of tender and fatty goodness with a nice crust. 72hours makes them melt in your mouth.
Potato Skins ‘POUTINE’ with Short Rib aged gouda, grilled scallion, horseradish crème fraîche ($14) had three large chunks of potato covered with thick velvety gravy, with some small bits of short rib, on a hot skillet with a side of lightly flavored crème fraîche. Another rich, fun starter that helps introduce the classic Canadian dish to an American audience. We last had Poutine at a Burger King in Vancouver.
Marrow & Oxtail shallot confit, Meyer lemon gremolata, country bread ($16) fits right into a San Francisco steakhouse. Excellent dish with artery clogging cheese covered bone marrow on a highly buttered bread with some oxtail meat on the side. This dish was beautiful and top-notch.
10oz Dry-Aged Eye of Ribeye ($45) came with 2 cuts of dry aged meat. This was the only selection that was aged. One was a traditionally grilled piece, while the other was a darker cut. We preferred to dark skinned version because of its flavor, crispy crust, and buttery tenderness.
Black Truffle Mac & Cheese ($10) filled the air with decadent odors and proved to hit the mark.
Yukon Gold Potato Puree ($9) or mashed potatoes were smooth and not as buttery as we thought they would be.
Local Shelling Bean “CASSEROLE” ($9) had 4 types of beans and was covered with an onion sous vid sauce poured tableside. A little richer than we would like, but how else would you get mediators to eat some vegetables?
Michael Mina’s Signature Root Beer Float ($12) Sassafras, Root Beer, Root beer sorbet, Chocolate Chip Cookies hit the spot on such a hot day. A gourmet interpretation of the classic fountain concoction, using top notch ingredients. The chocolate straw was not functional! The cookies were freshly baked and simply outstanding.
Beignets ($12) cinnamon sugar, macallan caramel custard is a signature dessert. Freshly fried and a must-get for donut fans.
Sorbet trio ($12) seasonal sorbets included coconut, passion fruit, and strawberry. Definitely homemade, but pretty tart.
Petit Fours Chocolate Ganache with salted caramel and bourbon seemed like decadent, super chocolaty hold overs from the Michael Mina days. In 2012 they switched to Chocolate covered caramels.
Service was very good, with the friendly and knowledgeable black uniformed server, although it tailed off during the night. No worries about refills, napkin folding, or having questions answered. We have no problems recommending Bourbon Steak, as the food and service was excellent, definitely one of the best steak places in the City. Prices are extremely high making this a special occasion venue or business meal destination.
20% gratuity on parties 5+. Extensive and expensive 74 page wine list with glasses of wine from $8, half bottles from $25, bottles from $30. State of the art cocktail list.