Inside La Société, SoMa’s new French bistro supported by a team of Mina Group alumni
Starting this week, there’s a new spot for San Franciscans to dive headfirst into a steaming bowl of mussels and fries accompanied by a glass of tangy white wine or dunk into a hot bowl of lemon soup. French onion, tucked under a cheese blanket set alight to a crisp. New French restaurant La Société will begin serving dinner on Tuesday, August 16 with plans to add lunch service down the line. The restaurant, tucked into the corner of the lobby of the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown Soma, is the first San Francisco opening of TableOne Hospitality, the derivative catering group led by Patric Yumul, co-founder and former president of Mina Group.
TableOne executive vice president, Culinary, David Varley, said The Society’s home inside a huge hotel shouldn’t define the restaurant. “We are not a hotel restaurant,” insists Varley. “We are a restaurant located in a hotel. We are a restaurant in San Francisco and the only way this will work is if the community embraces it. In the kitchen, globe-trotting executive chef Alexandre Viriot plans to draw on an arsenal of accumulated experience cooking everywhere, from France to Las Vegas, where we worked for star French chefs Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon, to in Macao and Saint Petersburg, where he worked. for Alain Ducasse.
For its first job since returning to the United States, Viriot offers a list of bistro and brasserie classics designed to transport diners to the winding cobbled streets of Montmartre or a sunny seaside on the French Riviera – c is to say if either location has benefited from the unparalleled amount of ingredients found here in the Bay Area. For example, Duck à l’Orange features Sonoma County’s own Liberty Birds nestled with chubby Thumbelina carrots and grilled summer chicory, while Pork Pie comes with Jimmy Nardello peppers and mustard. from Dijon. Viriot says he’s particularly enthusiastic about the Salt Spring mussels — they’re “almost too big for the shell,” he faints — that the restaurant drives down from Vancouver and arrives at the table flavored with saffron and absinthe. .
There are some unique San Francisco touches on the menu. The most obvious comes in the form of puffy gougères, which sport the beloved cracked crust of crispy Dutch bread. The restaurant’s French onion soup also leans more towards silic rather than Loire Valley, arriving with a side bone, halved to showcase the roasted marrow buried under the tail tail stew. beef. (Viriot also plans to offer a meatless onion soup for all vegetarian diners).
Drinks also cross the Atlantic with a mix of sparkling, red and white wines from California and France. TableOne beverage director Phil Collins (not this Phil Collins) says he wanted to extract some of the unique varietals that are often mixed in blends, so you’ll find bottles of Roussanne and Petit Verdot from France blended with Pinot Noir from Russian River and Chardonnay from Napa Valley. As for the cocktails, Collins says he aims to “reshape the wheel” rather than reinvent it, so expect riffs on classics like Last Word and Sazerac. Le Fin plays on the classic gin-chartreuse swapping herbaceous agricultural rum and pear brandy. The house martini, meanwhile, blends California-made St. George citrus gin with a trio of French ingredients: Citadel GinPineau de Charentes and Suze.
The opening of The Society is just the beginning of the work TableOne Hospitality plans to do in the Bay Area, Varley teases. And as to why the hotel group broke away from the Mina mothership, Varley explains that management hoped to create more growth opportunities for long-time Mina Group players like him (Varley worked with Mina for about a decade and a half). “In any organization there is always a need for upward mobility,” says Varley. Thanks to TableOne, there are more opportunities to take on new projects, whether it’s hotel restaurants like The Company or independent spaces like the recently opened the mother tongue in Los Angeles.
But even as La Société places a piece of L’Hexagone between Mission and Market, Varley and Viriot hope the restaurant will remain accessible to diners of all types. “We want to aim for the center of the center of the target,” explains Viriot.
From Tuesday, August 16 The Company, (50 Third Street in San Francisco) will offer first-come, first-served seating in the bar and lounge only from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with full dinner service in the dining room beginning 6 september. Reservations are available on Company website. The bar is open daily from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. For updates, check the Company’s website and instagram.