How many people do you know who have a restaurant named after them? In celebration of the 5th anniversary of Michael Mina and the 1st anniversary of Clock Bar, Yelp's own Stephanie P and Nish N had the chance to sit down with the man himself and ask him about where he eats out, his love of seafood and of course, Yelp.
Nish: Any Bay Area chefs you're keeping an eye on?
Michael: Daniel Patterson (of Coi fame), is definitely a guy to watch and has a new project, Il Cane Rosso, that just opened. Ron Siegel does wonders at the Ritz; I appreciate his approach and execution (Mina hired him as a line cook way back when he was helping to launch Aqua!).
Stephanie: Where do you like to dine in the city?
Michael: Fleur de Lys is that magical special occasion place for my wife and I, while Zuni always reminds me just how good we have it in San Francisco. Otherwise, it really depends on my mood, but anything from Delfina and Quince to A16. We go to R&G Lounge as well, where the geoduck sashimi and crab have become a bit of a ritual for us.
Stephanie: If you had to pick one of your properties to dine at, which one would it be?
Michael: Definitely Michael Mina. I enjoy the room, the food, and the service. The location in the St. Francis was the space I had always wanted – you can really be a part of history there. Our new lounge menu makes it more accessible if you're not in for the full-on experience.
Nish: You're a big fish fan, are there any other seafood restaurants you love?
Michael: I particularly like the way the Japanese work with fish. Hana is one of my favorites.The chef, Ken Tominaga, just knows his fish and turns me on to product all the time – I keep telling him, 'You've gotta come to the city!'
Nish: We're trying to become regulars at your Clock Bar, what's your go-to cocktail there? *Editor's note: Nish has become a fan of the humuhumunukuapua'a.
Michael: The Chartreuse Swizzle. The service and drinks aim to make it a real barmen's bar, and I want this place to be around for hopefully 20-30 years.
Stephanie: What's your take on this little thing called Yelp?
Michael: Actually with RN74,
we quickly reacted to patterns we saw in reviews about portion size in
the first week. It's fantastic to see how much interest there is in
food and restaurants out there, and I'm the kind of person that will sit at the computer and read all the yelps. We're in the business, after all, of giving people what they want.