In Situ Is 'The Most Original New Restaurant In The Country' Says NYT Food Critic Pete Wells

Chef Corey Lee of SFMOMA’s In Situ has a lot to live up to and now with even higher praise from NYT food critic Pete Wells, he is upping the ante with his “art on a plate”-type style.

“By avoiding originality, In Situ is the most original new restaurant in the country,” Pete Wells writes in his lavish review of SFMOMA’s In Situ in the New York Times, Wells has been praised and criticised for his harsh and eye-opening reviews of many of America’s fabulous eateries, “the easiest way to understand this restaurant is an art installation” he gathers from his latest trip to the restaurant on the first floor.

As was revealed last fall, the three-Michelin-starred Lee’s ambitious concept is focused on recreating dishes from participating chefs rather than concocting new ones. With two other projects (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin) to his name, Lee has space to experiment with his own ideas.

“Two points about this lunch struck me,” Wells observed during his recent visit. “First, everything was delicious. Second, the flavors veered wildly different from dish to dish — they were, so to speak, all over the map — and it didn’t matter.” Surely Lee is reading that remark very happily somewhere: He’s said in the past that he doesn’t mind if a dining experience doesn’t flow completely at In Situ. “We’re not trying to offer it as a restaurant experience,” Lee said, “We’re hoping it’s a fun and engaging cultural experience in the SFMOMA.”

With the copious amount of famous chefs sprawled across the United States, Wells has full confidence in Lee’s ability to present and deliver, “There are more famous chefs in the United States, but few whose technical mastery is as deeply respected in the business. “I couldn’t have more faith in anyone than Corey Lee, in terms of execution,” the chef Wylie Dufresne said.“

// Read the rest of Wells’ review on the New York Times’ website. It’s a literary thrill.


Written by Anthony Rogers, photos sourced from In Situ and EATER SF, quotes sourced from Pete Wells — Get more foodie news to your inbox weekly. You know you need it. Still hungry? Chow down on our Bay Bites Guide 2016.

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