Michael Mina Returns To Middle Eastern Roots And Brings Back Test Kitchen

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Michael Mina is located on California Street
Michael Mina is located on California Street

Photo Credit: Mina Group

Michael Mina never slows down. The San Francisco-based chef, whose namesake restaurant group runs over 25 eateries across the globe, will debut an entirely new menu at his Financial District flagship. With a new Middle Eastern tasting menu that pays homage to his native Egypt, Mina is looking to his past for inspiration

Chef Michael Mina
Chef Michael Mina

Photo Credit: Mina Group

Fans of Mina will remember that the first concept of the Mina Test Kitchen—his experimental restaurant that tested out different culinary concepts—Middle’terranea, featured Middle Eastern cuisine. They will also know that Mina Michael, the restaurant, holds a special place in the chef’s heart. It’s here that Mina made a name for himself, decades ago, as the chef at Aqua.

A smoky eggplant dish
A smoky eggplant dish

Photo Credit: Jordan Wise

Today, Mina is shepherding the restaurant into its next life phase. “We’re taking Middle Eastern cuisine to new heights,” Mina said in a statement. “The new menu reflects my deep desire to bring the exotic flavors, ingredients and cooking preparations of the Middle East into the realm of fine dining–something I’ve yearned to do for decades. It’s an honor pairing the culinary traditions that defined by my childhood in Cairo with new techniques to present a dining experience elevated to the absolute highest level.”

Mango and foie gras
Mango and foie gras

Photo Credit: Jordan Wise

Mina worked with executive chef Raj Dixit to create the menu which features skewers, charcoal- and wood-fired dishes, and innovative vegetable presentations. Think grilled baby octopus with saffron potato, artichoke, and cardamon chug; glazed mango with foie gras and candied ginger; and asparagus and sesame with fava bean besara. The duo also collaborated with Lior Lev Sercarz, the owner of La Boîte, a New York-based spice shop, to craft proprietary spice blends like Za’tar with sesame, thyme, sumac, and oregano. Seafood places a prominent role in the menu with entrees featuring Maine lobster and Mediterranean sea bass. Everything on the menu, from the caviar service to the dessert list to the cocktails, will now have Middle Eastern flavors.

A breakfast sandwich at Diane's Bloody Mary Bar & Brunch
A breakfast sandwich at Diane’s Bloody Mary Bar & Brunch

Photo Credit: Kevin McCullough

In other Mina news, the Marina District Test Kitchen, which has been closed since January, will reopen its doors with a new concept on June 14. Diane’s Bloody Mary Bar & Brunch will highlight Diane Mina‘s, Michael’s wife, homestyle breakfast food. Every Thursday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. diners can enjoy a variety of Bloody Marys, breakfast toasts, pancakes, and more at the Greenwich Street hot spot. There aren’t too many upscale or boozy breakfast options in the neighborhood, so Diane’s Bloody Mary Bar will most certainly be a hit from the get-go.

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