Monthly Archives: August 2009

RN74, San Francisco

I went to eat twice recently to the new Michael Mina restaurant, RN74, that opened in the Millenium Tower in San Francisco.


RN74 is the name of the “national” road (RN stands for Route Nationale) in France that goes through Beaune to Dijon (it’s actually much longer than that) and get you through all the very famous villages like Nuit St Georges, Pommard, Gevrey-Chambertin etc… Basically, some of the best wines in the world (yes, and I say it very loud: I haven’t found a wine that can beat a good old French burgundy – what do you mean I’m biased?).

Naming a restaurant RN74 was smart, but it also comes with huge expectations. So let’s cut to the chase: that place is phenomenal. And here’s why:

  1. Great atmosphere, very nice bar area and restaurant area.
  2. Food was perfect.
  3. Amazing wine list.
  4. Reasonable price for this type of experience.

So let’s go more in the details. I usually like the old traditional French restaurant, where there is little noise, and lot of spaces between tables. RN74 is not really that. It wants to be trendy, so it’s clearly not this relaxing space at first, but very quickly, you actually immerse yourself in the decor and it works. I’m also a huge fan of the bar area. This place is great even for a quick “apero”!.

Now the food. Well, a couple of dishes really made a huge impression. First of all, the manilla clams with pork belly were from out of this world. I really wonder where they find their pork belly. On top of that, I believe they probably blanch it very quickly, and then fry it to make sure the outside is really crispy. The combination of pork/bacon with clams isn’t new, but this is a very nicely elaborated dish, that clearly leaves a big impression on anyone. I’ve also tasted the soft shell crab, and was very pleased. I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of that dish, so it’s not the one that will get me go through the roof, but it was really nice.


Like in many kitchens today, RN74 also offers dishes cooked “sous vide”. Chicken is often a great candidate for this, as it keeps it very moist and tender and you then just need to fry the skin. That was actually a big hit at RN74, and I would definitely go for this dish again. But the real winner was the Ribeye steak. For some reasons, I can still remember the taste of that dish, and it was the perfect combination to end a very good meal.

The wine list is quite something as well. Of course, as usual in those restaurants, there is the encyclopedia, with all those wines with amazing names, very high prices, which I will probably never order in a restaurant (but would love to taste!). They also have a smaller wine list, with bottles for less than $100. We’ve actually picked one of the cheapest one for around $37 and had a great wine (we’ve actually knew the wine before).

The overall price for the meal and the wine was very reasonable for the experience we’ve had. Of course, it’s not a place I could afford to go every week, but I’m already looking forward to going back there. It was really good, and RN74 is now in my top 5 in San Francisco.