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How San Francisco’s Michelin 3-Starred Quince Reinvented Itself for Modern Fine Dining

Michael and Lindsay Tusk have been somewhat tight-lipped about what their reimagined Quince will be like. But on Tuesday evening, the public will finally get a taste of what they’ve been cooking up.

The Michelin three-star restaurant, closed temporarily since January, is making its debut tonight, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The space will be smaller than it was previously, with only 40 seats, but the food and the atmosphere will be more expansive than ever. Previously just a tasting-menu restaurant, Quince will still have that option ($270 for four courses and $360 for 10) but it will also serve a la carte dishes in the bar and lounge spaces, plus lunch starting next year.

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“We feel reinvigorated and a little bit freer and looser,” Lindsay told the Chronicle, “maybe not holding on to what is so expected of a three-star Michelin restaurant. It’s much more personal. I think we’re going to have a lot more fun.”

Tomales Bay golden nugget oyster, pomegranate, Monterey seaweed
Tomales Bay golden nugget oyster, pomegranate, Monterey seaweed

Details about the menu are still scarce, but it will focus on local meat and seafood, and produce from the restaurant’s partner farm, Fresh Run Farm, in Bolinas. Dishes will be lighter and more forward-looking than those previously served, Michael told the San Francisco Chronicle, and might include spiny lobsters, squab grown for Quince in Sonoma, and porcini mushrooms that the staff has been preserving. He and his team will emphasize freshness, with oysters served the same day they’re harvested from the water and carrots plated just hours after being pulled from the soil.

The design, meanwhile, is vastly different from Quince’s prior incarnation. Walking in, guests will pass through a plant-filled courtyard, and the entire front of the restaurant has been replaced with French doors that open out onto the city. The dining room has been brightened up with California and French oak, as well as vintage furniture that the Tusks have brought home from their travels throughout Europe. It’s a more welcoming and warm environment, meant to draw people in as much as the aromas coming from the kitchen.

The original Quince “was quite dark and a little bit austere,” Lindsay said. “We thought if we’re going to continue to operate Quince for the next 20 years, and that is what we hope that we can do, we want to be in a light-filled, joyous space.”

Winter vegetable “bollito misto,” di verdure
Winter vegetable “bollito misto,” di verdure

Despite talk that San Francisco is no longer what it once was, the Tusks are doubling down on the city with the reopening. Alongside their fine-dining operation, they also run the more casual Italian restaurant Cotogna, the private-dining Officina, and the natural wine bar Verjus, which is set to reopen next year. In the spring, they’ll launch a gelato shop, with flavors that also incorporate ingredients from Fresh Run Farm.

“We’re looking forward to the other side of San Francisco being what it was and what it can be,” Michael said. “By doing this, I hope it will inspire others to stay put.”

More than trying to retain their Michelin-three-star rating, the Tusks want Quince—and all of their offerings—to be a welcoming, accessible addition to San Francisco’s culinary landscape.

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