San Francisco Chronicle – Justin Phillips
How much would you pay for a dinner built for Instagram?
Neon lights flutter around the pea soup and halibut during the five-course dinner service, giving two normally mundane-looking dishes the perfect lighting for an Instagram post. The same thing happens to the ginger-pear sorbet, its pale color awash in a shade of whimsical blue.
San Francisco diners love a good Instagrammable food moment.
It’s the reason people pay $40 per person for tickets to pseudo food exhibitions like Candytopia or the Museum of Ice Cream. With that said, what should a multicourse dinner that’s perfectly designed for Instagram — great lighting, photo-friendly backgrounds — actually cost in San Francisco?
If you’re dining at the city’s new pop-up, F.E.A.S.T., as in Fine (Dining), Entertainment, Art, Story and Technology, then you’re paying at least $160 for five courses and admission to 14 interactive art rooms, post-dinner. The price jumps to $225 if you go for the optional Champagne pairing. At that point, you’re paying similar tasting menu prices of Michelin-starred restaurants Californios and Lazy Bear.
But remember, you’ll also have those halibut shots.
The month-long pop-up began March 14 and ends April 13 at Onedome, the mid-Market interactive art space. The thrice-weekly event centers around a five-course dinner that includes carrot ensalada, filet mignon and ginger-pear sorbet prepared by local chef Nick Ronan of the Pawn Shop and Beso.
The dinner, which can accommodate up to 32 diners, is served on a high-tech and digitally interactive table, meaning it’s perpetually awash in various lights and designs during the dinner service. All of the images are based on the “tastes, colors, sounds, and sights of spring,” organizers say.
For many, F.E.A.S.T. might have touch of familiarity. In a city where people are routinely jumping into vats of sprinkles at the Museum of Ice Cream or flocking to places like Candytopia, it’s hard not to think of F.EA.S.T. as purposefully rooted at the newly formed intersection of food trends, art and Instagram culture.
The pop-up is a joint collaboration between Onedome and the team behind Pawn Shop, a swanky tapas bar that gained a lot of attention when it opened because of its pawn shop facade in a location near the corner of Mission and Sixth streets. The fake storefront comes complete with dust-covered DVDs, old music instruments and a clerk who greets people at the door. The bar spurred some interesting dialogue on social media.
After the dinner’s final course, the F.E.A.S.T. event continues. Guests have the option of walking through an attached labyrinth of high-concept art projects, including sprawling installations. From there, they can go for drinks in a lounge area or pop over to the nearby Monarch nightclub, which is run by the Pawn Shop crew. The cost of pop-up ticket also covers the admission fee to the nightclub.
Onedome came to prominence over the last six months following the October debut of its exhibit “The Unreal Garden.” The art space turned heads with its “augmented reality, projection mapping (and) soundscapes” in what it called a high-tech sculpture garden. There’s a similar pursuit happening with the food pop-up.
“With F.E.A.S.T, we have the opportunity to bring in the culinary arts as a layer to the immersive experience,” Onedome Senior Creative Producer Becca Dakini said via email.
With interactive technology constantly shaping dining experiences in San Francisco. F.E.A.S.T. may just be a harbinger of what’s next for the city. And after that? Only time will tell.
F.E.A.S.T at Onedome: Tickets are available for seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights until April 13; 1025 Market St.; https://onedome.global/tickets/feast/
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Katrina L. Jefferson | ONEDOME