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Celebrity chef Michael Mina, a 23-year 49ers season ticket holder, has his own playground at Levi's Stadium and if you are appreciative of mouth-watering food you should visit it.
Bourbon Steak & Pub at Levi's Stadium, which will be open to the public as of tomorrow (August 11th), is not your typical stadium restaurant and I say that with conviction because Mina himself says his newest addition to his line of restaurants has his favorite kitchen of them all. A massive, 14,490 square foot location on the ground floor of the stadium (near Gate F), the restaurant is divided into three different sections: Bourbon Steak has a 90-seat section offering the fine-dining experience that you can find at Mina's Bourbon Steak restaurants in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Miami, and Washington D.C. Next to it separated by a short hallway is Bourbon Pub, which combines a farm-to-table cuisine with an outstanding pub experience, highlighted by a seemingly endless display of HD televisions, open view of a state-of-the-art kitchen, and over 50 craft beers. Finally there is the Tailgate section where Mina will host the tailgate parties he has been having for the last two decades in an exclusive experience only available to fellow season ticket holders.
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Along a handful of other reporters I had the opportunity to attend a Media Tasting at Bourbon Steak & Pub this past Thursday and I came away impressed not only with the diversity of the restaurant but also with Mina's passion and excitement for his newest location. The award-winning chef provided us with a tour of the facilities in which he highlighted that the expansive kitchen will allow his guests to attend a true sports bar where they will not need to sacrifice food taste. In fact, Mina plans to change some of the menu every day except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays allow him to serve the many different items still spinning in his head due to all the options that the restaurant's kitchen allows him to have. For example, a 13-foot tall, fully rotating rotisserie allows this kitchen to cook different meats in it at the same time. The sizable kitchen will come in handy on game days when Mina hosts his tailgate in an area of the restaurant that fits 200 people seating or 400 standing. Those in attendance will enjoy an exclusive and exquisite menu, including cocktails, inspired by the game of the day. The menu, which will change depending on the visiting opponent, will also include dishes themed to the visiting team. We asked specifically what the plans are for the visit by the Seattle Seahawks to which Mina promptly noted that is a Thanksgiving game and a such as Thanksgiving meal is in the works. However, he says he has something special for that game as well, "There will be about 200 birds hanging by the neck".
We had an opportunity to taste different menu items from both Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub including The Nachos, which I'm sure will become a favorite item right away. It is served as six layers of fried tortillas, each nicely coated with borracho beans, charred corn salsa, and slight touches of guacamole and sour cream, topped by a sunny side egg. The server promptly shows up at your table with large blade and slices the tower of tortillas into four resulting in the familiar look of nachos. It didn't hit me until a day later that this is a vegetarian item but it didn't matter to this meat lover because each bite was heavenly. Maine Lobster Fritter (from Bourbon Steak) and Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs completed the appetizer course, each item leaving you wanting for more. We then were served three different items from the Pub's burger menu: The Gold Rush Burger, the Superior Farms Lamb Burger, and the Smokin' Double Barrel Wagyu Dog. The Gold Rush Burger is arguably the best cheeseburger I have ever tasted, perhaps because of the Wagyu beef. Each item is accompanied by a side of perfectly made french fries. While feasting on all of this I realized Mina was not lying when he had said earlier that coming to this Pub would mean that no sacrifice would be made by coming here - I was eating delicious food while having the Ravens-49ers game at my availability everywhere that I looked. As if that hadn't been enough, Bourbon Steak brought over a couple of 18 oz Dry Aged Bone In Rib Eye, 10 oz Tajima Skirt Steaks, and sizable portions of Kagoshima Rib Eye that had me begin for mercy. By the time that about six different desserts were brought to our table I seriously considered sleeping over on the sidewalk somewhere in Santa Clara because walking to my car just didn't seem possible. The service by every employee made the experience even better from beginning to end.
All in all, Bourbon Steak & Pub is a must visit regardless of whether you are a season ticket holder. They are open year long and I look forward to going back on game day to experience the atmosphere first hand. As usual when it comes to Mina's restaurants make sure not to bring a light wallet. Nevertheless, as I like to say there is expensive and there is overpriced. Believe me: there is nothing overpriced about the experience at Bourbon Steak & Pub.
For more information about The Tailgate visit www.michaelminastailgate.com