Why It’s Worth Setting Your Reservation Now!
The restaurateurs behind the smash-hits that are Heirloom, Butterfish, and Mayd Modern are at it again, this time with a full-service dining restaurant at the new Row shopping center located on the northwest corner of Shepherd and Willow in northeast Fresno.
Saizon is described as “Mexico City meets Napa Valley” with cuisine that is considered “Contemporary American, with traditional Mexican Influences, and distinct California point of view.”
When I first learned about Saizon, I visited their website and saw that they were not accepting walk-ins, only reservations, and I had to book a reservation more than a month out in order to get a weekend evening spot – but I have to tell you, after finally going this past weekend – it was so worth the wait.
The modern yet inviting restaurant consists of five different service zones – the main dining area, the oyster bar, the bar, bar booth area, and my personal favorite, the patio. The patio is fully climate-controlled and designed to be comfortable year-round. As you enter, it’s bustling and noisy – the air is filled with delicious aromas and excited conversation. It doesn’t quite feel like any other place I’ve been to – it has more of a big city feel to it than most local restaurants do – the vibes are definitely inline with a restaurant I could picture in LA of New York.
When we arrived, our patio reservation was not quite ready yet, so we enjoyed a cocktail at the bar first. The bartenders were working hard and fast, but still very hospitable and willing to teach us about the menu and spirits we were unfamiliar with. In fact, they even gave us a couple of free drink samples to try as we chatted with them, which was super fun! The cocktail menu is tequila and mezcal heavy, given the restaurant’s cuisine – and there are a lot of varieties to choose from. They also have milk punch, which is a clarified milk infused with other fruit flavors – and though I had no clue what to expect, the sample I was given was incredibly tasty! There are many, many more drinks to choose from including other cocktails, wines, and frozen drinks.
Just beyond the main bar is the oyster/raw bar area. A quarter of the restaurant’s menu is devoted to seafood including an extensive raw selection of Mexican-inspired options like ceviches, aguachiles, and crudos. Sharing that side of the menu is a selection of veggie based-fare affectionately dubbed “Dirt Candy”.
When we got to our table near the west end of the patio, it began to rain – which actually made a lovely backdrop to our meal, as we dined fully protected from the elements, under heaters, but enjoying the light rain within view.
Saizon’s main menu consists of Mercado (market) selections that are similar to tapas or appetizer sized dishes including what ended up being my favorite dish of the night – a Wagyu Beef Bao-inspired tacos with crisped garlic. My husband loved his version of the Bao-inspired tacos, which were filled with Pork Belly Al Pastor and Pineapple Kimchi. We also tried the Heirloom Corn Churros from this section of the menu, which were savory and crispy. Definitely a fun dish we’d order again. For our main course, we ordered the Chicken Mole, which was also served with a cheddar cheese and pumpkin mole sauce. The chicken breast was roasted and incredibly tender.
We finished off our amazing meal with the 50/50 Mango dessert, which was out-of-this-world amazing, and though fully satisfying, not so filling that we totally regretted adding a dessert after such a great meal the way one sometimes might at a restaurant.
Service throughout the evening was very warm, kind, and attentive. At one point my husband moved our table slightly and another server ran over the ensure our table wasn’t wobbly, as he wanted to fix it if it was.
I’m really looking forward to returning to Saizon. As of the time I am writing this, reservations are booking out just under a month out (March 6th is the earliest date I saw), however, if you’re interested in going I’d recommend booking now – as come your date, you’ll be so glad you did!
Bravo to the entire Saizon team for bringing such a unique, fun, well-executed new dining experience to the Fresno-Clovis area! (P.S. Click here to visit Saizon’s Instagram and drool over more pictures of their amazing food.)
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