Chef Robin Song and Liam

Chef Robin Song and Liam (Photo credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)

Foodie Chap Visits 'Gibson' Inside The Hotel Bijou San Francisco

with Executive Chef Robin Song

Liam Mayclem
April 17, 2018 - 12:22 pm

(KCBS RADIO) - Executive Chef Robin Song is at the helm of Gibson, a contemporary American restaurant located in the Hotel Bijou whose menu is driven by live fire and the seasonal bounty of Northern California. A Los Angeles native, Chef Song is an award-winning chef who has honed his skills over the past 20 years in some of Northern California's most celebrated restaurants. With the launch of Gibson, Chef Song aims to bring a vibrant and approachable dining experience to San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. 
Chef Song's introduction to the culinary industry began with a kitchen job he took while studying media arts. It was there he discovered his passion for the structure and rigor of the restaurant world and the creativity of cooking. He began his career at Bay Wolf in Oakland under the tutelage of Nathan Peterson and Louis LeGassic, where he learned the art of whole animal butchery and the importance of food history. Since then, Chef Song has worked in esteemed kitchens including Plum, Ame, Central Kitchen, Relae in Copenhagen and Belgium's In de Wulf.

Most recently, Song served as chef de cuisine at Mission District favorite Hog & Rocks, where he earned the honor of being name of the San Francisco Chronicle's “Rising Star Chefs.” Aiming to explore his ethnic heritage through cooking, he also established a successful weekly late-night Korean pop-up called Junju, which was influenced by traditional Koren barbecue and the seasonality of California cuisine.

Chef Robin Song

A commitment to local purveyors, utilizing ingredients available in the Bay Area and cooking with live fire had become mainstays for Chef Song's cuisine, but he was continually looking for a way to bring back the elegance of fine dining without the pretention of the traditional experience. When Chef Song was approached about Gibson, he knew it was the perfect location to give guests an incredible experience at a value that is almost unheard of in the Bay Area. Chef Song is excited to bring the fun back to fine dining while highlighting the seasonality of Northern California and introducing a new dining experience to San Francisco.

We met at Gibson recently for our Foodie Chap chat. Chef Song shares a delish recipe: “Cod & Spring Vegetables” (see below).

Enjoy our tasty talk and add “Gibson” to your dining out list. The glitzy Art Deco design befitting the Tenderloin location on Mason Street in San Francisco with happening bar coupled with thoughtful, seasonal cusine does not disappoint.

Cheers, Liam!

Chef Robin Song's Cod & Spring Vegetables

Chef Robin Song's Cod & Spring Vegetables
Serves 4


  • 4ea 6oz portions black cod
  • 1 ea cod bones
  • 1oz kombu
  • 1ea onion sliced
  • 1ea fennel sliced
  • 1ea bay leaf
  • 1bu thyme
  • 1bu jumbo asparagus
  • 1bu baby turnip
  • 1bu spring onions
  • 16ea snap peas
  • 1# english pea
  • 4T EVOO
  • Arugula
  • Fava greens
  • Pea greens
  • Sorrel
  • 4 sprigs mint
  • Kosher salt

This dish is meant to be accommodating to whatever is at market. Do not feel restricted to just the vegetables and greens listed here. At the restaurant we add edible flower, viola, fava, pea, arugula, as well various greens and herbs. 

For the Fish Stock:

  • Soak cod bones in ice water over night to purge out residual blood. This will create a cleaner broth. Rinse bones and place in a pot with onions, fennel, aby and half bunch of thyme, reserve other half for later use. If you purchased the whole fennel reserve the fronds for later use.
  • Cover with water and bring to a slow simmer. Once up add kombu. Do not let the stock boil, you want a very gentle simmer, I like to see 1 bubble at a time. Simmer for a minimum of 1 hr., up to 6. This can be started up to 3 days before. Strain and cool. Reserve for later use.

Cured Black Cod:

  • The night before or that morning, liberally salt the cod top and bottom, and start a 10 minute timer. At the restaurant we use 10% of the fishes weight in salt. This is just enough to cover all parts of the fish. After 10 minutes rinse under cold water and pat dry on paper towels.
  • Veggies and Green Juice.
  • De-string snap peas and English peas. Reserve the snap peas for later. Shuck the English peas and reserve the shells and peas for later use. Trim the bottom, stringy portion of the asparagus and peel away the tougher lower third with a vegetable peeler. If using smaller asparagus, no need to peel. Reserve the trim and cleaned asparagus for later. 
  • Trim the greens off the turnips and spring onions reserving both the greens and the roots separately. Take the English pea pods, string removed, asparagus trimmings, turnip greens, and spring onion greens and juice through a vegetable juicer if available. Reserve green juice for later use.

At this point you should have..

4 portions cured black cod
Clear fish stock
Green juice
Cleaned vegetables
Herbs and greens of the season 

Gibson being a live fire restaurant we cook this over the grill, it can easily be cooked in a sauté pan, but I really enjoy the smokiness of the fire. Even if you have a gas grill out back this would benefit from that. If on the grill just place everything over the fire. Start with the cod, skin side down, and place the asparagus, spring onions, turnips, snap peas, on the grill, plain no salt or oil. Roll the vegetables around to obtain a nice char around the vegetables. Remove and wait for fish to cook through.
For a sauté pan, heat pan to a med high than add a small amount of oil and place fish skin side down. For both the grill and pan do not mess with the fish once down on the heat. You want to cook 70% of the fish skin side down, it will assure a crispy skin. Flip in the last minute, if you'd like, you can add a nice knob of butter before the flip, it will also help with removing the fish from the pan if it did stick. 
To finish this in a sauté pan, when the fish is cooked through, remove and reserve. Cut all the vegetables down to bite size and add to pan, sauté until tender. Than finish as below.
If you were using the grill, in a small saute pan add the raw English peas, some of the fish stock and gently warm the peas until tender. Cut the vegetables that you grill into small pieces and add to the pea and fish stock. Add in the green juice and EVOO. Gently warm. Mince remainder thyme and mint add into vegtetables.
Place fish in a shallow bowl and spoon vegetables and broth over the fish. Add a few springs of the fresh greens over the top and finish with some nice sea salt.

Gibson at Hotel Bijou
111 Mason Street
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 771-7709