San Francisco's most exclusive cooking store has no storefront, window display or street sign. It hides on the fifth floor of a small commercial building near the busy Union square. In the elevator, the “5” button is disabled, a discreet sign asks visitors to call to be escorted to the store. There’s nothing obvious about it, its inconspicuous entrance is the opposite of your typical culinary store. But inside, the small showroom makes Williams-Sonoma look like Wal-Mart.
The minimalist room resembles a museum gallery more than a retail space. Kitchen design objects, rare ingredients and chef must-haves, all displayed in glass cases, with all the pomp and circumstance. If you've ever been to Moss in NY, you know the feeling. Mere squirt bottles are showcased like works of art. No hanging price tags.
Despite the small space, the selection is impressive. Endless spices organized in shallow acrylic boxes, piled up on pristine white shelves. Exclusive flatware from elBulli. Molecular gastronomy ingredients complete with Adrià’s coveted tools. All carefully curated and neatly displayed. Le Sanctuaire is an epicure’s museum. But one you can taste and buy from. It doesn’t get better than that.
Le Sanctuaire is at 315 Sutter Street, 5th Floor
Online shopping is also available