Monday, January 16, 2012

Wayfare Tavern - Review

Wayfare Tavern - Dude Grade: C+
558 Sacramento St, San Francisco 94111
Btwn Montgomery & Leidsdorff St
Phone: (415) 772-9060

During our short stay in San Francisco, we wanted to stop by the Wayfare Tavern - Tyler Florence's joint in the financial district. I'm a fan of his original Tyler Ultimate shows where he travels around the world trying to find the ultimate version of a dish. Also, I was searching around the internet and there seemed to be a positive buzz about this place. My only concern was after going to the lights out "Fremont Diner" this place wouldn't match up. I was 100% spot on although they do similar American comfort food (Wayfare a lil fancier), Fremont Diner is on another level.

Our Menu
Popover *
Instead of bread they serve these fun popovers to start your meal. These had great flavor, but the texture wasn't as light and airy as I would expect - crunchy, but a little heavy and doughy. Still pretty fun though.

Monterey Bay Sardines **
roasted garlic, parsley butter, herb bread crumbs, lemon

These were awesome - sardines were so friggin flavorful and the topping perfectly complemented the flavor of the fishies. Pretty damn addicting and satisfying.

Organic Fried Chicken
buttermilk brine, roasted garlic, crisp woody herbs, lemon

I was looking forward to this the most and I recognized this from his tyler's ultimate show where he went to Cesare Casella's joint Beppe to have the lemon fried chicken. Unfortunately, this was a big swing and a miss for me. Fremont Diner hit the nail on the head hitting every criteria for the perfect fried chicken for me. Wayfare's has a soggy crust (egg based only I think) and the chicken is dry as well. The crust is fun with herbs and lemon, but still a pass for me. On a side note, it is pretty damn tasty cold in the morning.

Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop *
black pepper spaetzle, braised cabbage, spiced apple pulp, grained mustard cream

I love me some pork chop and this is decent. Spaetzle is solid and the combo of all the components are pretty fun. The one thing that seemed weird is the pork tasted like deli meat ham - not sure if this was due to the cure/brine, but that wasn't what I was looking for. More of a straight pork flavor. The Hudson House in Nyack, NY serves up what I consider the perfect pork chop.

Sticky Toffee Cake **
This was my favorite dish of the night. Moist toffee cake and delicious with the sweet dates. Even though I was relatively full after all that protein, we still killed this toffee cake since it was so damn delicious.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (C+) – Decent comfort food, but nothing to write home about. The drinks did kick ars though. The picture to the right is the stage coach (Rye, Amaro, Blood Orange Liqueur, Bitters.), a take on the manhattan but waaaay more delicious.
  • Service (B) – Server was friendly and offered up some good recommendations. They were on top of their game getting drinks filled right away. Food came out a very solid pace.
  • Atmosphere (B) – Felt like an old school upscale bar which I definitely dig. Place was absolutely mobbed for a Thursday at 5:45 - first floor is the bar area with the dining on the second floor. The place looked like a combo of half tourists (prolly due to Tyler) and half financial district groups. It is pretty dark though.
  • Price (C) – Not terrible. $22 for the fried chicken and $29 for the pork chop. However, the food isn't that great for the price.
Closing Comments
I wanted to like this place, but there's gotta be a ton of other places that do this style of food better.

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