Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eating Through San Fran - I

Downtown San Francisco is an ideal place for the travelling foodie. I have been returning here every month during the past two years, but have yet to run out of interesting new places to try.  This time was no different.

Town Hall in San Francisco

Town Hall is a delightful place for an  extraordinary dinner if you don't mind the high decibel levels. This interesting restaurant in the middle of San Francisco's SoMa district comfortably blends the new and the old in a large converted warehouse with dark wooden floors, exposed brick walls and contemporary art.   Owner chefs Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal have put together sophisticated American fare with a New Orleans flair and succeeded rather well.

Town Hall in SF

I began with a starter of Tuna Tartare served with fried green tomatoes, garlic chips, tabasco green onion vinaigrette.  The flavours and textures worked extraordinarily well!

Tuna Tartare in Town Hall SF

I decided to go with the Sea Bass entree:  Black sea-bass "pepper pot" with dirty rice, and spicy peanuts.  I also ordered some warm jalapeƱo cornbread on the side.  This was another delightful dish - robust and full of flavours which reminded me of the great time I had during my trip to New Orleans a few years back.

Black Sea Bass in Town Hall SF

I was quite full by now, but how could I leave without trying their highly regarded Butterscotch and Chocolate pot de creme?  The dessert was rich and delicious and totally worth the wait; an excellent end to a wonderful dinner!

Pot de Creme at Town Hall SF

Be warned this restaurant can be really noisy.  Great when you are alone, but not so much when you are trying to have a conversation across the table!  Also, sophisticated New Orleans dining may seem like an oxymoron.  New Orleans food is known for its down-to-earth, robust flavours in more casual settings, but the overall experience here was very good for me.   I will be definitely back here and for the food alone!

Town Hall SF

The second new place I ate at recently was Hog Island Oyster Co., at the Ferry Building.  I frequently walk over to the ferry building when I am here during weekends.  There is a Sunday morning farmers' market held here every week and you can see organic vegetables, honey, artisan cheeses and many other interesting things dear to a foodie.  There are some great restaurants here too - I love Slanted Door and La Mar.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Hog Island Oyster Co., is known for its oysters and fresh sea-food in a casual small setting looking out over the waterfront.  The long lines that form here has always deterred me. However, this day I had made up my mind to get in no matter how long the wait.  About 20 minutes of waiting and I was seated at the bar.

Hog Island Oyster Co.

I ordered the Oyster Bar Mix which had a selection from the Californian coast, the Northwest, and also from the Atlantic coast.  It was fun watching them shuck the oysters right in front of me and then tasting the different briny flavours from different seas.

Hog Island Oyster Co. SF

I followed with a Whole Maine Lobster that was roasted in garlic butter.  As you can imagine, this was a great meal.  The service here stood out too!

Whole Maine Lobster

I love the small boutique shops in the ferry building which sell everything from jams, mushrooms and cured meats from small, family-run farms.  I got myself fresh pine nuts and packets of dried morel and shitake mushrooms to take back home.

Ferry Building SF

No comments: