Ok, back in the swing (let’s hope).
Last night we tried out Epic Roasthouse, one of a pair of new restaurants on the Embarcadero in San Francisco from Pat Kuleto. Epic is the “meat” restaurant and is led by Jan Birnbaum. Waterbar, the seafood part of the pair, is next door and is on our calendar for a few weeks from now.
It’s just 3 weeks old, and they’re still breaking themselves in so bear that in mind.
As you might expect in a Pat Kuleto restaurant, it is stunning. Great view of the Bay Bridge, all lit up. Great interior. Love the giant wheel for the “pump” in the middle of the restaurant.
Prices are up there, but not crazily so. At least for the most part. The notion of $8 for water that they blow CO2 into is a little extreme. Oh and for the refill, that’s another $8. And it isn’t the biggest contributor to the bill (by a long shot). It just feels annoying. The flip side of the pricing issue is that there’s a section of the wine list called City Wine Values (or something like it) with interesting and non-loftily priced bottles.
Service was pretty good. They were a little confused on the bread, but we might have had a hand in that. One thing for sure: if you’re going to serve a little cheese puff, it had better be hot. They would have been great. But cold?
The food was a solid B. First courses were actually quite good. The “Wedge of Bib Lettuce with Scallion Vinaigrette, Tangerines and Humboldt Fog Cheese” was delicious and beautifully presented. And I loved that the wedge wasn’t what the wedge usually is. And the “Wood Oven Roasted Chili Squid Salad with White Beans, Olives, Tomato Confit” had great flavors. Tender squid. Nice textural contrast from the frisse. But, and this is a big but, some of those white beans weren’t cooked all the way through. Hard, starchy bean? At this level of play? In the words of Amy Winehouse, “No, no, no.”
For main courses we had the NY Strip and the duck. Unlike the beans, they were both cooked adroitly. But they were both a little bland. Tasted the salt and the very nice meat, but not much else. After bolder flavors in the first courses, this was a little surprising.
Rocky Road Sundae and Cookie plate for dessert were good. The Mexican Wedding Cookie was the standout of the bunch. The almond milk accompaniment didn’t add much.
I sound unhappier that I was, so please adjust your set for playback. It wasn’t bad. But it isn’t quite there yet either.
See you soon. (?)