Monday, November 22, 2010

Good Eats SF: Wayfare Tavern

Continuing my unofficial series of "I Left My Stomach in San Francisco"...
After a full lunch at Redd and an afternoon of outlet shopping, we headed back to the city for dinner at Tyler Florence's new restaurant Wayfare Tavern. (Note, we didn't originally plan to jam pack the day of eats like this but it just happened)

We were greeted by a well-dressed energetic after work crowd in an American tavern atmosphere. The bartenders were dressed in white waiter jackets and black ties, the decor included deer heads and warm wooden bars. Arriving 30 minutes before our reservation, we got drinks from the bar which were served promptly.
There is an upstairs and downstairs seating area. We sat in a booth close to the bar. Downstairs is decorated in the tavern theme with a fireplace and a couple of mounted deer heads. Also downstairs is the open kitchen and you may even see Tyler standing the heat back there.

Before I get to the food, I have to be honest about our experience. Our wait for our reservation and interaction with the hostess/manager put us on bad footing for the rest of our meal. While the manager was apologetic, he didn't offer to comp our drinks or appetizers while we waited 45 minutes until we were seated. Bummer, dude.

We ordered 3 starters and 4 main courses between a group of 4.
  • Devils on Horseback. California dates wrapped in smoked bacon, fennel garlic purée. raisin caper salsa verde
  • Tomales Bay Mussels. Salt pork chowder, celery, fennel, sweet potato, thyme & smoked chili oil
  • Baked Macaroni & Cheese. Jack cheese, garlic breadcrumbs, chive & smoked olive oil
  • Hangtown Fry. A dying man’s last meal: fluffy Petaluma eggs, crispy oysters, smoked bacon, Jack cheese, Sausalito watercress & potato hash
  • Grilled Hawaiin Tuna. Roasted cauliflower, Mission figs, crushed 2010 McEvoy olives, smoked chili oil, arugula
  • Grilled Santa Maria Tri-tip Steak. Slow roasted heirloom onions, truffle butter, crisp Kennebec potatoes
  • Braised Beef Short Ribs. Potato purée, black pepper crème fraîche, Bosc pear, truffle, celery
They started us with popovers which were tasty and a pleasant break from your usual loaf bread. Crispy on the outside and softer on the inside but not too eggy. They had a plain and a Parmesan one which I was lucky to score on my second round (could have had thirds but didn't want to embarrass myself).

Of the starters, the group fave was the baked mac & cheese (under side dishes)! How can you go wrong with baked cheesey goodness anyway? The mussels were very fresh with a flavorful pork chowder broth. The dates were tasty with the bacon but nothing mind blowing.

The mains were all decent but no clear winners. The Hangtown Fry was the most unique dish with oyster cooked into the fried egg. The braised short rib was seasoned well (maybe a touch salty) and I really liked the mashed potatoes with truffle slices on top. We had plenty of leftovers which we picked up at the hostess with a coat check tag (rather than them bringing the bag back to the table).

We were too full (again) for dessert but they left us with chewy ginger cookies (see first set of pics) with the check which I thoroughly enjoyed. It had a crisp outside, chewy inside, and spicy.

Still some kinks to work out but if you're looking for a good after-work drinks place with tavern eats, check out Wayfare Tavern. You  might even see Tyler lurking around the kitchen.

558 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94111


lavenderpug said...

looks like a really good meal, but that's too bad about the long wait! poo.

BigAppleNosh said...

Sounds really yummy - I love bacon-wrapped things and mac and cheese! Bummer about the poor-ish service; I would have expected better from a Tyler Florence place.

Anonymous said...

The food looks delicious. I'm so sorry about the wait. We had a similar experience while dining out and it really does put a damper on the whole thing.

Try Anything Once Terri said...

Looks like a fabulous meal; however I do agree that sometimes bad service can ruin an otherwise pleasant dining experience. I'll definitely have to keep this on my radar if I go to SF again soon.

Jessica said...

Holy moly, that place is gorgeous and the food looks amazing!

I'm sorry you had to wait, that stinks. Can't believe they didn't comp ANYTHING. Bad business. :(