All lowercase lettering. Sandblasted brick walls. Exposed steel mezzanine. High ceilings. You know this SF restaurant.
Ok, you probably don’t; it sounds like lots of others. For which we can all be thankful: there are lots of chic, modern, schmancy, yummy restaurants in SF, yeay! Love this city. Moving on.
Salt House (or salt house — upper case is so 2009) is another restaurant serving classy American fare with their own special spin. A summary of my experience:
- Get a reservation. This place is full every night. And I’m pretty sure they’re the type of place to scoff at you if you arrive sans reservation. I had a reservation: I felt so special!
- There is not one menu item that is both non-dairy and meat-free. My lactose intolerant friend and I were forced to not share. No big.
- Even though we didn’t make a big deal out of the fact that we had to order separately (after asking lots of dairy- and meat-related questions), our waitress kinda seemed like she didn’t like us. Or maybe like she was just kinda better than we were. Or maybe I was reading that totally wrong. But there was definitely something there.
- They give you Acme bread and butter after you order. It’s like manna from god.
- We had to wait an inordinate amount of time for our food. The company was good, so it wasn’t a huge problem, but it was noticeable.
- The food was, not surprisingly, really, really good.
Kyla ordered an appetizer for her dinner: poached organic egg with spring peas, serrano ham, morel mushrooms, and foie gras. It sounds like a super weird combo, but she said it was amazing.
I ordered the yellow polenta with morel mushrooms, artichoke, fava beans, and grana padano. Which is apparently a cheese, I just looked it up. Who knew?
The polenta (did you know polenta is the same as grits?!!) was very good, but I make cheesy grits at home that are quite honestly just as good. The spring vegetables were FABULOUS. I had no idea what to expect from the description of the dish, but the mixture of veggies was simple and really, really good.
For dessert we chose something wholly cryptic (in my opinion); I did not know that I should expect a home made Whatchamacallit candy bar. That’s essentially what it was — a layer of peanut buttery goodness, a layer of crunchy bready something, a layer of chocolate ganache, and a more solid chocolate layer on top. We got the chocolate gelato on the side (lactose and all that — I enjoyed it alone). The entire dish was unexpectedly delish. I would both recommend it and order it again. and I would re-read the description to see if it actually makes any sense to me now.
Overall, Salt House was a bit schmancy for me, but the food was very good and it’s right downtown (ok, fine, in SOMA — barely). And they have a bar for the fancy FiDi after-workers to enjoy their la-dee-da cocktails. And I do appreciate that they have a “bad press” link on their site that lists bloggers’ and yelpers’ ridiculous reviews of their restaurant. At least someone’s got a sense of humor.