June 20, 2010
Waterbar for the View & Crisp Soft Shell CrabsAt a luncheon last week at the Waterbar, I sampled a range of appetizer, main course and dessert options from a limited menu. For those not familiar with Waterbar, the restaurant is located along San Francisco's Embarcadero and has an oyster and shellfish bar in a wide open, brightly lit space as you enter the main door. There's also a patio when the weather calls for it with umbrellas to shield out the sun that can be blinding at certain times of day.
Despite the fact that they tout free and reliable wifi, it didn't work two consecutive days despite a modem refresh. That said, the view made up for their technical glitches, as we had a close up of the Bay Bridge from our stunning window view.
In addition to shellfish, they are known for their topneck clam chowder, served with potato, artisan bacon and parsley, although I went for the Hearts of Romaine with kalamta olives, ricotta slata, and the baby artichoke salad served with fava beans, sweet peas and grana padano. Others had the cornmeal crusted smelts with endive, radish and green goddess.
The crisp soft shell crabs with roasted corn relish, avocado and lime were by far my favorite. From Crisfield, Maryland, the crab -- inside and out -- was tender and moist; the relish didn't overpower its natural flavor.
Below is the Waterbar chef's presentation of the Alaskan Halibut with roasted beets, sugar snap peas and orange and the Whitefish with broccoli rabe and roasted cherry tomato vinaigrette. The presentation of both were stunning enough to make you want to dive into both, however the whitefish won hands down. The richness of the halibut needed something sharp to balance it out and the roasted beets just didn't seem to be the right accompaniment. Others agreed.
Desserts included a black and white ice cream cake served with creme fraiche and bananas, strawberry rhubarb crumble, chocolate pudding cake and vanilla pound cake with strawberries vanilla chantilly.
I connected with some great local foodies and fashionistas, including Doug Levy from Wine and Food World, Jane Maynard with This Week for Dinner, Lisa Dion over at Frisco Mama, Alana Gentry (Girl with a Glass), Laura Del Rosso, Lily Ko with SF Station, Patricia Sharpley with Brownies for Dinner, Mai Le with Fashionist, Stafania Pomponi Butler, Liren Baker from Kitchen Confidante and others. More from them and on food and wine to come.
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