Salt House’s sister restaurant, Town Hall, is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. So, my dining companion and I had high hopes.
The space is very industrial, much like Town Hall’s, except with dimmer more intimate lighting. Exposed brick walls and high ceilings make up the interior decor. And little touches like the skull logo on their water jugs at every table, make it known that the owners have a sense of humor. The vibe here is social, lively, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Doey and I ordered the Poutine, one of the few dishes the Canadians can claim as their own. Salt House is known for this dish, and it was clearly the highlight of the evening for us. The thick crisp fries were covered in short rib gravy and melted fontina cheese. It was a heart attack on a plate and full of ooey gooey goodness. It was tasty, rich, and hearty. But surprisingly, it wasn’t…great.
Doey then had the Monkfish entree with mussels and a light broth. It was cooked well with a nice light brown sear on the fish and the mussels were perfect, even if they were a bit on the small side. But the dish was largely…well…boring. And the broth was way too salty. (I know, the irony wasn’t lost on us.)
I had the Roasted Chicken, which everyone raves about. It was good, juicy, but again, uninspired. The fingerling potato mash was also good, but again, too salty! The olives in the dish totally overpowered everything and made what could’ve been a tasty dish, way too strong. There was no depth in any of these entrees, no layering of flavors.
We also shared the Raspberry Poppyseed Cake with Mint Granita. The granita was refreshing and not too sweet. It was the best part of the dessert. The cake, however, resembled and tasted like a muffin. It was way too dense and lacked the moisture to be called a cake. A clear disappointment. Fortunately, though, the raspberry flavor was fresh and sweet. The only high note for this dessert.
Service was not terribly friendly or accomodating, but not notably bad, either. It was obvious though, that while we were lingering over our dinner and having a good long conversation, the staff was ready for us to vacate our table.
If you’re a fan of Town Hall, stay there. There’s no reason to stray, even if it is to their sister restaurant. It’s just not worth the trip.
Salt House – Mission St. btwn. 1st and 2nd Streets – San Francisco – 415.543.8900