besides chicago, san francisco is the other foodie haven that i seek out in trying new restaurants since i frequent california every couple of months to visit ryan in folsom. it is a two hour drive from folsom to one of my favorite US cities that that is spoiled for choice in terms of delectable cuisine (and of course fresh seafood) and just perfect weather most of the time.
my last trip to san francisco involved visiting two of food network celebrity chefs' restaurants - one of which was for lunch at chef tyler florence's wayfare tavern that features authentic american dishes inspired by local cuisine. i like tyler florence and his food network show: tyler's ultimate because of the feeling of simple cozy comfort his food seems to offer.. in fact, my favorite cheesecake is his ultimate cheesecake recipe which is totally a keeper. you can imagine how much i was looking forward to trip.
it took us a while to locate the place but when we found it, it instantly put a smile on my face and (embarrassingly so but) a hop in my step. we were a tad late for our reservation since we were caught in the crazy traffic driving towards san francisco but the friendly staff was accommodating when we called to push our reservation time about half hour later. just as the exterior suggests, the interior's decor reflected a modern yet vintage feel, painted in darker hues yet cozy but with tasteful accents of art pieces around the room. just exactly how i would imagine the restaurant should be. i loved it. and they have a special dining room in the back where it feels like you were dining at someone's dining room.
i am not gonna lie. i was hoping to see tyler florence while i was dining, the whole time i was looking around just in case he was walking around his restaurant.. lol
they started us out with popovers with butter. i loved that they were crispy outside hiding the pleasant surprise of airiness and flaky butteriness with a hint of sweetness inside - so satisfying. it was so good that when our server asked if i wanted another i had to think twice before i declined, although not very convincingly..
starters :: rabbit terrine | pickles . preserves . mustards . toast ($15)
neither of us had terrine before so we had to ask our server what it was. she explained that some parts of rabbit were coarsely chopped and mixed together to form into a meatloaf (similar to pate) and sliced. we were thinking, 'what the heck, let's be adventurous and try it.' it was actually pretty good with a mix of different textures throughout and a slight gamey flavor. i am okay with the dish as long as i don't know which parts of the rabbit were in it. the toast that came with was delish - it was crispy and buttery providing the great contrast to the soft terrine. the preserves complimented the terrine beautifully with the sweet and savory notes.
entrees :: steak frites | santa maria tri-tip . truffle butter . watercress . french fried potatoes ($27)
so you can get the creamy from the avocado then the sweetness and freshness from lobster, corn, tomatoes & beets, crispness of the lettuce. the one that stole the show was the crunchy bacon bites - almost like lardons. these were so addictive. i love that it was light but at the same time heavy in a nice satisfying way where different textures and flavors come to play. similar to the other entree, the serving was huge but it was probably my favorite dish there that i could not stop eating even when stuffed.
oh, if you were wondering about the extra popover, i actually didn't eat it since i was stuffed but i was too shy to take it to go. even though he was stuffed, ryan decided to gobble it up because it was too good to waste! BAH! so he did end up asking for that second popover for himself! indirectly and unknowingly but nonetheless for himself! lol.
after the meal, we were both filled with a satisfying feeling - although for me it was more like overstuffed satisfaction. wayfare tavern is the epitome of traditional american cuisine brought up a notch with sophisticated twists but not missing the same comfort you get from the classics; huge portions served in a cozy setting. oh and they have wicked toasts/popovers!
disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.