Restaurant Review: Wayfare Tavern
Crowd: Blazers with loosened ties and blouses with black pumps
Vibe: Lively and loud
Decor: Turn-of-the-century San Francisco Barbary Coast
Layout: Four floors: 1. Basement floor for the restrooms and an entrance to the kitchen 2. Main floor with a raw bar, full bar, open kitchen with a Chef’s Counter, and booth seating 3. Second floor with a smaller bar, more seating, and a Billiard Room 4. A rustic, private dining room with a wine cellar.
Service: Genuinely Friendly, Professional, and Precise
Portion Size: Large
Imbibe: Jasmine Green Tea Cooler (non-alcoholic)
Enjoy: Fresh out of the oven Popovers and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Waist Slimmers: Chilled Watermelon Salad, Marin Tomato Salad, and Crisp Pacific Catch Halibut
Price: $177.85 across four people, three appetizers, three entrees, 3 glasses of wine, and one non-alcoholic beverage
The instant you walk in and pass the four eager hostesses, you feel like you have stepped away into another time and place. A feeling of mischievousness overcomes you, and you begin to wonder about all of the secrets this place might have, just like in the 1800’s. The bar is packed and the open kitchen is full of action. It feels a little chaotic, while I wait at the bar for the rest of my party to show. Despite, the opening week crowd, the bartenders are upbeat and do not give off the “I feel the pressure, I am too busy” vibe. There is a whirlwind of staff buzzing around and attending to your every need. At times, it feels like there is more staff than patrons. The general manager is very kind and talks to us in length about the making of Wayfare Tavern. The size and style of the menu is very representative of Old America, with a modern-Californian twist. It’s large with ample choices for the meat lover and pescatarians. However, there is only one vegetarian entrée with quite a few salads and sides to pick from. We watch Mr. Florence carefully inspect and perfect each dish before it goes out, which is really amazing to see. He even tries to take a few minutes away and talk to patrons, which I really appreciate in a celebrity and chef. As for the taste, I am a little disappointed. Maybe, my expectations were too high, but as a gourmet foodie, I find the food to be good, not great. The entrées are a little overpriced, but justifiable for the neighborhood. Though, I do plan to go back, just not too soon.
Wayfare Tavern l 558 Sacramento St San Francisco, CA 94111 l 415-772-9060
Great to know Tyler Florence was there. He actually said in his demonstration that he was clearing his schedule to spend more time at his restaurants and ensuring the quality of the food.
Overall his new restaurant was great! I think my expectations about the food were a bit high but I thought it was good. Since I am a big fan it was really nice to see him work the kitchen.
The downside would be the waiters were overly attentive to the point that it was a bit suffocating and the place was full of snobs and their comments about the staff and other patrons can ruin your nice dinner.
It’s a delicate balance isn’t it? I do wonder if the fact there’s a critical mass of food snobs really makes for a weird service situation for the rest of us who want a more relaxed level of service.