HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
What have you made lately? Share your food adventure
TELL US

What is the latest on Woodhouse Fish Company?

j
Jammy73 Aug 2, 2006 04:16 AM

I drove by the Woodhouse Fish Company today on Market which I never noticed before, I think they have a new sign, a big orange crab hanging out front. There is some discussion on them a few months ago the week they opened, but not much recently. Looks like they had some opening jitters, has anyone been recently? It looked like a nice place.

  1. Alderete Aug 13, 2006 03:16 PM

    I ate lunch there last Monday. I'd had a craving for fish and chips, and thought I'd give those a try at WFC, walking distance from my home office. I think they had just started the lunch specials. With the F&C special, you get 1-2 fewer pieces of fish, and no cole slaw. I wanted to pig out, and have the slaw, so I went with the regular plate.

    Overall very good. The batter coating had those crispy fronds that I associate with fresh fried fish, and the texture of both the coating and fish was perfect. I'd love to see them offer another tartar sauce, something less traditional (spicy!), along with the regular tartar sauce. With four pieces of fish, I was looking for a bit more variety by the end. (I'm not much of a vinegar guy.)

    The fries were good, but they're clearly not doing those from scratch. Their cole slaw needs work. As other people wrote, it's not properly drained/salted, and cut too large. And to my palate, I thought the dressing was bland. A bit of salt and pepper picked it up a bit, but they need to work on that recipe to get it to the point where it's actually good.

    I was reading a computer magazine, and the owner/manager asked me if I had just come from Apple's WWDC (uh, world-wide developer conference). Turns out he was a software engineer for eight years before deciding to open a restaurant. Very friendly.

    Certainly, I enjoyed the food and liked the people. It was my second meal there, and I'll definitely go back. But it was, as Windy wrote, $20 for the plate, an iced tea, and tip. A little pricey for an everyday kind of lunch. But if I had the special, instead of being a pig, I should be able to get to $15, not too bad.

    Now I have a hankering for the clams and calamari. I will look forward to their combo plates!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Alderete
      n
      NoeMan Sep 3, 2007 09:56 AM

      Finally, finally made it to this place. I hade the small lobster roll and my wife had a salad with crab. Both were fabulous. Great fries and cole slaw on the side. Sorry it took so long. Not many people there on a Sunday @ 2PM. Hope they're not doing poorly and that this was just a slow time. Nice to have this option close by.

      1. re: NoeMan
        5 and Dime Eater Aug 25, 2008 09:27 AM

        link

        -----
        Woodhouse Fish Company
        2073 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

        1. re: NoeMan
          rworange Aug 25, 2008 10:56 AM

          link

          -----
          Woodhouse Fish Company
          2073 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

          1. re: rworange
            ChowFun_derek Aug 25, 2008 04:28 PM

            They are opening a second location here in SF, on Fillmore I believe...so I assume they are doing well.

            1. re: ChowFun_derek
              f
              Fig Newton Aug 25, 2008 04:47 PM

              That's right - Fillmore @ Wilmot, across from SPQR in the old Toraya space.

      2. Windy Aug 12, 2006 02:13 AM

        I finally got here this week for lunch and was not impressed. We shared a fried clams (nothing revelatory) and an artichoke stuffed with crab (fresh and well prepared but unexciting). We kept looking for something healthy to order to complement the fried stuff but iceberg lettuce just did not appeal.

        I love seafood, but prices are too high--$4 for lemonade? Even with the lunch specials. Service was disinterested despite the fact we were nearly the only ones there. For a $20 per person lunch, I expect a lot more.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Windy
          rworange Aug 12, 2006 03:31 PM

          OK, let me explain this again. You can't go five steps in California without food that is revelatory. There's so much of it, it that revelatory becomes boring in itself.

          The crab I don't care about, they can play with that all they want. That is California food.

          However, the fried clams are only supposed to be classic, fresh, Ipswich and delicious. We don't want people doing riffs on that. Go to Yankee Pier for that.

          Given there's some California stuff here, sure throw in something green to attract that crowd so that the restaurant keeps humming and the place stays open for those of us that need all that fried stuff. That's the point. Fried stuff, tarter sauce and melted butter.

          The lemonade is the same price as at Sea Salt and the same prep.

          You might try steamers if they have them. That's just clams and you can skip the melted butter.

          1. re: rworange
            Windy Aug 13, 2006 07:32 AM

            I know what steamers are, and what fried clams are supposed to taste like. I grew up on the east coast.

            This was a waste of money; the clams weren't delicious. Good to know there are other overpriced places to avoid.

            1. re: Windy
              s
              SteveG Aug 15, 2006 07:56 PM

              My boyfriend grew up on the bay in Delaware/Maryland, and said these were the best clams he has had in 10 years.

              How much variation can there be from shipment to shipment even with a good supplier, and do clams suffer the way oysters do in the summer months?

              Personally, being a west coast boy, I liked the clams but I wasn't bowled over. I could definitely see the appeal if it was something I'd grown up with, and I'll put them into my rotation of fried fish cravings (boquerones, fish and chips, calamari). By the way, when they're on the menu the lightly battered fried boquerones at Cav are wonderful, and probably cost-competitive with Woodhouse. (on Market east of Gough a few doors away from Zuni)

              1. re: Windy
                j
                Jammy73 Aug 16, 2006 12:09 AM

                A clam plate at the Clam Box in Ipswich Mass is $18.25 (check it out, http://www.ipswichma.com/clambox/menu... ). The woodhouse clams are $18.85. Seems like a deal to me considering the plane flight....

          2. Frosty Melon Aug 11, 2006 09:53 PM

            Is Woodhouse open for lunch on weekends yet?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Frosty Melon
              j
              Jammy73 Aug 11, 2006 11:50 PM

              The website says open daily, I seem to remember it used to say it opened at 5 on weekends...
              http://woodhousefish.com

              1. re: Jammy73
                Frosty Melon Aug 12, 2006 05:15 PM

                I went back and checked the review on SFGate, which says they are open for lunch on Saturday, but not Sunday. I plan to check it out today.

                1. re: Frosty Melon
                  Frosty Melon Aug 13, 2006 04:33 PM

                  As planned, I hit Woodhouse for lunch yesterday. I had the $9 lunch plate of half a crab roll, which came with fries and a cup of chowder. It was all very good; the fries were well done without me asking (the fries were previously very weak) and the chowder was excellent. This is a very good value for the quality of food. I believe they are now doing lunch 7 days a week.

            2. p
              peachblossom Aug 11, 2006 05:49 PM

              How does Woodhouse Fish compare to OPLS (Old Port Lobster Shack)? Does one have better (for example) clams and the other has better lobster rolls?

              2 Replies
              1. re: peachblossom
                rworange Aug 11, 2006 06:20 PM

                OPLS is the better restaurant, but Woodhouse is not far behind. If you live in the city, you can get your fried clam fix. They both use the same fish supplier which OPLS graciously gave the name to Woodhouse.

                They both vastly outclass Yankee Pier which has too many California touches for my New England taste.

                OPLS has the better, classic lobster roll with the top loading hot dog bun. I asked Woodhouse if they might consider buying those from OPLS and the response was that was the signature of OPLS and they didn't want copycat that. These two places seem to have a good working relationship with one another.

                I like the fried clams and tarter sauce better at OPLS because it is more classic, though Woodhouse isn't far off.

                The quality of the clams at both places are dependant on the supplier and how the clams are that week. From what I've read, I think the occasional clam inconsistancies at both places have to do with the raw product coming in. Some weeks, due to weather, are better clam weeks than others.

                I liked the clam chowder better at Woodhouse, but I haven't had the chowder at OPLS since they opened when they were still working on the recipe.

                The other edge that OPLS has is that the owner is from Maine and worked in the lobster business. He really knows the fish and the cuisine. The Woodhouse people are Californians. I never did get a clear answer about the why of opening a fish house serving some New England dishes, but big thumbs up for the results from people not born and raised in New England.

                After all these clamless and lobster roll-less years, it almost brings a tear to my eye to finally have this food available.

                1. re: rworange
                  ChowFun_derek Aug 11, 2006 09:33 PM

                  Steamer..alert!!!
                  Woodhouse has them today!

              2. s
                SteveG Aug 2, 2006 07:33 PM

                I enjoyed my plate of fried clams a lot, but their takes on local items or west coast items are less successful. The crab/prawn combo in artichokes was really stingy on the crab, and the crab wasn't that great.

                So, if you go stick to east coast items, and leave your crab cravings for other places.

                Unfortunately we used to do quite well with crab at Anchor Oyster Bar on Castro, but last time the crab was so so and the free cup of chowder it came with was awful. For now we just buy picked crab at Calmart/Bryan's at $20+ a lb and make our own salad at home when we have the urge for a seafood lunch.

                4 Replies
                1. re: SteveG
                  c
                  cedichou Aug 3, 2006 05:27 AM

                  Probably because it is not crab season right now? I noticed a difference in the crab between my two visits. The second time, it was more watery texture for the meat, and less flavorful.

                  Strange that they would be stingy. That's not the adjective which comes to mind when I recall my meals there. And I had that crab/prawn dish.

                  1. re: cedichou
                    s
                    SteveG Aug 3, 2006 07:26 PM

                    Sorry, I wasn't very clear on the relative crab quality issue. I know full well it isn't the height of crab season, but the crab we get at Bryan's/CalMart at these slightly off season times is better than we've been getting at Woodhouse/Anchor Oyster Bar. The crab burger was on the "fresh daily specials" board at Anchor, which is usually a trusty source for good fresh seafood. Maybe Woodhouse and Anchor are sourcing locally and the supermarkets are getting it from Washington/Alaska?

                    As for stingy, I seem to remember the crab/prawn dish was in the 15-20 dollar range, with an artichoke, 2 or 3 prawns, and at best 1/8th of a pound of crab. It's not a complicated dish to make by any stretch, so when we have that hankering we now just buy picked meat from a good market and throw it in the artichoke ourselves, since the quality at Woodhouse didn't seem superior.

                    My fried clam dish was a huge serving for the price, definitely not stingy. That goes back to my feeling that they're good at east coast items and not as good on the west coast items. My boyfriend, who grew up in Delaware/Maryland, said they were the best fried clams he'd had in a decade.

                  2. re: SteveG
                    ChowFun_derek Aug 3, 2006 08:54 AM

                    Definitely not crab season...
                    Ques...does Anchor give you a cup of clam chowder (bad as it was) with the meal or a clear clam broth?
                    This is how I remember it, and I am curious to know whether they've changed...
                    Thanks

                    1. re: ChowFun_derek
                      s
                      SteveG Aug 3, 2006 07:29 PM

                      The cup of chowder came with the crab burger (a loosely formed patty of picked dungee crab with just a bit of mayo and spice holding it together, wrapped in a burger bun). In season, this crab burger is absolutely fantastic.

                      Maybe the chowder would be brothy on a good day? I did notice the texture was somewhat separated, which made me think they added some clam juice to a canned variety and let it sit on the back of the stove. There weren't many clams in it at all, so they definitely weren't doing a careful job doctoring up pre-made chowder (which I think in good hands can produce a respectable cheap chowder).

                  3. j
                    Jammy73 Aug 2, 2006 07:18 PM

                    This all looks pretty good! I'm on my way and will report back.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Jammy73
                      j
                      Jammy73 Aug 6, 2006 04:26 AM

                      Went to the 'WFC' tonight. I was expecting a wait and got there early, but it was about half full at 6:30. Service was prompt and friendly, I had some oysters and a glass of Pinot Grigio to start, and the stuffed artichoke as a main course. It took a while to eat, but it was well cooked and I liked the dressing. I chatted with the owner, a young guy who seemed very attentive. I even dropped the boards hint about combo platters. He mentioned he was waiting on a second fryer for the kitchen to handle all the different fried items and right now it just takes too long to cook everything in succession. Looks like there is hope there.
                      This place is very pleasant and I will be back.

                      Oh, and for you East Coasters, they had Steamers on the menu but there was a hand written note over it, 'Sold out! More next week' .

                      1. re: Jammy73
                        ChowFun_derek Aug 6, 2006 04:40 PM

                        STEAMERS! Finally!! I guess no red tide, just a tide of steamer lovers...I'll keep my eyes open to see when they have more in stock!
                        Also looking forward to the additional fryer to get a fried combo plate..they are so pleasant and friendly here..really like to please..and they have been very receptive to our ideas...please let them have consistency! Then finally I won't feel I have to leave Upper Market to get a decent meal!

                        1. re: ChowFun_derek
                          j
                          Jammy73 Aug 11, 2006 05:27 PM

                          Might be a litle harder to get a table in the future:

                          http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi...

                    2. c
                      cedichou Aug 2, 2006 06:33 PM

                      Rworange talks about dropping hints re: a combo plate? How about spelling it out?

                      http://www.sfist.com/archives/2006/06...

                      1. The Dive Aug 2, 2006 05:10 PM

                        We went there two Sundays ago. We both had the lobster roll -- good bun, plenty of lobster, but I'm not a huge fan of the mayo style (it was better than Yankee Pier's mayo one, but I prefer Sea Salt). The cole slaw was not right -- the cabbage was not salted and drained before mixing with the dressing, so it was too crunchy, not dressed properly and hard to put it your mouth (big chunks). Would be fine if prepared properly. I liked the clam chowder...lighter style with lots of clams.

                        1. jupiter Aug 2, 2006 04:54 PM

                          I have asked before, but now that more people are eating there, can anyone tell me:
                          are the clams fried in batter or in crumb?
                          it is a pretty big difference in taste and texture, and i prefer them fried in crumb, like on the east coast.

                          I am going to need to venture there at some point and do a taste test, but i will be more inspired to hurry over there if i know they are frying the clams the way i like...

                          Thanks!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jupiter
                            chaddict Aug 2, 2006 05:13 PM

                            I want to say batter but Chow_Fun is your best bet.

                            1. re: jupiter
                              j
                              jaweino Aug 3, 2006 07:09 AM

                              The clams are coated with a mixture of flour and cornmeal.

                              1. re: jaweino
                                jupiter Aug 3, 2006 03:54 PM

                                that'll do.
                                thanks!

                            2. j
                              jaweino Aug 2, 2006 06:19 AM

                              We ate there last week. The fried clams were outstanding. The lobster roll was a good lobster salad on an oversized French roll. They are working on it. The sides are very large. The cole slaw is good; one order was enough for three. The clam chowder was very good lots of clams very authentic style. They said that they'll be getting steamers soon. No desserts. We'll definitely be back.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: jaweino
                                ChowFun_derek Aug 2, 2006 03:47 PM

                                Went for dinner 2 nights ago...had a big bowl of the chowder...big chunks of clam only a few potatoes, (which is as I like it) a broth made with some cream (and no discernable flour thickener) but not so much cream that it coated your tongue so that you couldn't taste the clams...a very good chowder....I had the Humongous fried calamari plate...perfectly fried, chewy but not rubbery...I'd like to see them do fried combo plates, I would like to have the different textures of squid, clams, fish, scallops etc...as usual the staff was cheerful and helpful..
                                Woodhouse has begun to serve lunch specials...For 9 dollars..there is a more descriptive previous post about this...
                                A great addition to our neighborhood.

                                here's the link:

                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                  rworange Aug 2, 2006 05:26 PM

                                  Oh yeah, real fried combo plates. I forgot such things existed. I've never had a West Coast version that was satisfying. People should start dropping hints there about it.

                                  1. re: rworange
                                    chaddict Aug 2, 2006 05:32 PM

                                    I have, I have!!! The fried clams, while lovely, are such a huge portion that I begin to get bored with so many clams. The other huge hint that I have tried is half portions. With lower price points, I think more people would give it a try and fall in love.

                                    1. re: chaddict
                                      rworange Aug 2, 2006 05:45 PM

                                      You are not from the East Coast, are you?

                                      There is no such thing as a boring fried clam ... or too many fried clams.

                                      1. re: chaddict
                                        j
                                        Jammy73 Oct 11, 2006 02:30 AM

                                        There was a mixed platter this evening on the menu. Clams, calamari, and oysters, $17.95. Didn't try it, too busy with the lobster roll which is much better than their first incarnation.

                                Show Hidden Posts