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westfield centre. the horror. but korean food!

stopped by the westfield centre today and wanted to run back out onto the safety of market st. ASAP. i had no idea that the people of a major city could get worked up into such a frezy over _a mall_.

still, i can't wait for it to die down for two things:
1. there's a fast food korean joint downstairs. authentic it's not but there were a mountain of grilled shortribs that i looked longingly at. i miss nyc k-town. unfortunately the line was about 20 deep.

until then, i will indulge in l&l, my guilty pleasure.

2. wichcraft. expensive and small portioned sandwiches, yes, but i doubt i'll find a fast grilled cheese with truffle oil anywhere else in town.

has anyone anything to add regarding overpriced mall food?

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  1. i think the korean place is sorabol, if i am not mistaken. there is also one at stonestown. i haven't been there recently, but the bbq chicken bowl was quite tasty. i always asked for extra broccoli, hold the glass noodles.

    i hope someone reports on wichcraft soon!

    7 Replies
    1. re: artemis

      Sorabol also has one in Newark's New Park Mall. They moved from food court area to it's own space at the 1st floor.

      Anyone knows what's The Icing at San Francisco Centre? Can't find any reference from google search, however it's listed as a merchant from westfield.com

      1. re: Mul

        It's a cheapish jewelery store chain, similar to Claires.

      2. re: artemis

        Wichcraft wasn't open when I went...it looks like they'll need a while to do so....so I also will be looking for a report from downtown Chowhounders....

        1. re: ChowFun_derek

          Oh by the way....Wichcraft is NOT located within the new mall....it is located under the new Bloomingdales on Mission Street at its' far western corner...

          1. re: ChowFun_derek

            There's a 'Wichcraft in Vegas in the MGM, and also apparently many of them in NY (http://www.wichcraftnyc.com/menus/). If this outpost of the chain is anywhere near as overpriced as the one in Vegas, I'd stay away. The grilled cheese sandwiches are pretty tasty, but overall, I was not impressed.

            1. re: goatcheesey

              Yesterday I was told that wichcraft will be open on Tuesday. I had a cup of gelato at Melt , but gelato that was not. What a waste of time and money.

        2. re: artemis

          On 10/5 I stopped in 'wichcraft after walking through Bloomingdale's. Now I remember hearing of it and Tom Colicchio through the Top Chef tv show and its sandwich competition (there is a mortadela sandwich on the menu that might be the winner's concoction). But at the moment, it didn't click and I was just struck by the prices, and aimed low hoping for the best.

          Breakfast sandwiches are served all day, and the onion fritatta on ciabatta roll looked like the cheapest hot sandwich I could order at $6.50. The menu I picked up shows that I was wrong - that role is actually filled by the grilled gruyère & caramelized onions on rye at $5.50. The place was nearly deserted, with two people picking over one sandwich and other folks who came in to look at the menu board (it's too far away to read from the sidewalk) and then left, presumably because of the $8-$10 price range for sandwiches.

          I got my sandwich to go, which is a real shame. The space is basically a giant window box with spare/modern furnishings that allow unfettered views of the street and pedestrian traffic. Given that my sandwich was perfect - fresh and chewy ciabatta roll, not too much cheddar or onion, and large enough to serve as my early dinner - I would like to come back here with a friend sometime to try the gruyère or goat cheese sandwiches and stay to enjoy the location, not to mention one of the cute-sounding cream'wiches for dessert.

        3. The Icing is a girls' accessories store... like Claire's. Not food related at all.

          1. Sorabol is a locally-based chain which now has several branches in the Philippines as well. It began as a single restaurant in Oakland which once won a readers poll as the best Korean restaurant in the Bay Area, according to the company's website.

            The quality seems to vary a lot from item to item and from location to location. I can recall a great bowl of garlic noodles (loaded with fresh garlic) at the Rincon center branch, and some good BBQ at the Stonestown branch, but I've been disappointd as often as I've been pleased.


            3 Replies
            1. re: Gary Soup

              I like the bbq chicken and the glass noodles at the Emeryville Public Market location. It might have been the first of their fastfood restaurants.

              The Sorabol Restaurant on Grand in Oakland would be on my favorite restaurant list if it were still open. I believe it is where I first had Korean food in the early 80's. It was beautifully appointed, like a modern country inn, and the bbq was wonderful, panchan plentiful and varied and the kimchee fiery.

              1. re: Gary Soup

                Sorabol used to be on Grand Avenue near the Lake. The place is still run by somebody else as a Korean bbq place. It's quite elegant inside.

                Sorabol used to be wonderful. Everything was always fresh and perfectly seasoned.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  How is the food at the new place? It's been years since Sorabol closed. Do they still have the long bar at the entrance? I'll bet they used to serve soju before it was in vogue. I remember seeing some potent-looking martinis. They use to comp us little glasses of some sort of sweet plum brandy.

              2. About 10 people from my department went Friday early afternoon, and were so overwhelmed by sensory overload in the food area decided to leave and go somewhere else. Looking forward to checking it out when things are not so crazy...like 2007.

                1. Swung by 'wichcraft earlier today and it was open. I grabbed a tuna sandwich to go. Tuna with fennel (& fronds), thinly sliced lemon, olives & aioli. Very good - maybe a little dry... DH got a slow roasted pork w/ red cabbage, jalapeno and mustard - perfect amount of heat from the jalapeno.

                  The wait was overlong. They were offline and had to use the handheld thing for card charges and actually call orders out instead of seeing them on a monitor. Obviously this slowed them down. We were given two cookies for the wait. Not that they were worth the wait, but dang are they gooood. The PB in particular - they are perfectly salty!

                  The space is very nice, lots of natural light. Except in the 2nd floor seating area - it looks kind of dark. But, at least there IS a 2nd floor - they'll probably need it.

                  1. Ah, the memories of eating sollungtang at Gam Mee Ok at 5am after a night at MK or Camel... I miss it more than I thought I would.

                    I went on Friday to the Westfield, just to check it out. Those lines were pretty crazy, so we settled for a cream puff at the Beard Papa stand. Was pretty good for a mall treat, although some of the cream ended up in my napkin, making the last third of my snack a mess. Nothing I'd want to mention in my memoirs.

                    1. I too can't wait for things to die down, and for Sorabol and the Thai place to post their menus. It's hard figuring out what's veggie and what's not when the small signs over the dishes are obscured by the crowds in line, or when as in Sorabol's case, there doesn't seem to be one at all. (I know ribs when I see them, and kimchi too, but those saucy glass noodles are tricky to figure out by sight.)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: stringbeanlove

                        I was driving south on 8th Street over Market and going to run left on Mission but it was totally backed up. I couldn't tell if it was taffic or if Westfield is just just off the dial...but I'm guessing Westfield. I just kept going down 8th but I'm avoiding Westfield until it calms down.

                        1. re: stringbeanlove

                          I think Sorabol's menu is basically the same at all its branches, though the execution seems to vary (I'd expect they have an "A" team at the Westfield). The menu is posted on their web site, including a downloadable .pdf version, though I'd be surprised if they didn't have to jack up the prices to make the rent at their new digs.

                          1. re: stringbeanlove

                            I work a block away from the Sorabol that's in Rincon (Spear Street) and I don't think its worth the walk. But if you want to check out the menu, it should be something like what's on their website -- http://www.sorabolrestaurants.com/men...

                          2. most likely the traffic had something to do with fleetweek.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chipman

                              Yes, that sounds likely. I noticed a number of sailors in uniform shopping when I stopped by on the weekend to explore the upper floors.

                            2. Skip 'wichcraft, it's absolutely not worth the price and the sandwiches are lackluster at best.

                              1. It was worth the price, we had the grilled gruyere with black trumpet mushrooms and truffle oil- yum, and the hot coppa with roasted pork and onion confit- yum. It is not a place to go if worried about cost. 2 sandwiches and 2 bottles of water were around $24. with tax, not cheap, but i am not eating there everyday either. tom colicchio was there also.

                                1. Completely happy with the taste of the sandwiches I purchased today, including the mortadella one designed by 'top chef' Harold Dieterle, but BOY is service slow!

                                  The place was about 10% full but the sandwiches were assmebled very slowly and carefully. Too slowly and carefully, in fact. A couple of cold sandwiches - made with pre-portioned cold cuts, took about 20 minutes to make. Yeesh, I'd be frightened to see how things work during lunchtime.

                                  For anyone interested, the quality and taste is identical to the sammies at the original wichcraft in NY, which is nice because it gives me a taste of home.

                                  That they have the fontina with trumpet mushrooms and truffle oil also makes me very happy.

                                  Folks, this is the finest sandwich in San Fran.

                                  All this said, the next time I'm in a rush, I'll stick with Sorabol.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                    I ran right over today to check out this fontina and trumpet mushroom sandwich. The restaurant was still not very busy. I agree that it is tasty, but I will take the Croque Truffe at Citizen Cake over this one anytime. It is sauteed mushrooms and truffle essence with gruyere cheese on sourdough. I dream about it.

                                  2. I too gave Wichcraft a go for lunch today. I'd give it a thumbs-up overall. I tried the grilled cheddar (which, oddly enough, is $6 while all other hot sandwiches are $9 and up...???). Unusual but good sweet/savory combo of flavors, with pears and smoked ham on cranberry-pecan wheat bread. I didn't think it was too undersized, especially considering that sandwiches at many places are too-much-for-one-sitting blimps. I also encountered a 15-20 min wait.

                                    I'd go back for the fontina/truffle-oil/mushroom combo.

                                    On a side note, I love the spacious feel of the place...enough that I actually ate there instead of doing my usual to-go routine.

                                    1. I also gave Wichcraft a try last week with my girlfriend, I got roast beef sandwich - grilled red onions, radish slaw & black pepper aioli on ciabatta roll .I think part of the $9 I paid for it went to a charity. My Girlfriend got the grilled cheddar that had grilled ham, pear on cranberry-pecan bread for $6. The place it is very open with high ceiling and with glass from top to botton. I feel it's always good to try at least once, I was a bit disappointed in the sandwich itself, there wasn't much flavor to my sandwich, if go back again I will try the roast turkey - grilled red onions, radish slaw & black pepper aioli on ciabatta roll, I saw someone get on and it looked pretty good. The grilled cheddar was just a grilled cheddar, I could just taste the pears and ham. A little pricey overall but if you want to a nice surrounding for lunch, try it out.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: willeatanything

                                        I walked by a few times and stopped in to get a menu but to be frank the $9 buck pricing for a sandwich was too much. Even if I heard they were outstanding or exceptional, it couldn't be an everyday or weekly thing, unless it had a crack cocaine like effect of "must have sandwich". Any way, at $9 bucks + drink, etc., just too much. It is a nice place however. Modern yet casual. The charity thing makes things a little bit more reasonable but $10+ is beyond my usual by $2-3 bucks for lunch.

                                      2. i grabbed lunch at coriander today, which is the thai place in the food court. i got the 2-item combo with jasmine rice (could also get fried), spicy catfish, and pumpkin chicken curry. total was $9.22.

                                        it was a lot of food. they used a styrofoam tray like panda (for lack of a better example), with the big compartment for the rice, the back two small compartments *both* with catfish, and a separate fairly sturdy plastic container with lid for the curry.

                                        i was very pleasantly surprised, and i don't think that it was only because i was really, really hungry. the spicy catfish was actually spicy, with lots of catfish pieces and slices of bell peppers and basil and kaffir. there was also a herb that looked like little black balls that i did not recognize. the pumpkin curry (a daily special) was also delicious, with nice chunks of squash and chicken slices. mmmmmm!

                                        service was extremely friendly, even at 1pm on a saturday. having spent more than my share of working weekends in the mall, i was very impressed with the smiling staff.

                                        i came away with a very positive impression and i'm pretty sure (though not positive) that i would feel the same even if i hadn't been totally starving at the time. i would definetely go back.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: artemis

                                          I agree, I was also pleasantly surprised that it was so good. I had the basil chicken and the pad thai and my friend had a curried beef and another dish. The only thing I would not order again is the pad thai.

                                        2. Made our first trip to Westfield Center (oops--Centre) today hoping to grab lunch at Charles Phan's Out the Door, but it's still not yet open. Anyone know when it's scheduled to begin operations?

                                          Ate downstairs at Sorabol because we know it well from Evill's Public Market, and because we saw an empty table just across from the Sorabol counter. The food court area was totally jammed around 1-ish on a Saturday. Sorabol's bbq chicken, spicy bbq chicken and bbq short ribs were pretty much what we expected, except that here they're not served in styrofoam boxes but on large white plates with a faint, greyed back image of the Rotunda.

                                          1. Boyfriend and I checked out Westfield this weekend (yes, still very crowded and buzzing!). Before arriving, we were already planning to search out a boba tea that day because it was the perfect warm day for one. We were excited to find Teaz Me there, a place that serves tea with pearls. Definitely not what we find on Clement St-- the flavors offered are pomegranate, cherry, lime. They have different consistencies such as refreshers, sorbet based, and soy, I think. We both tried the mango frost with pearls. Expensive! Over 9 plus for 2. Very rich-- not what we expected. It was basically a mango shake with boba; thick, creamy, rich. Tasted great but definitely an ice cream shake more than a tea. We were a little disappointed b/c we were craving but I'm glad to find a boba place there.