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Sep 30, 2006 06:01 PM

Townhouse Bar & Grill, Emeryville

This place has been around since 1990, but there hasn't been much mention of it on this board. My husband and I went there last night at 8pm without reservations. The room is sizeable, with a bar area in the front and then 2 levels of tables. Our wait was about 10 minutes til we were seated. There were a number of diners that came in after us, so the place was really hopping.

Foodwise, the menu reminded me of an upscale Pyramid Alehouse, but in a good way. We started with an appetizer of buffalo wings which my husband had been craving. It was a huge plate of a dozen freshly fried, mildly hot wings with some celery and blue cheese dip. That could be a meal in itself. It was excellent (note- husband is from Buffalo and grew up on the stuff). I ordered the grilled salmon special (6 to 8oz filet with a salsa cruda, a few spears of asparagus, and a potato gratin), and he had the pork porterhouse, a huge chop topped with a slice of smoky bacon, a roasted sweet onion and mashed potatoes. Both were very good and the portions are very generous. We were too stuffed to even look at the dessert menu. The prices are a bit on the high side, but overall I thought it was a fair value. The service was fine, especially the hostess who apologized for making us wait for a table.

I forgot to mention earlier that the bread there is amazingly good. Slices of hot fresh crusty bread that tasted of a hint of corn flour(?) with butter, it was great.

It is a loud place, with wooden rafters. We noted several large tables of 12 and over. One fellow stood up during our meal and announced to the whole room that he was getting married and we all applauded. Another table was celebrating a birthday and everyone started singing. Then there was a solo woman diner near us who was enjoying an appetizer and salad. Their hamburgers are supposed to be really good too. We enjoyed the activity around us, but don't go if you want to have meaningful conversation.

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  1. The Townhouse has been there since 1936. The current chef-owner has been there since 1990.

    Do I remember right that it used to be open late and was the main after-work hangout for East Bay restaurant workers? Or was that some other place near there?

    1. This is a great place except if you're on a diet. Their fried calamari is tops. Very crisp with fresh calamari. Large portions. Their garlic and parsley fries are also addictive. Their salads are large portion and very fresh ingredients.

      The service is prompt and the wait staff very professional. They notice everything.

      I only wish they were open for lunch too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bluecheesewiz

        The Web site says lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30am-2:30 pm.

      2. Are the wings drier in the original East Coast style?

        Benny Choi on Buffalo wings -

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          It's true, Buffalo wings in Buffalo are drier and spicier. The wings at Townhouse are slathered in sauce, but fried really well. Next time I would ask for extra celery sticks.

        2. I've been to the Townhouse a few times over the past several years. I do like the space and the buzz and the friendly staff, but I think the food is underwhelming, and doesn't measure up to Bucci's, a few blocks away. We usually go there instead when we're in the neighborhood.

          1. Is it as expensive as Bucci's? From the kind of food they serve, Townhouse sounds like a medium priced option.

            I do love Bucci's, though. It's so comfortable there, such a nice space, and pretty good food, too. We always go there when were really tired or feel put-upon at work and need a treat.