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Been to Salt House lately?

I'm about to make reservations for a friend's birthday dinner and since she's a huge fan of Town Hall, I didn't know if any of you would recommend Salt House. I've taken a look at their menu online and honestly, it's not very inspiring. But everything I've heard (lately anyway) has been alright. Any of you been there lately? What did you think? What did you order? How was the service?

If Salt House is a no go, we've narrowed it down to Delfina or Coco 500. (Couldn't get reservations at Perbacco or Myth.) She's picky about her choices ;-).

Thanks!

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  1. I think you got it right... Salt House is "alright"... I dont have anything really good or bad to say about it. However, I would go to Delfina or Coco500 over Salt House anyday.

    1. salt house is INCREDIBLE.

      if your friend is a fan of town hall, then she will love salt house.

      coco500 is a real disappointment, talk about uninspiring.

      delfina, you can never go wrong there.

      here are pix of my lunch at salt house. i'm looking forward to going back!

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitterme...

      5 Replies
      1. re: bittermelon125

        Great pictures. Thanks for sending the link. Curious to know about all the other food places in your album. Those pictures are making me hungry! (Looks like you went to Tofu House in Mtn. View, or what looks like Tofu House. Love that place!)

        1. re: VirgoBlue

          hey virgoblue,

          thanks for the kind and thoughtful comments on my pictures. really appreciate it.
          actually, the korean meal was at teo, no geary. it was a very late night excursion.

          1. re: bittermelon125

            Sure. And I saw your posting a few months back about Steamed Shanghainese style dumplings... I don't know if you get down to Millbrae but they serve the best ones at Shanghai Dumpling House. They're FABULOUS! They serve lots of great northern Chinese specialties.

            www.virgoblue.wordpress.com

        2. re: bittermelon125

          Wow - I really have to disagree: coco500 is amazing! Food is fantastic, service is fantastic, and drinks are fantastic!

          As for the original post - Myth is fine, but severely over-rated.

          1. re: bittermelon125

            What exactly did you order at Coco500 that was so uninspiring. Coco500 just remains Bizou without the good service.

          2. I'd say Salt House is a good choice - I frankly have been happier with the food there than I have been at Town Hall. Delfina is another good option. I've not been to Coco500, so obviously I can't make a comment about it.

            RE: the "sinful" desserts. I was a bit surprised that the pastry chef at Salt House was touted as one of SF's rising chefs. I feel desserts have been hit and miss, and usually 50/50. I have gone frequently with a group wherein we've tried all of dessert options: half of them are fantastic... half are so-so. Close your eyes, pick, and pray. :) haha

            5 Replies
            1. re: jrhsfcm

              Which desserts would you order and which would you avoid?

              1. re: VirgoBlue

                I'm having a hard time remembering all the desserts we've had there. Back when they first opened they made a FANTASTIC butter pecan ice cream. I know, I know - butter pecan?!?!? Never has been one of my favorite ice creams... but it was the best I've ever tasted. I came very close to using my spoon to smack people's hands as they went for more: I easily could have eaten the entire bowl (and then some) myself. The maple tart mentioned below, if that's the one that came with banana ice cream, was also very, very delicious.

                I've had very little luck filling my chocolate hankerings at Salt House. For instance, the chocolate mousse that Bauer seemingly raved over in his Chronicle review tasted like it was something Bill Cosby would have been pushing for Jell-o. It wasn't "bad" per se, but it was the one dessert we left unfinished.

                I guess that's my main issue with some of the desserts. I really like the food (I particularly like the crispy shrimp salad, and the steak I had there recently was one of the best prepared pieces of red meat that I've had in some time) and feel it's been consistent - I just sometimes feel the desserts fall flat and are things I could get at a lesser quality restaurant.

                Suggestion: pick the dessert that might originally seem to be the least interesting to you. Each time I've been there, well, that's the dessert that has received the highest praise.

                1. re: jrhsfcm

                  The pastry chef is fairly new to Salt House (within the last two months) so you can't compare what they served for desserts when they first opened to today. (Supposedly the pastry chef came from Belden Taverna.) I think when they first opened it was uninspiring. Can't say what it's like now because haven't been there recently, but I just wanted to point out there has been a change in chefs.

                  1. re: singleguychef

                    The maple tart was experienced within the past two months - as I said, it was excellent. The chocolate mousse came from the same chef. Hopefully once she's comfortable in the environment everything will be of the same caliber - clearly she's talented, but riight now just a bit inconsistent.

                    Ironically, my favorite dessert, that super-yummy butter pecan, was way before this celebrated pastry chef.

                  2. re: jrhsfcm

                    I have heard that the Salt House is better than Town Hall in popularity. But if you are interested in another American fare restaurant, you might want to try One Market. At night it has a nice view of the Embarcadero (with night lighting on the palm trees and streetcars driving by). The desserts are the best. Which I think is a key element for a successful birthday. Mention that it is your friends birthday and they will do something special for the plate.

                    Birthday or for any other occassion that you want a treat, definitely go to
                    ONE MARKET for dessert!

              2. We went to Salt House a couple of weeks ago and it was good, but not great. We shared two starters (the foie gras tourchon and the crab salad), which were definitely the stars. Our shared entree, tai snapper, was okay -- very light, but a bit boring. Our desserts were good -- the pineapple ice cream cake is very light, but the maple walnut tart is the way to go. The service was excellent and I like the wines. I would like the place even better if they would return those fantastic pastrami ribs to the menu.

                1. I'd pick Delfina over Salt House any day. And I'd pick SH over Coco 500. The thing I enjoyed most at SH was the poutine, and that was mostly because of its novelty value.

                  1. We went there a month ago and had a great time. Not that the food was extraordinary but overall the experience was good.
                    The best is the place itself, the interior is very pleasant.
                    I like their wine list with some interesting below the radar wines priced decently.
                    Food ranged from ok to excellent, the foie gras was one of the best I ever had but the bean soup was flavorless and a heavy. Flavor combinations were sometimes weird. I had a very good meyer lemon chicken with spicy potatoes that totally killed the delicate lemon taste.
                    Portions were big (not that I think it's a quality).
                    Desserts were ok but nothing to write home about.
                    They billed us food for 12 (we were 4) so we had a good laugh with the waitress.
                    We left happy.
                    Now if you want my advise go to Range. I just went again this weekend and it really rocks. The food is awesome, the service excellent and it's affordable.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ngardet

                      I thought The Salt House was just ok. there are a million restaurants in San Francisco and for me who doesn't get out very much, I want my meal to taste good, especially for that price! I had the crab salad and the Fulton Valley Chicken. The best was the pineapple ice cream cake. It was the busboy's choice. I should have tried Poleng instead.

                    2. We had a very disappointing meal at CoCo500 and we won't be going back. Service was just plain awful, we sat next to someone (male) whose "perfume" was just ghastly and I think he bathed in it...ick. That said, the flatbread was fabulous, but it was the only thing we liked. Frankly, the times I've been to Town Hall I've also been disappointed. Not been to Salt House, but I love Delfina. What about Nopa? I've had several excellent meals there and the atmosphere is fun - and the cocktails are great. One must toast a birthday, no?!?

                      1. The menu at Salt House didn't appeal to me - everything seemed a bit heavy or gamey. I wouldn't rush back. The server didn't check in or notice my empty glass until the end of our meal. However, once she did notice she quickly brought over a glass of wine on the house; nice gesture. Make sure you sit toward the back, away from the bar area or you tend to get bumped around a bit.

                        We've always enjoyed the service and food at Coco500. Although I'd go to Delfina first.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sfaudrey

                          Salt House is solid although it always seems to have that "work" feeling about it given its location in the business district. Coco500 seems geared towards the bridge and tunnel set these days, food is decent and service can be spotty - I was just there two weeks ago so these are fresh observations. Delfina seems like a winner. Other questions would include number in party and is this weekend or weeknight.

                          1. re: poulet_roti

                            I was at Coco500 a week ago. It is what it always was ... basically Bizou ... without the great service. The food is delicious as always. I mean, come on, Loretta, the service issue is consistant across all food forums. The trendy foodies are getting bored and will soon move on. Go back to what you did well. The food is still outstanding. The service out and out at times sucks and is clueless. Hire back Sean or someone who knows how to run a restaurant. This is just not online bitching. I sent off a letter to the restaurant ... I know that Loretta doesn;t follow food forums .. but maybe should ... and damn it ... get some comfy chairs at the bar. I'm starting to reach my limit about what I will put up with for good food.

                            1. re: rworange

                              Some excellent points - the seats at the bar are back breakers. Given the change of the concept, it seems she was aiming for more of a bar scene but these chairs are sure to make you leave quickly. As for being the same as Bizou without the service, there are a few dishes that are the same, beans, beef cheeks, etc.but frankly, the new concept lacks the charm of the old Bizou. Yes, Bizou may have been a bit tired but I for one preferred the environment and ambiance. Service? I had horrible service from the bartender at Coco500 and this was around 6pm - right after work. It really does have a vibe of a restaurant you might expect to see in the burbs. I used to be a big fan of the version of cassoulet that the old Bizou served during the fall and winter months.