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Waterbar report

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I had already booked a Monday night table for a friend's birthday, so despite being underwhelmed by Epic Roasthouse, we had dinner here last night.

She had barbecued oysters; the pressed lobster (it's not really pressed, just the sauce is); and a side of wild mushrooms. I had a whole petrale sole grilled (they bring it with three sauces -- the tapenade was fabulous, the green vinaigrette was okay and I didn't try the remoulade) with a side of baby artichokes (terrific). The sole was perfectly prepared, and way too much for me to finish (I believe they said it was a 1 1/2 lb fish, with head etc, which they removed before I ate it.) 2 glasses of a delicious viognier ($10/glass). Total bill $150. I would suggest two people sharing one of the whole fish and adding more sides, would be more economical and more interesting. The waiter offered no suggestions on how to navigate the rather oddly laid out menu; when we asked for a description of the pressed lobster, he obliged but neither of us recognized the dish that arrived, my friend even asked if they'd made a mistake (they hadn't, his description was just unclear; however she said it was very good).

The bread served with dinner, unlike Epic, is ordinary epi-baquette, not warm or special in any way.

The view is not as stunning as Epic, but still very nice. Oddly, as the evening darkened the view was marred by the reflection of the odd aquariums -- two floor-to-ceiling poles filled with very large and almost non-moving fish (they have almost nowhere to go). Once it gets dark, the lit aquariums are reflected in the windows and distract from the view.

It feels like an expense account restaurant in any city (despite the bridge view). Soul-less.

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  1. Thanks for taking the bullet ... twice ... I have absolutely no desire to go to either place .. the good view curse continues ...and not even the view so much at Waterbar.

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    Waterbar
    399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      I wouldn't be so quick to discount Epic and Waterbar. They are expense account restaurants, but the food at both can be very good. At Waterbar specifically, I found the marrow bones stuffed with dungeness crab and black truffles to be one of the best first courses I've had in the city - and the pressed lobster is fantastic, despite the misnomer.

      As for Epic, I've been 4 times (mostly business dinners), and with proper ordering (oysters, crudo, steak tartare, rib eye for two, new york steak, prime rib, spinach side, chocolate souffle), the food can be excellent. I wrote a very detailed review of Epic on Yelp if you're interested.

      1. re: mbaldauf

        I can't believe you thought the bone marrow was great- I thought it was awfull. If I had know truffle glacage meant "drowned in cheap truffle oil" I never would have ordered it!

        1. re: merkin

          I think the dish has changed since I first ordered it. I went back again in April and it was nowhere near as good - I could not detect any truffle, and the crab itself was dry.

          Your experience sounds even worse!

          Sounds like a serious consistency problem...

      2. re: rworange

        Epic's prime rib sounds like it might be worth a visit.