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Apr 29, 2008 04:09 PM

Anyone tried Orson recently?

We love the desserts at Citizen Cake but the food was a bit disappointing. I figure
I'd wait a bit till they work out the kinks at the new place. Any recent experiences there?
The bourbon and beacon dinner looks interesting.

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    1. I went a few weeks ago. I had a glass of wine with the duck fat french fries with brown butter bearnaise ($5) and the chicharrones ($5), both really good, ample portions, and great values.

      Then I thought I'd try one of their more original dishes, so I ordered the "blood sausage, grits, pear, rye crisp" ($13). This dish made absolutely no sense to me. The blood sausage wasn't very flavorful or good. The pear gastrique (?) didn't go with it and made the excellent grits taste revolting.

      Unique atmosphere, felt like I was in New York, or on the moon. Fun place for a drink though they should have more wines by the glass. Seemed like an awful lot of staff for the number of patrons.

      Another night I was going to try it for dessert but the place had been taken over for a party by some bank.

      Orson Restaurant
      508 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

      1. I've dropped in from time to time since my original report written opening night. ( ) During a recent visit with a friend we ordered the following:

        duo of soup shots / carrot & asparagus

        parmaggiano pudding, pepper jam, cocoa nib explosion (explosion = pop rocks


        light fry tofu, house kimchee - this was delicious. It is marinated in pineapple juice and soy sauce and then fried. It was crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside and full of flavor. the kimchee provided a good acidic contrast. One of my favorite dishes of the night.

        duck fat french fries, brown butter bearnaise - hey french fries fried in duck fat and served with butter and fat (plus salt) what's not to like?

        tempura egg, nori, scallion bouillon - sounds weird, tastes good.

        light smoked fish, black rice, bacon

        pigwich: pizzelle, maple bacon ice cream

        gleaming the cube: date soft chocolate, stout, caramel, brown butter

        On another visit I tried:

        pizza: chocolate, espelette, sea salt, olive oil / not life changing but very good. This is an adventurous dish, but it works. The espelette is a chili powder. Salt works very well with olive oil and chocolate. Try this at home!

        charred hamachi tartare, avocado, radish, citrus - the hamachi sprinkled with ancho chili pepper power, raw sugar, and salt, then charred with a blow torch. Really surprising and delicious.

        The visit with my friend was an experiment to see if it was possible to go to Orson with the intention of having dinner and leaving sated and having gotten value for my money. The experiment was a rousing success. We had more than enough food, nothing was really weird, and most of the food was creative but in no way molecular or experimental.

        My only problem with Orson is the noise and the cooler-than-thou atmosphere, but I'm sure that this is exactly what they are aiming for and what a whole lot of their customers are after. The food is a welcome shot in the arm to a sometimes too complacent San Francisco restaurant scene. The portions seems to have grown since opening and the food is more consistent. I predict Orson will do fine.

        1. Here's a report on a recent dessert there. Sounds and looks horrible:

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dave MP

            I actually thought the desserts I had were much better than the savory dishes. I had the "are you chocolate experienced" (more classic, very good) and the "fleur de bleu" (weird texture but interesting.

          2. I can't comment on the food, but had some really lovely, pricey cocktails there. A bourbon and absinthe cocktail was shockingly good, redeeming a (trendy) spirit I don't care much for. Bartender was very friendly, perhaps because the place was empty at around midnight on Saturday.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lapsangsouchong

              Jacqueline Patterson, the boss bartender, is extremely knowledgeable and interesting to chat with.