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Apr 18, 2013 01:02 AM

Exploratorium: Cafe & Seaglass Restaurant, SF

The new Exploratorium has a Cafe & Seaglass Restaurant you don't need a ticket to eat at. Ticket to the Exploratorium isn't too bad either - locals get a discounted price of $19, reg. $25.

Cafe menu:
Clam Chowder $6
Turkish fish stew $8
Seismic salad $9; with chicken $12; with caramelized goat cheese $11
Batter fried asparagus $8
crispy thai catfish in lettuce $12
Chickpea batter fried fish $13
banana bread slice $3
Snickerdoodle cookie $2.5ea
La Quercia ham & manchego sandwich $10.50
fruit salad $3.75

Clam chowder $6 is only 12oz with a small bag of crackers on the side. It's served boiling hot! I didn't find it very good, B. said to much cornstarch taste.

Seaglass Restaurant - cafeteria style, views of the Bay Bridge, lots of tables/chairs:
batter fried green beans, dipping sauce $8
crispy polenta sticks, gorgonzola dip $7
pork tacos (2) $9
black beans, queso fresco $4
cheese quesadilla $8.5
Sushi bar - made to order food:
rocky point oysters $2ea
spicy tuna roll $14.50
vegetarian roll $12
nigiri sushi 2 pcs $6
quinoa & hijiki salad $4
pickled rainbow vegetables $3

B. got the black beans $4 - served cold by the time we got it; crispy polenta sticks, gongonzola dip $7 - he said hot & fresh, tasty.

Location: Pier 15/17 - 10 min walk from Ferry Bldg.

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    1. Now 2+ months post-opening, more reports?

      Would love to hear about Sachio Kojima and his sushi and fermentation/pickle program.

      1. Was there the other day.

        First off, probably the most tourist-dense place in the City outside of Fisherman's Wharf, beating out the Slanted Door and Hog Island in that category. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course.

        Secondly, it's essentially a cafeteria with a sushi counter.

        Had the miso soup ($6). Nothing special, but a reasonably sized serving. Also had the three-sashimi dish ($15). The sashimi was melt-in-your-mouth good, but the dish still felt awkward because of the size of the slices that meant that they neither could be eaten in a single bite nor were a good fit for the dipping dish that the bar guy would fill with soy sauce rather than letting you fill yourself. ("Oversized slice of sashimi, may I introduce you to an overfilled dish of soy sauce?")

        They have some views, for sure, both of the Bay and the City skyline, but on this occasion, a docked ship blocked most of the Bay views.

        They can probably become a very nice dining option for people visiting the Exploratorium, especially if they work out their kinks, but I highly doubt that this place will become a destination restaurant for locals.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nocharge

          When we went for lunch in May we had all dishes from Sachio-san except the green beans. The fish was pristine but rather humongous as nocharge mentioned. Everything else was tasty but overpriced as you might expect in that locale. The room is a bit rackety, and it is essentially a cafeteria as noted, so not particularly elegant. I'd only go again if in a pinch.

          1. re: nocharge

            Thank you both for more details. Found grayelf's earlier mention,


          2. Thought I'd update this. Seaglass Restaurant was almost empty at 2PM yesterday, though the museum was crowded (though not unbearably). Seemed a bit sterile and was too pricy for what we wanted, so we went back out to the cafe in front. No bay view there, of course, but a great view of Coit Tower. (There's very limited indoor seating, just along one wall in the hallway, so an outside table is the way to go.)

            The batter fried asparagus with spicy aioli was very good. Fried right in front us, it was light, barely greasy and fresh tasting, with bright green asparagus. Still 8 for a large portion. Grilled cheese with ham, and grilled cheese with mushroom were each 9.50, made with large, thick pieces of square bread grilled under a cast iron press -- also fresh tasting. Pretty quick and high quality, though my husband was nostalgic for the cheap hotdogs and huge slabs of Just Desserts chocolate cake at the old Exploratorium. 3.95 for one bottle of Spindrift mango-orange soda was pretty crazy.

            1. The Exploratorium announced last month at Chef Kojima was serving up ramen at lunch time at the Seismic Joint Cafe.

              Eater SF offers more details

              2 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                I tried the chilled ramen with corn, teardrop tomato and chasiu, which I quite enjoyed, more than the tonkotsu ramen at the recently opened outpost of Halu on Valencia. But it might be out of season at this point.

                1. re: barleywino

                  Aha! Some how it didn't register with me a month ago. Here's your post,

                  And yes, if one wants truly firm noodles, hiyashi chuka is the way to go anywhere.

                  (Orenchi opened in the City, not Halu. I wish.)