Farallon Review: Abalone is the Highlight at San Francisco's Whimsical Seafood Restaurant

Sablefish from the Farallones
fava beans, greens, smoked mussel escabeche

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I have never been to Farallon until my recent visit a couple of weeks ago. Farallon has been around since 1997 and is known to be a classic San Francisco seafood restaurant. The restaurant is housed inside of the historic San Francisco Elks Lodge No.3 built in 1925. A step inside and we were transported to an elegant, yet whimsical undersea world, mesmerized by the funky urchin and jellyfish light fixtures. If you're sitting near the open kitchen, you can't miss the hand painted mosaic ceiling. The room we were seated in used to be a boxing room and directly below us a swimming pool for Elks Lodge members only. 

As with any nice seafood restaurant in San Francisco, you can expect the usual raw bar favorites- oysters from the Pacific and Atlantic, grand platters of prawns, crabs, and lobsters. If you're rollin' super fancy, Farallon even has a selection of caviar sold by the ounce and frozen bottles of Stolichnaya or Ketel One to pair with. What really sets Farallon a part though is their local seafood dishes.

Patrick and I were invited as guests of the house to check out the new revamped tasting menu featuring Executive Chef Jason Ryczek's personal touches and wine pairings by Wine Director Luke Kenning. 

The highlights of the evening were the tender Cayucos farm-raised abalone and local halibut crudo with three plays on spring garlic. The wine pairings across the board- brilliant and harmonious. And the three desserts we devoured by Executive Pastry Chef Eleana Rosenthal deserve a tasting menu of its own. 

Of all the desserts we had, we both loved the fennel pollen flan with coriander tuile and creme fraiche. The deep semi-dark caramel flavor had just the right touch of fennel and silky custard that just made me feel like melting into my chair. 

The dining experience we had at Farallon was very nice and the service was superb, but overall it really isn't my kind of scene. There is a classic charm to this seafood restaurant and I think the appetizers and desserts are worth the trip back, though the price point is too rich for my blood to frequent. It's the kind of place you'd want to take someone special for a celebration. 

Cayucos Abalone
house cultured brown butter and white balsamic seafoam 

Local Halibut Crudo
spring garlic: pickled, fried & oil from the tops 

Oak Grilled Dixon Lamb
fiddleheads, raps, morel yogurt

Fennel Pollen Flan
coriander tuile, crème fraîche

Strawberry Shortcake
buttermilk biscuit, strawberry mousse, mint pearls

Port Poached Rhubarb
shortbread, frangipane, caramel, brown butter ice cream

Thank you so much for dinner, Farallon! 


VISITING FARALLON

Location

450 Post Street San Francisco, CA 94102

Website

http://www.farallonrestaurant.com/

Phone

(415) 956-6969

Hours

HAPPY HOUR

  • Daily 4:30pm-6:00pm.

DINNER HOURS

  • Sunday: 5:00 – 9:30PM
  • Monday – Thursday:  5:30 – 9:30PM
  • Friday – Saturday:  5:30 – 10:00PM

JELLY BAR HOURS

  • Cocktails and bar menu available nightly - 4:30pm

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Recipe: Broiled Hamachi Collar (Hama Kama) - Quick and Easy

It's not often that you find fish collars offered on a menu unless you're at a Japanese restaurant, but even so it's usually an item limited to how much fish was brought in for the day. If there is a collar on the menu, I will order it in a heartbeat. It's one of the best parts of the fish because the meat is rich, tender and fatty.

We picked up two insanely marbled sushi-grade hamachi collars, patted them dry,  seasoned them with Maldon salt, and broiled them in the oven.

Patrick did an excellent job with the cook on the hamachi collar and served it with roasted Tokyo turnips (inspired by my recent dinner at Ozumo) and grated daikon-soy garnish with a wedge of lemon. The daikons and lemons were harvested from our garden. This recipe is so simple, yet so incredibly satisfying. Plus, the crispy fatty skin from the hamachi collar is such a pleasurable treat- it's like fish chicharrones. 

Broiled Hamachi Collar (Hama Kama)

Serves 2 people (as an appetizer) 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole yellowtail collars
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon oil

Garnish: 

  • Daikon radish, finely grated in a microplane or box grater
  • Dash of soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to the highest broil and position the rack in your oven to about 8 inches from the top. 
  2. Line up a large baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly brush it with oil to prevent the hamachi from sticking. Dry the hamachi, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and place the collars skin down and broil for 8 minutes until the meat is nicely brown. Turn off the oven, but keep the fish in the oven for an additional 5 minutes until the fish flakes nicely then remove.
  3. Garnish: If there is too much excess liquid from the grated daikon, gently press it through a strainer or paper towel. Mix grated daikon with soy sauce and lemon juice to taste. 

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Say Hello to Our New Shaker-Style Kitchen - Photo Tour + Remodeling Tips to Avoid a Construction Nightmare

Let me tell ya, a kitchen remodeling is not a fun experience to go through. It has been painful dealing with construction conflicts, cooking on the grill everyday (not as awesome as it sounds), washing dishes in the bath tub, and eating our meals in bed. It was like camping for seven weeks while scrambling to find your stuff because you're unable to unpack with the construction overtaking both your kitchen and living room. Sounds awful, right? It really was. I wish someone would have warned me that all those kitchen photos I've been admiring on Houzz and Pinterest comes with a great deal of stress. 

Patrick and I moved in to our new home twelve weeks ago and made it our first priority to get our kitchen remodeled. The kitchen is the most important part of our house because we spend a lot of time together cooking and eating, so we invested a lot of cash and energy into it. I'm not talking about just replacing cabinets and new appliances, we had to tear all of it down and rewire the electrical, add in new plumbing, structural foundation, walls and floors.  The house we purchased was built in 1937, so the kitchen that came with the house wasn't practical for modern day cooking.

Before

When I first saw the kitchen during open house, I thought it was adorable. Patrick and I were super excited to cook on the cast-iron vintage stove that came with our house, but it was more painful to maintain and I had bigger dreams for our kitchen space. 

Here are a few before photos of our staged kitchen before the remodel.

After

You don't even know how much joy and relief I get from telling people that our kitchen construction is over, mostly because we hated dealing with our contractor. I was a bit nervous during the construction due to multiple design errors he made, but our kitchen turned out to be really awesome. It really does feel like a dream come true and we are absolutely in love with it. 

The process of the remodel involved a lot of decisions. For both of us, the functionality of the kitchen was just as important as the design. After countless hours of research, we knew that we wanted a classic shaker-style kitchen, but with a modern industrial twist. You'll notice in the photos that we play off of the stainless steel and satin nickel touches from the appliances, lighting, cabinet handles, and gun metal bar stools. It was difficult to pick a kitchen style because we didn't want it to clash with the existing style of our house and we wanted it to match with our personal style, too.

We eliminated the kitchen/living room wall divider to open up the space and added in a counter bar with cabinets underneath. It did wonders to give the kitchen some more usable counter space for both prepping and eating, in addition to storage.

The idea of an all-white kitchen seemed like overkill, so we had the walls painted with Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl. For our counter tops, we selected a speckled-sparkly white quartz with minerals that shimmer in light. The white subway tile back splash with pewter sanded grout was a great complement to the counters, along with the gray porcelain ceramic floor tiles. The white-gray contrast allows the kitchen to stand out just the perfect amount. 

Product List

Here's a list of the products in our kitchen.

Choose Your Contractor Wisely - Remodeling Tips

The results of our kitchen turned out to be beautiful, but I should have known better than to choose a contractor who was pushy from the start even before signing the contract. The biggest lesson we learned from our first remodeling project is to not select a contractor based on who can turn around a project quickly. The contractors we talked to gave us four to six month completion estimates, whereas ours was estimated at four weeks.

Of the ten contractors we interviewed, the one we decided to move forward with was a huge pain the ass to deal with. He made multiple design and measurement mistakes, which resulted in him in having to go back and redo the work.

If you ever consider a remodeling project, here are some tips you should consider:

  1. Look up all the permits your contractor has been involved in and request to speak to validated references. You can find this information on BuildZoom.
  2. Select a contractor who will explain every step and process along the way without being emotional or defensive every time a question is asked.
  3. If you cannot see yourself enjoying a cup of coffee with your contractor, then think wisely about if you'd want to see this person every single day for several weeks to months. 
  4. Shop for your appliances before a kitchen remodel to get an idea of what you want so your designer/contractor can fit them into the design using product dimension specs.
  5. If you have furniture or household items you care about near the construction site, cover it up well or temporarily move it. Our contractor didn't warn us about the amount of dust our stuff would be exposed to. If we had known, we would have been able to save our dry foods from possibly being contaminated. 
  6. Request to add in a section into the contract that speaks to who is responsible for damage of your property, like cabinet damage or scratched wooden floors. We really wish we did this because our contractor scratched up our newly refinished wooden floors by dragging things across instead of carrying them.
  7. Do not select your contractor based on unverified reviews online. I am convinced that the reviews for our contractor are fake.
  8. If you have doubts about your contractors work, get a second and third opinion while things are still in progress. 
  9. Take progress photos at every stage so it is documented.
  10. It is always a good idea to understand what kind of legal recourse you have if things go wrong. Be sure to select a contractor who is licensed and that he has insurance to cover any issues you may encounter. I would highly recommend chatting with someone from Avvo.com if you need any legal advice as a first step.

 

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