We'd been curious about Waterfront, thinking perhaps it would be a nice place to take out of town guests. So we tried their DAT on Sunday night. HUGE disappointment.
We should have known as soon as we walked into the place. Nobody acknowledged us at first -- the guy who turned out to be the host walked by a few times without making eye contact or saying a word. the place was NOT especially crowded. Finally a guy (apparently employed there) hollered out from across the lounge: "Hi! Why don't you have a seat and someone will be right with you!" Then he proceeds to come make a phone call at the host stand, right in front of us, and grumble about his double-shift.
Finally we were seated and given menus. No mention is made of DAT. We ask the waiter, he told us we could have field greens (not on the regular menu at all), a choice of chicken or shortribs, and sorbet for dessert. At a fish place!! We decided to pass and ordered off the regular menu.
My husband had the clam chowder to start. It was gummy and floury, with a few bits of applewood smoked bacon but the (rubbery) clams were few & far between. This clam chowder might be impressive if your only previous experience with clam chowder is condensed soup from a can, but it was not an acceptable offering for San Francisco, especially at the price (I think it was 8 bucks).
I have to give a mixed review to the entrees. Husband chose a porcini-mushroom monkfish with root vegetables (i think $23). This sounded like a nice fish-for-winter dish but it was bascally a giant kitchen mistake. Way overly salty (this from a guy who sprinkles coarse salt on pepperoni pizza), with muddled psuedo-porcini flavors that did little to enhance the small piece of broiled monkfish nestled within. The baby turnips were the best part.
I had better luck with grilled bass with french fries and grilled vegetables. I first ordered escolar but they were out. Then I had to send the french fries back because they were cold, and inexplicably the waiter took my whole plate back to the kitchen (I was expecting him to just bring a small plate with fresh ones). This of course created a risk that the fish would get cold while it was waiting for fries but luckily it turned out okay. The fish was nicely done, grilled over charcoal I think, with a subtly smoky flavor, cooked through but still juicy inside. I thought the portion size was on the small side for $26 though.
We had wines by the glass -- nothing memorable (a California Viognier and a Syrah, $8 to $10 for a glass, don't recall the producers but I am betting the wines retail for $20 or less.)
We passed on dessert.
IN SUMMARY: The only way I'd consider going back to Waterfront is for somehting like late afternoon drinks and appetizers (the fried calamari looked like it could be good), with friends from out of town, when we wanted to sit overlooking the water on a beautiful sunny day. Don't even consider it if the view won't be a factor (i.e. at night in winter). Then do not order anything AT ALL "creative" -- stick with the likes of grilled fish and french fries, don't expect very competent service, and be prepared to pay extra for the view!
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