Took a couple clients yesterday to lunch at The Waterfront, which was the first time I'd dined there. We arrived at 12:30. The interior of the restaurant was nice enough, though there were zero diners inside. However, that was due to every table except one being filled out on the covered patio by the waterfront. Most of the tables were parties of 4 or more, many of whom were well-dressed middle-aged and higher folk. We opted for a table on the smaller patio, which was covered by an umbrella and afforded views of both the water as well as the Embarcadero. The smaller patio is walled off by glass, which looks to provide good protection from the wind that often kicks up in the late afternoon.
We perused the menus, and were surprised to see a 3 course prix-fixe menu ($17.50 for the prix-fixe) perched on top of the main menu. I can't remember every item on the prix-fixe, but do remember there were approximately 4 choices each of appetizers and of entrees, with lime sorbet as the dessert course. Another surprise was that the Waterfront's markups for wine/champagne are extremely reasonable. Many of the bottles had less than a 100% markup, with a decent number in the 50% range or less (e.g. 2001 Jordan cab for $60, which is difficult to find for less than $40 retail). The wine list offered a good number of choices for whites, reds and champagnes, most of the choices being Californian, with a sprinkling of French & Italian.
Since my clients were both jonesing for the fish and chips, and we were starting with the Fox Island mussels (broth was tasty with small bits of Roma tomatoes and slices of garlic, though the mussels were on the small side, but a good dish/portion overall) and pancetta-wrapped prawns (which were 4 medium-sized prawns wrapped in OK quality pancetta, served with a mix of wild greens; I wouldn't order this dish again), I opted against the flank steak entree choice for my prix-fixe, and instead ordered the littleneck clams as my prix-fixe first course and the English sole as the second course. The littleneck clams were tasty, and a decent-sized bowl for the price. The English sole was another decent-sized portion and quite good, topped with a light lemon creme sauce, with sides of buttered long-grain rice and sauteed spinach. The fish and chips ($14) came in big bowl, and included huge portions of lightly battered rock cod, OK french fries, and surprise additions of deepfried battered green beans and lemon slices. Both of my clients loved this dish. We washed down everything with a bottle of non-vintage Veuve Clicquot yellow label brut ($68), which complemented the seafood nicely and was also a nice quencher for a warm afternoon on the Embarcadero.
Neither of my clients had any room for dessert, and I didn't bother taking a look at the list as I was enjoying the tartness of the lime sorbet that rounded out my prix-fixe. The bill, which also included an Anchor Steam, mojito (well-made) and Coke that started off our meal, came to a hair under $200 with an 18% gratuity (our server was very good, other than some shakiness while pouring the champagne, which may be due to a slight neurological disorder). Overall, a very satisfying meal, environment and experience. I would definitely go back for lunch, and may also consider it as a dinner destination. Valet parking at lunch was $7.
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