The space at Twenty Five Lusk sets up great expectations: Housed in a former smokehouse and meatpacking facility that dates to 1917, architect Cass Calder Smith’s dining room has a modern-industrial style with details like smoked mirrors, suspended fireplaces, and tropical wood veneers amid massive windows and exposed brick. “The food and service held up very well even though they could easily have been overshadowed by the spectacular interior,” comments nocharge.
Chef Matthew Dolan’s résumé includes Garibaldi’s, the now-closed Café des Artistes in New York, and Emeril’s in New Orleans. So maybe it makes sense that he’s serving French-inspired, California-influenced contemporary food. Whatever it is, you’d better be in the mood for his vibe, because the menu is pretty brief—seven first courses and eight entrées, with just a couple of vegetarian options.
On the whole, Foodnut8 was impressed by the quality of the food. The starter of cauliflower crème brûlée, with truffled wild arugula and sunchoke escabeche, plays with sweet and savory flavors. “Really a creative dish, with great texture and flavor,” says DezzerSF. Grilled quail is juicy and cooked just right, says Foodnut8, with ginger carrot purée. Seared diver scallops, huge and tender, are caramelized beautifully and brushed with a tangy lobster cream sauce. There’s just one lobster ravioli in an order, but it’s packed with lobster, in a delicious saffron broth augmented with Thai basil.
As for the mains, Foodnut8 says the grilled pork rib chop was top-notch, juicy and flavorful, with bacon-accented Brussels sprouts. Verbena-steamed halibut looks deceptively healthy, but it’s no dieter’s penance. Cooked perfectly and not overwhelmed by the light vinaigrette, it’s also a must-order, Foodnut8 says. The grilled top lamb sirloin is solid, good for lamb lovers. DezzerSF was less pleased with dinner, saying the pork chop, short ribs, and lamb loin were “bland and uninspiring,” and also disappointed in the service.
You can get a sampling of three desserts rather than one full-size dish—spicy chocolate truffle cake with crème anglaise and raspberry sorbet is particularly decadent.
The downstairs bar is a happening scene at happy hour, with bar food like a short-rib slider. There’s an extensive and expensive wine list, and good cocktails.
Twenty Five Lusk [South Beach]
25 Lusk, San Francisco