Yesterday, myself & 6 others made a last-minute reservation to Town's End, a stone's throw from SBC Park on Embarcadero. Our party of 7 easily secured a 6:30 Saturday reservation.
They just started a new Wed-Sun prix fixe deal for $17.95: pick any appetizer/soup/salad, any entree, & any dessert! What's even more amazing is that this is NOT an early bird special. This is such a steal considering the entrees average around $13, with the ribeye being about $16.
Service was a little slow, with the waiter apologizing for the delay by saying there were a few large parties, but from what we could see, there were ~20 other people in the restaurant, not that crowded. However, they did bring a wonderful basket of breadsticks, olive bread, & cheese bread along with our water promptly.
- Grilled prawns with salad greens, fresh mozzarella, grilled portabello mushrooms, & polenta croutons: I did not try any of this but was told that the polenta croutons were still warm & that this seemingly strange combination worked well.
- Polenta cake in some kind of sauce: my sister ate every bite and pronounced it delicious.
- Organic greens, fresh peaches, bleu cheese, & toasted walnuts in a citrus dressing: one of the best salads I've had in a long time! The peaches were perfectly ripe & their juices made the dressing light & refreshing. Amount of bleu cheese was not overwhelming- it was cut up into small enough pieces so that you're not just eating cheese.
- Other starters on the menu included crab cake, seared tuna, corn chowder, & other salads.
- Peking duck: not your Chinese peking duck, it was more of a duck breast roasted & sliced up boneless. I tasted it with some sort of (cherry?) sauce- the meat was seasoned well but there was still a little too much fat on top. Served with potato-carrot pancakes that were crispy like hash browns but lacked depth in flavor.
- Ribeye: large piece of ribeye in a pomegranate sauce, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, green beens & carrots: the most popular entree at our table, each of my friend's ribeyes were cooked exactly as ordered. The bite I had of the ribeye was well-seasoned.
- Fillet of sole: served in a lemon, white wine, & caper sauce. A little too much tartness in the sauce, but the fish was very fresh, lightly floured & sauteed. Served with roasted potatoes & vegetables.
- Other entrees on the menu: risotto, pasta, roasted pork, chicken, beef brisket.
- Blueberry & peach cobbler: served warm, the topping was almost scone-like: very buttery but perfectly- matched with the fruit & a little whipped cream on top. I ate every bite!
- Pistachio torte with apricot raspberry sauce: not liked at the table, I had a bite & it was too dense & had too much pistachio flavor that was almost bitter.
- Milk chocolate cheesecake with raspberry sauce: although I'm not a fan of milk chocolate, it made the cheesecake very light & mousse-llke: not something I expected from a cheesecake. I had a bite & it was okay but not something outstanding.
Bottom line: this place is an outstanding value for a 3 course meal. There are hits & misses but they execute California cuisine well. The open kitchen showed only 2 people on the line, which is impressive considering the extensive menu that I personally feel they could pare down. I liked that things on the menu were very seasonal & that all our food arrived hot. (By the way, on Tuesday nights the prix fixe is only $14.95, but I think the difference is that you only pick soup or house salad as the starter.)
The feel of this place is local but nice, with tablecloths on the table. I know this is a popular spot for bruch & for baked goods (they have a bakery counter). I'm not sure how long this prix fixe will last, but I believe they just started it. I couldn't find a website but you can make reservations over the phone. I wish there was a place like this in the East Bay!
Town's End Restaurant & Bakery