|Chicken Lasagna & Popcorn?|
I have lived across the Bay from San Francisco my entire life. As a child, a visit to “the City” was a magical trip to the faraway land of Oz at the end of a winding road of yellow brick. It was a place outside of reality that lay well beyond the boundaries of my childish imagination. I remember my Great Aunt Susan taking me there for extra-special excursions. The day to end all days, we would put on a fancy dress, don our best hats and gloves, and board the bus that would take us across the bridge. Once there, in this place where magic was possible, we would ride the trolley car to the City of Paris with its sparkling crystal dome, to spend the day shopping; or perhaps during the holidays there would be a visit to Santa for photos. For years, San Francisco was as far as I ever traveled away from home and it felt a journey to the Moon itself. Looking forward to a trip to the city was the most exciting thing in the world.
|Fried Squash Balls with pumpkin seeds|
Much of that youthful fascination still lingers when I find myself in this City by the Bay, and she remains a place outside the boundaries of the familiar, having never lost her alluring sense of adventure. As I traverse her often foggy confines, wandering beneath the landscape of towering buildings that scrape the sky, I feel as though I have been transported to Wonderland. There is even a hint of danger — perhaps I will soon be snatched away by the Red Queen and forced to play games for my life. The otherworldliness that bewitched me as a child is a lingering thread of connection that compels me back as often as I can manage. Though vastly changed in architecture and culture, she is now, as she was in my childhood, a large part of the East Bay experience.
RICH TABLE is laid out in such a way as to be incredibly inviting for such a small space. Diners arrive to feel immediately embraced within its walls. Elbowing through crowds is not something I relish when I want to enjoy a meal, so kudos to management for understanding this and setting it up so smoothly. Quite an accomplishment.
We lucked out in our seating assignment, being placed directly adjacent to the kitchen. I’m always a fan of watching them do their magic and this group was particularly lively and obviously enjoying what they do. After a few moments chatting with the expediter, I was informed he was Evan Rich, chef, (co)owner and proprietor of this lovely new addition to the SF dining scene. He is a delightful young man who absolutely gets it. His food was spot on and his attitude for feeding people is undoubtedly the reason. Well, that, along with his significant talent for inventive cuisine.
|Sardine (stuffed) Chips|
We began with cocktails, all of which were delicious. Mine was a concoction of mezcal, my favorite new alcoholic beverage. The modern cocktail, with it’s tinctures of fresh produce, essences of fruit and the occasional spice, is a journey all its own— and their cocktails rival the the standards of the best in the business. Scott Beattie could order a drink here and come away pleased. They were just that good.
The appetizers and “bites” were intriguing, so we ordered several. The Fried Squash Balls had a nice topping of crunchy (I believe) daikon and a smattering of pumpkin seeds, and the Wagyu Tartare was magnificent. Beautiful fatty meat seasoned to perfection. The “Sardine Chips” are house made potato chips literally stuffed with a sardine. They were the crispiest house chips I have ever had. Still warm and not at all soft. I love house chips, but often miss the crunch that a mass prepped chip generally has and have found house made chips a little soft for my tastes. Not true here, as these chips had the freshness without sacrificing the appropriate toothsome bite, add the salty goodness in the middle and one has a really inviting “bite.” Kudos.
|Flatbread with perfect poached eggs....|
THE TAKE AWAY
RICH TABLE is one of those hot places you have to visit. But it is more than that. It was instantly one of those places I must return to, and often. Dining is about more than just good food, and while Chefs Evan & Sarah Rich serve blissful fare, they also know how to invite you to their table in such a way that you want to return. Like dinner at a favorite relative’s house, a meal there is something to be anticipate, enjoyed, and then, once digested, experienced again and again.
|Chocolate Magic (dessert is a must here)|
Chef Evan Rich
Chef Sara Rich
199 Gough St (at Oak St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 355-9085
Speaking of immediate embraces, your writing is also warm and hospitable. Your reverie of childhood really touched me. My Italian grandparents also lived in San Francisco and I remember City of Paris very well and was recently appreciating the fact that Neiman Marcus wasn't allowed to destroy the rotunda, where they currently serve a very nice Afternoon Tea under that magnificent dome. Your Aunt Susan would have appreciated it. My family also had an East Bay connection. I fondly remember piling into the car after Sunday dinner with my mother's parents in San Francisco to drive over the Bay Bridge, to have dessert with my father's family. Remember the hand painted Ghirardelli Chocolate sign on the SF side of the bridge? Or the Hamm's brewery neon sign with it's ever ebbing and flowing beer glass? Perhaps SF was OZ back then.ReplyDelete
But I digress; your writing is lovely and I hope you decide to continue with your reviews. I see it has been several months since this last entry. You've convinced me to try Rich Table and now that I've found your blog I'm going to try some of your suggestions from the East Bay which I love to explore, but feel slightly intimidated by, since I don't know it very well. Keep up the great work. BTW I found your blog through Foodspotting; thanks for linking it to your profile.
You are too kind. I love that we share a similar history. The good news is I've moved my blog to www.eastbayfoodscene.com and am still writing! The bad news is, if it can be considered bad news, I would be ever so grateful if you would repost your comments there where others can share them. Either way, thank you so much for taking the time.Delete