Town Hall is a very fancy restaurant in the heart of San Francisco. It may be the fanciest place I’ve been to yet.
Their menu is rather limited. But the taste behind each dish definitely makes up for it. The setting in and of itself is pretty spectacular. ‘Bon Appetit’ magazine had this to say about the restaurant in their June 2004 edition, “Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio has become a veritable culinary college, and the latest three to graduate are the Rosenthal brothers, Mitchell and Steven, and cohort Doug Washington. The trio recently opened Town Hall in an old ship engine manufacturing building in the South of Market neighborhood. ‘It resembles a New England schoolhouse, redone stylishly with fanciful light fixtures,’ says Sens, who likes the menu’s wide range of American regional cooking, particularly the southwestern gumbo.”
Even the SF Chronicle’s Michael Bauer got up in arms when Town Hall first made it’s move into the culinary world of San Francisco. He was impressed with everything (like I was), from the chefs, the location, and even to the same dessert that I had, “The most memorable is the layers of butterscotch and chocolate in a pot de creme topped with a thin blanket of butter crunch”.
Now let me tell you, my meal was amazing, almost every aspect of it was perfect, but the pot de creme just wasn’t my cup of… mousseyness. I was already quite full before dessert came, and wasn’t really feeling up to it (which may be the reason why I couldn’t fully enjoy it). When the butterscotch and chocolate in a pot de creme came to our table, I knew I was not going to be able to finish what I was about to start. It was one of the richest desserts I’ve had in some time, which is saying something. It did have what I thought might be a redeeming quality in that it had some toffee stuck lightly into the top layer of the mousse, but it wasn’t nearly like mom used to make.
Overall, everything was pretty nice as most other reviews concluded with Town Hall. I got the soup special of the day, which was a sweet corn soup.
It was decent, I don’t really ever have corn soups at restaurants. SF Magazine said, “This food come from our memories. It’s what we grew up with and what we’ve learned over the years as cooks”. I guess my childhood was vastly different from this writer, because this soup and all of the food in general is nothing like any mother I knew ever cooked! Not to say it wasn’t delicious, but much of this was Greek to me!
I happened to be with my boss, who got the Lemon Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato salad, Feta Cheese, Nicoise Olives, Tomato Crostini, and Lemon Vinaigrette to start off with. She said she was quite pleased with her starter. I was pretty happy with mine as well. They both went great with the whole grain bread that they brought out as an appetizer (although it could have been warmed. Who doesn’t like warm bread?)
For my entree I got the Beeler Farms pork chop, fingerling potatoes, Fuji apples, peanut tasso butter, and apple cider jus for a mere $27. This was probably one of the best dishes I’ve had in San Francisco yet, and definitely the best pork chop I’ve ever had in my life. They even utilized applesauce, which I didn’t seem on par with the classiness. Maybe they wanted to do it more like Mom did (I know mine did) by using applesauce on their porkchops. They even threw in some Fuji Apples, which was a great choice.
Everything was great. To top it all off, when they brought the check, they brought it in an old book. Many other people who had previously been to the restaurant had written all in the pages with some crazy, some nice, and some pretty down-right odd comments. Before I left, I was sure to leave my unrefined mark in the first few pages, where hopefully it will serve to entertain the socialites that frequent Town Hall.