Pros: clean, well appointed, great staff, reasonable prices, variety menu
Cons: Garlic? come on ...
The Bottom Line:
"Pop a bottle pour your self a shot or even brew your own If your going to drink might as well drink until you hit the floor" ~Lil Wyte
I am of Irish-Italian descent, Diane is Irish all the way, although I occasionally can get her to step into an Italian dish. Especially since I do all the cooking. So it stands to reason that we would be partial to potato products and even garlic but, come on, the two should never meet. It almost seems sacrilegious to marry these items. But that is exactly what happened when we took a trip to 21st Amendment Breweryin San Francisco, located in the SOMA district.
It seemed like a simple enough request when we asked the concierge at our hotel where we could get a good burger and fries within walking distance. I realize everyone has different tastes and, apparently, different judging of 'walking distance'. His directions of two little blocks translates into about a half-mile in San Fran talk.
Ambiance & menu: Like many of the restaurants we saw in San Fran, the menus are posted outside the restaurant so you can decide if you even want to enter. Once entering you find plentiful tables, a generous bar area, and booths in the main area. There is a mezzanine which I think they keep for large parties or overflow when there is a game in town, since they are only two blocks from the Giants field. The tables are solid top, generally seating two but close enough together for a crowd to interact with each other. Chairs outfit the aisle way while benches cover the other side for seating.
It is best to go during daylight hours for lighting reasons. Toward the evening the fall back on the pub look with candle or faux-candle operation for lighting. Very chummy if you are trying to wine and dine someone but for a coupla old ladies trying to get a meal ... not so much. This is because the overall impression of the place is a lot of heavy wood, which naturally darkens it up anyway, then the dim lighting does little for menu reading but the candlelight makes you look gorgeous. Along with the ale they are imbibing, I am sure.
Since I knew this was a brewery pub I figured they would serve up a decent burger with a side of fries. Oh contraire my friends. Out of the selections for appetizers; Calamari, Beer Battered Onion Hoops, Meatloaf Sliders, Quesadilla, Grilled Jumbo Asparagus, Wilson's Wicked Wings, and Black Beer Braised Baby Back Ribs, it didn't take a minute to decide on the ribs - which seemed the safest choice. Average price ranged $9.95 for a selection.
Soup/salad ranged from $4.95 - $12.95 and covered Soup of the day, Brew Free Chili, Buffalo Chicken Cobb, Field Greens, Chopped Salad, The Wedge, and Spinach/Arugula Salad. Each comes with a variety of added ingredients and toppings and all are clearly marked, as is all their food, if it is Veggie [not Vegan] approved. Most are served with a vinaigrette dressing of some type.
Dinner entrees covered a wide range: Roasted Jerk Chicken, Fresh Tacos, Brewmaster's Fish & Chips, Moules et Frites, Breast of Chicken Madeira, Grilled Rib Eye Steak, House-braised Niman Ranch Pot Roast, Double-Cut Pork Chop, Pasta or Risotto. In general they were served with some type of fries, called by many different names; roasted garlic mashed potatoes; fresh garden vegetables, and even rice pilaf. Average price is $20, starting at $14.95 and going up to $23.95 per entree.
Pizzas are individual size, made with beer mash crust and come with the following toppings: Hawaiian, BBQ Chicken, Classic Four Cheese, Vegetarian, Meat Lovers, and Margherita. Prices range from $10.95 - $11.95.
Their specialty sandwiches consist of: El Cubano, Grilled Chicken Breast, Reuben, Grilled Veggie Sandwich, all served with a variety of toppings and side dishes of hearty fries, house salad, or Housemade Kennebec Chips. Prices range from $11.95 - $12.95.
Finally ... their Classic Burger made from NimanRanch ground chuck, served with sliced tomatoes & grilled onions and a choice of potatoes or mixed greens. In addition you can add a large selection of cheese toppings along with Blue Cheese, Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Housemade chili, or Sauteed mushrooms, for an additional cost [$1.50]
So with our appetizer of Black Beer Braised Ribs, we felt kind of safe of going with the Classic Burger & fries, which was the original reason we made the trip to this place. Since we no longer drink [alcohol + medications = disaster], we safely ordered chilled water. Even with that it was choices: chilled glass? glass & ice? lemon? geez ... how about a dang glass of water for pete's sake?
Service & pricing: We were greeted friendly when we entered and promptly shown a table/booth affair. With all the hoopla sitting on tabletops anymore, a two-person table is crowded before food even arrives. Orders were taken quickly and courses arrived as they should, with no rush. Real plates, glasses, and silver was used - I hate that fast food junk, I swear.
The meal was beautifully and artfully displayed on our plates, which is saying a lot for burger & fries, and our cooking preferences were met to the smallest detail. There was a superfluousamount of food piled on that platter andthe aroma was delicious, coupled with the raw malty smell of the place. Then I bit into a fry. What the )*(&*%(O_!?* did they do to the lowly french fries? Garlic? Really? I should have know that someplace that cooked with so many wines and sauces would screw up something as simple as Fries. Pity.
There was no room left, after the enormous burger, sans fries, for dessert. However, I did note their offerings, all priced $6.95: Walnut Cranberry Bread Pudding w/vanilla sauce & whipped cream, Martini Sundae, Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, Lemon-Buttermilk Panna Cotta, White Chocolate Chip Brownie, and Housemade Rootbeer Float. They all looked perfectly sinful.
They offer a variety of house specialty drinks which include: Housemade soft drinks, Fresh strawberry lemonade, Arnold Palmer, coke products, iced tea, hot teas, bottled water, and French Press coffee. Look to spend $2.50 - $3.50 per drink.
Other amenities available: upper Mezzanine holds 50 or a private party but you can also book the entire restaurant and/or outdoor patio area, accommodating up to 200 people.
Overall impression: It was extremely neat and clean. Well appointed without being pretentious. The bathrooms were spotless and policed regularly. From what I observed, they didn't let the casual passerby drop in just to use the facilities, it was for patrons and staff only.
The food was reasonably priced with menu variations for lunch [11:30-2:30], late lunch [2:30-5:30], dinner [5:30-11:00] and Sunday brunch [10:00+2:30]. Their normal hours of operation are: Monday - Thursday: 11:30am to 12:00am Friday & Saturday: 11:30am to 1:00am Sunday: 10:00am to 12:00am Kitchen closes at 10pm daily
Preparation and presentation are very good, if you are a garlic lover. You can tour the brewery, which is located upstairs, during certain hours and the kitchen is open to the public and on site in the restaurant seating area. It wasn't exactly what we were looking for but the burger was decent and the walk was good to work off the extra poundage.
My thanks to John, bruguru, who has been diligently adding restaurants to the database for me. what a trooper!
21st Amendment Brewery 563 2nd Street San Francisco, California USA 94107 415-369-0900