Sunday, May 25, 2008

Epic Roasthouse

Having gone to my third and most likely final graduation last weekend, I still think all the ceremony is a whole bunch of fluff, complete with inspiring speeches that no one really remembers, uncomfortable shoes, and grad caps that either make us look like painters or bakers, depending on the angle. Needless to say, I was incredibly happy when it was all over, and I could proceed to take countless obligatory photos and sip on free champagne at the reception. Oh, and get rid of my ridiculous baker's cap.

By the end of the reception, I was starving and couldn't wait to sit down for dinner. I had made reservations at Epic Roasthouse a month earlier, and was excited to try Chef Jan Birmbaum's offerings.

One of the most amazing things about Epic is the view of the ocean and the Bay Bridge from the restaurant. It's the stuff of those "I [Heart] SF" postcards. Epic has tall windows on each side of the restaurant, so you can admire the view completely while enjoying your meal.

As for decor, the space was classically comfortable, with tall ceilings and plush carpeting. Dominating the middle of the restaurant was a prominent seven-foot flywheel with bold red paint.

Birnbaum wanted to go "beyond the traditional steakhouse," and this was evident from the menu. Steak was obviously the main attraction, with staples like prime rib, rib eye, and New York strip, along with classic steakhouse sides like mushrooms and spinach. Yet there were also plenty of other meat offerings (e.g., Wild Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Pork Belly and Balsamic Pork Reduction), as well as seafood (e.g., Wood Oven Roasted Half Dungeness Crab with Cipollini Onions and Fingerling Potatoes).

My mom always begins judging a restaurant by the quality of its complimentary bread. She really, really likes bread. Lucky for her, Epic served three different kinds!

Our favorite was the cheese-filled popover on the left. We shamelessly kept asking for more.

For an appetizer, we started off with a set of four baked oysters - two Rockefellers and two Bienvilles. Both were excellent, and I especially loved the melted cheese and breadcrumbs atop the Rockefellers.

Baked Oysters 2x2 ($12)

My dad and I decided to split the Rib Eye for two, a 32-ounce medium-rare feast presented bone-in, like all the other steaks at Epic. Good texture on the meat and savory accompanying sauces, all of which paired wonderfully with the bottle of Joseph Phelps Le Mistral that I had saved for my graduation. Yet I have to admit that I'm still quite partial to the scrumptious steaks at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Yes, it's a chain and has never been featured in movies, but that is still my default steakhouse. Maybe I just like buttery-flavored steaks.

Wood Oven Roasted Rib Eye for Two with Horseradish and Black Pepper Creme Fraiche ($84)

One of my favorite red wines! ($25 corkage fee)

My mom's salmon was delicious, just barely cooked all the way through and perched atop fresh asparagus stalks. It was nice to see (or taste) that the seafood here was just as good as the steak!

Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon with Asparagus and Housemade Pancetta Vinaigrette ($27)

Side of Wild Sauteed Mushrooms ($9)
Thick and chewy - great with the rib eye!

And of course, we couldn't forgo dessert, my favorite part of a meal! We split the chocolate souffle and the vanilla creme brulee.

Warm Scharffenberger Chocolate Soufflé with Caramel Sea Salt Ice Cream ($10)

The cool, subtle flavor of the caramel ice cream contrasted well with the rich, warm, slightly bitter-sweetness of the chocolate. This is the stuff of chocolate lovers' dreams.

Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Citrus Salad ($10)

I personally liked the creme brulee more, since I'm not the biggest fan of dark chocolate. Epic's creme brulee was nicely done, with smooth custard under a perfectly burnt sugar coating, and fresh berries on the side.

Overall, definitely an epic experience, along with an epic bill at the end. And now I'm also curious about Waterbar, which is right next door...

Epic Roasthouse
369 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 369-9955


Unknown said...

Your mom loves bread too? I like to judge part of a restaurant's quality based on its bread. Chez Spencer has some pretty darn good bread and so does One Market. Mmm....your pics are making me drool. But that creme brulee crust looks slightly more burnt than does the one at Chapeau!, or maybe it's been too long since I've been to Chapeau! I say we celebrate the end of the bar exam with a super duper scrumptious meal! What do you say? Nothing can motivate us more than food - and out-of-this-world food at that. I vote for Cafe Majestic!

Erica said...

Whaaa you don't like dark chocolate? Blasphemous!

Food looks deliiicious. I have also yet to find a place that beats Ruth's Chris too - esp its filet mignon, mmm.

Did I tell you my grad dinner was In n out? haha would love to celebrate end of bar w/ scrumptious meal, but alas i'm all the way down here. :( Planning on going up to visit around end of Aug though, if you guy will be around.

Anonymous said...

Glad someone agrees with me about Ruth's Chris!