It was raining cats and dogs last night but the storm did not deter us 4 girls from having a delicious and enjoyable Holiday dinner at Wayfare Tavern.
The best description I can give WFT is it looked like a sophisticated saloon with heavy dark wood furniture, oriental rugs and hardwood floors. One of my gf's commented that it was like dining at one's elegant ("but not stuffy" another gf chimes in) dining room. The restaurant was dark, narrow and divided into different sections. Main level is where the open kitchen is located where you might see Chef Tyler Florence in action if you are lucky like us. Upstairs dining has its own bar.
SERVICE: Professional, efficient but slightly stoic.
The place was packed with mature nicely dressed holiday merry-makers.
Um, we had quite a few. We had 10 between 4 of us. I wouldn't say who had how much but the drinks were nicely crafted and strong! We pretty much tried almost every mixed drink on the menu of about 5 drinks including MAPLE SIDECAR, LIEDESDORFF and dessert wines.
I had the OCCIDENTAL which probably could also function as a horse tranquilizer. :) Tangy and too strong for me but well-made, then another glass of a nice Chardonnay. I was still intoxicated 5 hours later! (I took the BART train home.)
POPOVERS: Complimentary hot, custardy pastries instead of traditional baked loaf. The server generously offered us more before our main dishes arrived.
LOCAL FORAGED MUSHROOMS $8
Olive oil & garlic. Oh, so simple yet so delicious! The mushrooms tasted earthy and fresh.
GRILLED MONTEREY BAY CALAMARI $9
Toasted garlic, squid ink vinaigrette, smoked chili oil, breadcrumbs & celery. Another OMG! I didn't want to order this at first because I thought it was the greasy deep-fried kind. This dish was a delicious of fresh tender octopus with tentacles sauteed with of garlic and spices. The crunchy breadcumbs were a very nice addition. We really enjoyed this one!
HANGTOWN FRY $23-
A dying man’s last meal: fluffy Petaluma eggs, crispy oysters, smoked bacon, Jack cheese, Sausalito watercress; potato hash. I've had this few times before at different places. This was the best I've had with the fluffiest egg omelette topped with tender oysters sans bacon. Heather and I ordered this same dish except she had hers with bacon.
GRILLED SANTA MARIA TRI-TIP STEAK $26 -
Slow roasted heirloom onions, truffle butter, crisp Kennebec potatoes.
My picky carnivore friend Jannette loved her dish!
VEGAN "CUSTOM MADE" DISH
Our friend Alexis is vegan. She asked the server if the chef could make a custom made vegan dish for her. She told them to just surprise her. And she was surpised with a nice dish of polenta with mixture of fresh veggies. Maybe Chef Tyler made this dish for her.
FRIED APPLE PIE $9 Orange caramel, sage ice cream. We liked the apple filling but not fans of the crusty thick pie crust. The sage ice cream with fried sage leaves were exotic and nice.
COMPLIMENTARY GINBERBREAD COOKIES: Yummy and sweet touch!
Chef Florence creates dishes that are traditional, comforting and familiar but taken to the next level. They were delightful and not overwhelming ambitious. The potions were generous that despite our hefty tab we had leftovers to take home. A definite must return for me!
TAB: $360 including 10 drinks, tax and 20% tip. ($90 per gal.)
CHEF TYLER FLORENCE:
I didn't expect to see him but he was working last evening. I had the biggest crush on Tyler when I used to watch his food shows when he was still hot and single. He is still cute as I imagined. It was pleasure to see him in action.
FOODIE GIRL'S RATING: Solid 5 Stars even pushing 6!
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)