On a recent visit to the rustic Rich Table in Hayes Valley I was impressed with the inventiveness of the food. For example the weaving a sardine through a potato chip is innovative and so is the frying of quinoa to add crunch to a watermelon salad.
The restaurant seats around 52 people, with 10 of those seats being at the bar. I imagine they take walk-ins but a reservation is more likely to get you a seat. There’s a Chef’s tasting menu for $80 where they say they will accommodate food allergies or aversions. There’s also a wine pairing you can add too.
Here’s what we had:
- Sardine chips with horseradish dipping sauce – literally the whole sardine is weaved through the potato chip and then fried. The horseradish dipping sauce was creamy and had a slight kick to it (although I would have liked more). If you like sardines, these are worth a try.
- Dried Porcini doughnuts with raclette – These were decent but not what I expected and frankly, the raclette fondue overwhelmed the porcini dust and made these seem pedestrian. They are essentially fried puffs of doughnut dough dusted with a porcini powder. I’d say if you ordered these you don’t need to order their famous Levain bread. I guess it comes down to weather or not you want fried dough or thick 1 1/2 inch slices of bread.
- Halibut, English pea, Serrano, Chevril – this was done sashimi style laying on a bed of English pea puree with the Serrano peppers sliced on top. I’ve had many versions of sashimi like this but what sets this apart is that normally it’s done with hamachi rather than halibut. Really good.
- Chamomile dressed watermelon, arugula, quinoa salad – OMG! This was not only refreshing and light, but almost had me licking the bowl. MUST ORDER (pictured above). The watermelon was cubed and tossed in a chamomile dressing of lemon, olive oil and chamomile. The fried quinoa gave it a salty crunch which gave the overall dish a nice balance between salty and sweet. The arugula was mostly for presentation. The watermelon and quinoa are the stars of this dish.
- Bucatini, pork belly, black garlic, green coriander – All I can say is, wow! This was the most flavorful of the two pastas we got, but only by a hair. Housemade pasta with tiny cubes of pork belly and tiny cubes of pearl onion topped with Padron peppers in a flavorful earthy sauce that made me want to sop bread into the bottom of the plate. (pictured below)
- Papparadelle, dry aged beef, caramelized onions, gouda – First off, because I’m a sucker for homemade papparadelle this was my second favorite dish overall. That being said, the caramelized onions along with the grated gouda and shredded dry aged beef gave this savory pasta a very slightly sweet flavor which was not overwhelming. (pictured above)
Like every new good restaurant it’s tough to do everything well at the start and the chocolate pot de creme was underwhelming. It had some type of crunchy topping on one side (tasty) and sliced strawberries on the other with the chocolate pot de creme underneath. It had a nice texture balance. However, I think the fact that this was milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate is what we didn’t like about it. It was also a little on the large side in terms of desserts. If you like milk chocolate and strawberries then you will like this and it’s definitely something to share because of the size.
Would we go back? Yes.
Make a reservation: http://www.richtablesf.com/
199 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
Food: California American cuisine