But don’t forget to bring your Goldcard, because this place isn’t for the penurious. And just to get a few more housekeeping tidbits out of the way….YES, Waterbar does charge a 4% health initiative surcharge on all food and beverages- but don’t even get me started on this one–better yet, take it up with Arnold. And, as for “Wolfie”, short for Wolfgang, the infamous eel lazily swimming laps around the circular aquarium, he’s already got his own fan club, but watch out ladies, word is that he’s spoken for. His girlfriend conceals herself deep in the rocks, popping out occasionally to feed him some sea urchins, and then goes back into hiding.
Pat Kuletto scores another home run with his dramatic glass, steel, and floor to vaulted ceiling brick walls showing off spectacular Bay Bridge views. The picture-perfect panorama provides the bulk of the decor, accented with just a few dramatic touches i.e. the 19-foot tall, circular aquariums sparkling with a colorful assortment of local marine life (Just look, don’t Eat) and a hand-blown chandelier made up of caviar-colored glass balls highlighting the Bar.
As for the food, Pat Kuleto selected the culinary dream-team: co-owner Mark Franz (Farallon), managing partner Pete Sittnick, executive chef Parke Ulrich and executive pastry chef Emily Luchetti. The wait staff could not be better trained (which makes sense since many came steness Crab Gratin served in Marrow Bones. Gilded with a subtle truffle touch, this novel presentation scored a Perfect 10. We actually were fighting over the last little crab bits stuck in the nooks and crannies of the bones.
The Grilled Monterey Sardines, served with crunchy little ceci beans scattered over the luscious lemon bagna cauda, earned another two thumbs up.
Our Pressed Lobster, a brilliant reinterpretation on Chinese pressed duck, was served in a lovely pool of fragrant fennel lobster sauce, utilizing every last ounce of flavor pressed from the shells and has potential to be Waterbar’s stand-out signature dish…unfortunately, the lobster itself was so salty it destroyed the dish. Sadly, the same held true for our gorgeous wood-smoked Whole Sole.
Farallon Executive Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti, is overseeing the desserts at Waterbar. We nibbled on her cookie (powdered sugar Mexican Wedding variety) and truffle plate, as we planned what we’d order on our return visit. Next time I’ll definitely tell them I’m on a “low-sodium diet” and for sure I’m ordering the dramatic whole Rock Cod “Colbert” that the table next to us described as “the ultimate in fish & chips.”
399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 284-9922