Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ferry Plaza Seafood, San Francisco California

On a trip that included 8 days and 20ish meals plus myriad snacks and desserts, our first stop in San Francisco was the famous Ferry Plaza Marketplace for some fresh seafood at Ferry Plaza Seafood. To be fair, we were warned ahead of time that prices at Ferry Market were generally higher than the quality at other “off the beaten track” stops, but wanting to see ACME, Cowgirl, Recchiuti, and the rest of the market we decided this was as good a place to try some simple crab dishes as anywhere else.

Landing late due to SFO’s poor weather conditions, arrival at Ferry Market was around 2:30pm PST and we were seated immediately at the bar across from Hog’s Island Oysters with a great view of the stormy bay. Our server, a surly elderly lady who wore no nametag and did not introduce herself, handed us menus and poured water before sauntering off to talk with other staff members. With dinner plans for Gary Danko that evening we decided to go with light options and selected the Dungeness Crab Tower with Avocado, Grapefruit, Vinegrette, a Crab Sandwich on ACME French Roll, and a baked Dungeness Crab Cake – we also opted for 3 small ACME dinner rolls which apparently cost 50 cents apiece. After ordering I got up to wander the surrounding Village Market and simply smiled in amusement that such a great place exists – certainly not in Central Ohio.

Food arrived in relatively short order and surprisingly with a smile and a bit of conversation from our server. While all dishes were quite attractive and obviously fresh, the crab sandwich was rather bland and heavy in mayo while the Crab Tower’s fresh crab was compromised by an overly tart grapefruit. The Crab-cake, on the other hand, was a marvelous representation with minimal “binder” and none of that greasiness that tends to encumber pan-fried versions. Lightly seasoned and unquestionably fresh, this may have been the best crab-cake of a trip that included a number of examples chosen by my mother and aunt.

All told, the food was good – but nothing to write home about. The crab was fresh and well prepared, but better flavors and quality were found on a trip to Monterey – in an equally trendy setting on Fisherman’s wharf. The service, while adequate, wasn’t quite as friendly as one would expect either, and the 50 cent per roll charge seemed a tad “nickel-and-dimeish” considering the excessive prices of the food in such a casual setting. All that said, the ACME Bread was quite excellent and left me wanting more – a want which was easily filled by a glorious cinnamon-currant pullapart from the bakery just down the hall.

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