Occupation: Restaurant Captain
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Wexler's
Reviewed Wexler's: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
We have dined at Wexler's about 30 times and tried many of their dishes. Here is the deal: Imagine you walk in to a huge old classic bar filled with hundreds of bottles of spirits. Take every bottle away that is artificially colored, and or flavored and you have Wexler's entire stock remaining. The thought put into Wexler's products that they sell not only focus on American made products, but also they simply do not carry mass-produced spirits that are in many ways tricking the public. Matt Wexler has put together an amazing drink program that includes individually tailored drinks for people with fresh fruit, herbs, oils, and a few other tricks he has up his sleeve. The marriage of food, wine, and spirits at Wexler's does not happen without much thought and careful attention to detail.
From the moment you walk in the restaurant, your eyes are taken to the award-winning sculpture on the ceiling that evokes black smoke coming from the kitchen and pushing all the way to the front door. Aside from the two very simple light fixtures in the space, they have kept it very clean and modern in décor, which lets you focus on the task at hand. That task is BBQ, and it's just the right place to do it. Super knowledgeable staff help you decide on what's best, and offer many suggestions on how to enhance your BBQ experience. Wexler's claims to be UPSCALE BBQ, and indeed that is fitting, but in many dishes I see the elements of BBQ and all that it comes with distilled to very clean and focused flavors. BBQ au jus with seafood offer really light, but smoky surprises on the menu.
The absolute best thing on the menu is the scotch eggs. Now traditionally, these are eggs coated with a thick layer of sausage and bread then fried to crispy-runny-yolk-perfection. At Wexler's they use the burnt tips of the BBQ short ribs instead to achieve this very unique starter that you will find no where else in San Francisco. The Japanese cucumber salad is the other shining star of first courses. The texture of a really good slaw with the freshness of the cucumber is just sublime. Every bit of this salad is balanced perfectly, and well received when eating Wexler's unique smoked treats. This last dinner we had three entrees for just the two of us. We had the vegetarian smoked King Trumpet mushrooms plate, which had focused smoke with every bite in a way that was not obtrusive. The manicured nature of the dishes and surprising combinations of flavors and vegetable-switching trickery always leaves you guessing and wanting more. The short ribs are the shining star of the entree section, served off the bone and gently placed on mashed potatoes with a kohlrabi-turnip kraut that will knock your socks off.