Occupation: Journalist / Program Host
Favorite Restaurant: Park Tavern
Reviewed Park Tavern: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
This is in the old Moose’s restaurant in North Beach, and it’s one of my personal favorites in San Francisco. I sometimes like to skip the entrée and instead share a bunch of appetizers with friends. Park Tavern is the perfect place to do that. It has an extensive, creative appetizer menu with 3 sections: smoked, raw, fried.
My friend and I had something from each category:
Smoked: Deviled eggs with bacon, pickled jalapeno and chive. Wow! I had a burst of salty, spicy, and creamy goodness from each bite.
Raw: New York strip steak crudo. Some of the most tender beef I’ve ever had. Practically melts in the mouth. A winner!
Fried: Cornmeal crusted oysters. The cornmeal crust is creative and adds a nice crunchy texture.
The “demons on horseback”—smoked lardo-wrapped prawns—were excellent.
Salads are usually a nice starter, a conversation star. Here, the wild arugula salad was one of highlights of the evening. It had a great balance of flavors. The mild bitterness of the extremely fresh arugula paired beautifully with the buttery porcini mushrooms and charred onion vinaigrette. We were so full after the five appetizers, we didn’t need dessert!
The atmosphere here is wonderful—lively, multi-generational, and good people watching North Beach through the big windows. It looks like Park Tavern may have broken the Moose’s curse.
If you’re looking for a quiet restaurant, though, this is not the place! It’s noisy and crowded…but hey, it’s North Beach!
Occupation: Senior Science Editor
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Chop Bar
Reviewed Park Tavern: Thursday, May 31, 2012
I love North Beach and the wine and garlic-filled restaurant scene; I just never go because of the parking. So, for our visit to Park Tavern, we began planning out the parking options the night before. We found a reasonable lot, colorfully reviewed in Yelp, a few blocks away.
On an early Thursday evening the place was totally packed. We had a great view from our two-person booth of the other diners, the open kitchen on one side and, through the window, Washington Square Park. I thought the service, drinks, and food was all terrific. We were certainly not at a loss for servers and in total we had four: two men came over and took our drink orders, we had an entrée server, and a deserts server.
We ordered a couple of glasses of wine after consulting with our drink server. Park Tavern has a huge wine list by the bottle that looks very impressive and some very nice glasses in the 11 and 12-dollar range. We ordered the Grüner Veltliner and the Verdicchio. Both were excellent and healthy pours. We also asked for a serving of fried Brussels sprouts chips which were, unfortunately, way too salty.
My partner had the poached halibut with fern heads, peas, and clams in a savory miso broth. It was delicious but could have been a bit warmer, unlike my main course, the Poulet Rouge over Bloomsdale spinach with baby potatoes. The roasted Cornish game hen was tender, juicy, and piping hot. The spinach was a little too oily for me but tasted good mopped up with the warm, sourdough baguette served with dinner. I wish the bird had not been such a head turner. It’s served whole, standing straight up on a skewer in the middle of a cast iron plate -- as if the entire thing is about to do a little tap dance, or something. That was weird.
We finished off the meal with okay decaf press pots and goat panna cotta, which was quite good, light and creamy. I am going to recommend Park Tavern to some friends visiting North Beach next month. As for myself, it was a little too noisy and crowded and a bit of a schlep. But if I am in the neighborhood, I will definitely stop by for round two of the Poulet Rouge, but this time ask them to carve it for me.
Occupation: News Anchor
Location: Los Altos
Favorite Restaurant: Roti Indian Bistro
Reviewed Park Tavern: Monday, June 4, 2012
This is a night on the town in the heart of North Beach. Park Tavern has a New York feel to me. It’s big, vibrant and stylish. Come with at least 4 people so you can sample several items. Don’t bother circling for parking in North Beach; go right to the valet.
The menu is bold, which might not suit some people. We had fun with it. We enjoyed the starters: deviled eggs with pickled jalapeno and the New York strip steak crudo. I wasn’t thrilled with the whitefish dip. The Poulet Rouge and Marlowe Burger did not disappoint.
Like most restaurants, part of the lure of Park Tavern is the location. It’s been years since I was excited about dining in North Beach. Park Tavern has changed that.
A few things to be aware of: after parking, cocktails (nice classic martini), starters, entrees, etc, be prepared to spend some money. And there is nothing “neighborhood-y” about Park Tavern. This is a new scene and “seen” of the San Francisco dining circuit.
You’ll see me back there!