My Take: Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern

January 6, 2012

The day after Christmas when one would think to ease off the excessive eating and start making resolutions for a healthier diet in the new year, I went with my family to try out Tyler Florence’s SF restaurant, Wayfare Tavern in the Financial District.

The last time I checked out one of his eateries, it was last summer at Rotisserie & Wine.  Since then he has added on Hawk’s Tavern in Mill Valley, bringing the grand total to 4.  I’ll aim for 3 out of 4 by the end of this year and still no diet resolution in place.

The complimentary popovers have a crispy flaky outer layer and the inside is soft with air pockets perfect for filling in with warm butter.

Little note, keep some popover for the steak tartare appetizer.  I loved the dish at Rotisserie & Wine so I thought I’d give this version a try. It comes with torn popovers with a garlicky spread inside but you’ll need more for the generous tartare portion. Wayfare vs Rotisserie: Rotisserie. I liked it more because of the tangy capers and crispy onions.  Wayfare’s has an egg yolk and mustardy dressing which were good but needed some crunch.


Baked macaroni and cheese is a must. The is decadent and rich.  The bread crumb topping finishes the dish off nicely. Wayfare vs Rotisserie: Wayfare. Perfect creamy consistency. Tyler changes up the cheese combination every so often and I just happened to not like the ones I had at Rotisserie.  The sauce needed to be a bit thicker as well.

Shishito peppers were a surprise.  I actually was not familiar with these peppers prior to the meal but I thought I’d be adventurous. I was a little nervous about the spice level so I scraped out the seeds and they had the right amount of kick.  Not too hot. Wayfare vs Rotisserie: Rotisserie. Not quite a direct comparison. At Rotisserie I had sugar snap peas which were bathed in a delicious sauce.  I think that’s why I had wanted to order the peppers thinking it’d have a similar preparation.

Braised lamb shank, horseradish whipped potatoes, orange glazed carrots, toasted barley
My fork barely had to touch it and the meat fell off the bone. This was such an appropriate winter dish. Hearty and comforting. Every single ingredient was so tasty I wiped the plate clean. I especially enjoyed the glazed carrots. Nice and sweet. The toasted barley had a nice bite, al dente which I like. Wayfare vs Rotisserie: Tie. I had ribs at Rotisserie so I can’t really compare. Both equally delicious.

Organic fried chicken, buttermilk brine, roasted garlic, crisp woody herbs, lemon
The star dish of the restaurant lived up to the hype. Nice crispy coating and juicy meat. I do like the use of rosemary. I’ve had Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc fried chicken and this is on par with that. Wayfare vs Rotisserie: Wayfare. Fried is always good.

Sea bass, buttered potato puree, sea bean salsa verde, caviar, grilled lemon
After all the other heavy things ordered, this was a nice dish. The sea bass was delicate and tender. I liked the citrus elements that made the dish refreshing. The caviar was a fun addition. Why not, it’s the holidays.

Overall it was a tie between the two restaurants. Honestly both are worth going to and it just really depends on the preparation. I do like that the menus change with the season so you get a different experience each time.

Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94111



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