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Oh Yes, There Will Be Fish at Waterbar

Breathtaking views will be a given at Waterbar, as will marine life.

With the Mint Plaza doings trudging along and the Fillmore Heritage Center facelift tucked away in the Fillmore District, the title of the most anticipated, high-profile restaurant development in the city may fall upon Pat Kuleto's Rincon Park project. Sitting right next to each other on the edge of the bay, Waterbar and Epic Roast House are still slated to open around the new year, but Kuleto and company are well-ahead of the curve when it comes to showing off the under-construction place to media folks. Here are some early impressions by 7x7 from last week's sneak peek of Waterbar:

The most striking thing about the space—aside from the sweeping Bay views—is that this restaurant is more like a restaurantarium—or maybe an aquarestaurant? They consulted with folks over at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to construct and fill two enormous columns in the main dining area with colorful fish from around the world— don't be surprised if you come face to face with a piranha from the Amazon. Then there will be four 150- to 200-gallon tanks by the kitchen full of live fish destined for your plate.
Giant fish tanks for display? Check. Giant fish tanks for use? Check. Throw in some rumored "tableside theatrics," and you've got quite the recipe for a mega-production. There's a fine line between a showy environment and a theme-park atmosphere, but with star restaurants like Boulevard, Farallon and Jardiniere on his resume, Kuleto has definitely earned the benefit of the doubt. We're fairly certain Waterbar will quickly shoot to the top of San Francisco's dining destination, but still, that's a lot of flash. Fishneyland, anyone?
· Rincon Park Restaurants [Official Site]
· Under Construction: Waterbar [Bits + Bites]