In mid July, husband-and-wife culinary team Evan and Sarah Rich opened Rich Table, a casual Hayes Valley restaurant with a farmers' market-focused menu and a full bar. With résumés listing Coi to Quince to Michael Mina, the pair has worked towards opening their own space since they arrived in San Francisco from New York City over four years ago. Having snagged the former Paul K. on a coveted Hayes Valley corner location, the Rich's want the neighborhood to consider their restaurant a home away from home. Let's look to the early word to see how it's working out to date:
The Buzz News: "This is the official hot ticket in the city right now that everyone is talking about," asserts Ms. Tablehopper in her 5 New Restaurants to Try This Month piece. Zagat's Meesha Halm chimes in, "You gotta love a town where the most anticipated restaurant of the summer is a dressed-down, mom-and-pop in a somewhat off-the-beaten path neighborhood."
The Food News: "The dishes are market-focused, but they're often prepared with a bit of an unexpected twist," says Maggie Hoffman of Serious Eats. Inside Scoop's Paolo Lucchesi elaborates: "Larger plates such as ricotta agnolotti with pork belly, favas and Douglas fir reflect the Riches' willingness to draw inspiration from different cultures and give it a local twist." Yelper Mansi A. comments: "Overall, the food was good, and clearly thought was put into the preparation and presentation. However, it wasn't anything really superb and I wasn't wow'd." On the flip side is former Bar Tartine chef Christopher Kronner, who tweeted that the dishes were "so so so good" and "f*cking delicious."
The Vibe News: Tasting Table describes the space: "clad in unvarnished wood and white tile, [and] is both buzzy and casual." Yelp's Jeffrey J. says it "feels lively and attracts a nice crowd," and Alexandra A. on Yelp, who has dined here twice in the last month, gives it 5 stars, despite the "crowd of hipster (kinfolk magazine clones)" and the restaurant being "very loud unfortunately."
The Sardine Chip News: "Rich Table might want to patent the idea of infusing healthy Omega 3 fatty acids into one of America's favorite junk food indulgences," says SFoodie blogger Tamara Palmer of the sardine chips under the menu's "Bites" section. The chips are "papery, transparent potato chips ($7), fried with sardines threaded through their centers," according to Tasting Table, and are "already Rich Table's main conversation piece."
The Price News: Yelper Christine C. "Seriously cannot believe both the prices and the portions." She elaborates: "The prices are a little high but I'd be more than happy to pay if the portions weren't minuscule." However, Urbanspooner SFChowhound suggests that Rich Table "maybe the best bargain in town for service and food this good." With a 5-star review, Yelper Kate A. adds, "Not sure why others are complaining about prices. This is Hayes Valley, it's expensive, get over it."
The Booze News: Yelper Jeffrey J says, "The Big Night cocktail was a real head turner...It looks like Odwalla's Green Machine (which kind of looks gross), but is actually pretty tasty." And Urbanspooner SFChowhound comments on the wine list: "The wine list is smallish but extremely well chosen, and with only three modest price points you are comfortable choosing whatever you like."
The Dessert News: Yelp's Darryl W. says, "Desserts are simple but worth saving room for. If you don't like this food, you have no taste buds." Boulevard/Prospect pastry chef Jessica Sullivan mentioned a Rich Table dessert in a recent Inside Scoop interview: "I had a delicious panna cotta with stone fruits and toasted almond crumble. It was perfect."
· All Rich Table Coverage [~ ESF ~]