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Seaglass and The Seismic Joint at the New Exploratorium

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[Photos: Patricia Chang]

The brand-new Exploratorium on Pier 15 has finally arrived, and, as previously announced, it brings with it two new restaurants from Coco500's Loretta Keller and Clay Reynolds: Seaglass, a more upscale offering, and The Seismic Joint, a casual cafe. Seaglass is definitely the more high-profile of the two spaces, with a bar filled with dry ice that mimicks the museum's Icy Bodies exhibit, as well as a number of other smaller exhibits. Designed by Olle Lundberg, the 200-seat glass box emphasizes the views of the Bay with tiles that reflect its changing colors throughout the day, and also utilizes Lundberg's trademark concrete floors and modern furniture.

Keller wanted her menu to emphasize the nearby exhibits focusing on algae and seawater, and has incorporated seaweed into a number of dishes. The menu runs the gamut from quesadillas to roast chicken to pizzettas to Welsh rarebit, with a special emphasis on seafood, including four kinds of clam chowder and a raw bar helmed by legendary Kabuto Sushi A&S sushi chef Sachio Kojima (who last earned plaudits during a brief time at the helm of Hecho). In addition to handling the sushi, sashimi, and oysters (all local and Monterey Seafood Watch-approved), Kojima runs the restaurant's pickling program, making traditional Japanese pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Oh, and if you love Coco500's signature fried green beans, you'll find those here as well. On the beverage side, Keller's offering four draft wines and two organic draft beers, as well as a trio of sakes. There's a full bar, emphasizing small-batch artisan spirits, and some interesting-sounding cocktails that incorporate plant ingredients, like sea grapes and aloe-vera juice. Check out the full Seaglass menu here, and be prepared to pull out your smartphone when you arrive to dine, as they're encouraging customers to download the menu on their phones to save paper.

Over in the bulkhead of Pier 15 is The Seismic Joint, a more casual cafe with a limited menu riffing on that of Seaglass. Offerings include Turkish fish stew, fried asparagus, fish and chips, and a Mediterranean salad, as well as desserts like frozen chocolate brownies and a frozen strawberry fool. There's also a beehive frame displaying bees from local apiaries, from which diners can purchase fresh honey cut from the comb and served with Straus yogurt, almonds, and apricots. Thanksgiving Coffee worked with Reynolds to create a special organic and fair-trade roast just for the Exploratorium, which will also be sold out of Dutch-style coffee tricycles that will ride around the pier (soft serve and baked goods will be on hand for those too young to desire a cup). Check out the full Seismic Joint menu here.

Though both spots are open to the public, not just paying museum guests, their hours are tied to the museum's, and thus a little weird. The museum is closed Mondays, open from 10 am-5 pm on Tuesdays, stays open late from 10 am-10 pm on Wednesdays, offers regular 10 am-5 pm service on Thursdays followed by an adults-only, 18+ service from 6-10 pm, and then switches back to the 10 am-5 pm schedule for Fridays through Sundays. We're not sure how they intend to lure non-museum-going diners with those kinds of weekend hours, but time will tell. (And hey, there's always brand-new neighbors Coqueta and Hard Water to sample.) In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing photos of the new Exploratorium's non-culinary aspects, our friends over at Curbed SF have you covered.

· Loretta Keller's Exploratorium Duo to Open April 17 [~ ESF ~]
· Exploratorium Brings On Loretta Keller For Pier 15 Move [~ ESF ~]
· First Look at the Exploratorium's New Pier 15 Home [Curbed SF]

Seaglass Restaurant

Exploratorium Pier 15/17, San Fracisco, Ca