Angler is chef Joshua Skenes’s first follow-up to his three-Michelin-starred restaurant Saison. It’s a la carte; it’s “sea-life” focused; it’s kind of a big deal.
A big deal because second efforts from high-profile chefs are usually awaited on pins and needles, but it’s also literally quite big — especially compared to Saison’s 18-seat dining room — featuring 116 seats throughout two dining rooms, bars, and lounge areas. And like all of Skenes’s endeavors, it’s incredibly detailed at every level, from the interior featuring a full-size taxidermy bear to the cleverly designed 30-foot custom hearth and wood grill that easily takes center stage in the dining room.
The restaurant is a natural extension of the work that Skenes’s team has done at Saison for years, pulling from the same carefully written playbook that centers around live fire and whole product utilization. Like at Saison, dishes are seasoned with the restaurant’s own pantry of preserved, fermented, dried, and aged ingredients. And, as at Saison service is intended to be warm, but extremely attentive, with suited captains anticipating a diner’s every movement.
The difference: “You have 100 percent democracy in what you eat and and how you assemble a meal,” says Skenes. “It’s not casual like Fuddrucker’s, but it’s a lot more casual than Saison.”
That’s not to say Saison, with its matching ‘80s playlist and smart dress code isn’t fun — Angler is just a larger, more exuberant version, a place one might go with a group to order a table full of dishes to share. That’s not the course of action at Saison, where the tasting menu costs $298 per person; Angler’s dishes will range $12-$28 for smaller dishes, and $20 to $48 for mains like whole petrale sole, or hot grilled rabbit.
“You come in and you can order whatever you want,” says Skenes. “When I go out I usually don’t want a composed dish necessarily, unless you go to a really exceptional place,because something on [that dish] is usually an afterthought. At Angler, diners can pick a vegetable, a salad, a piece of grilled fish or meat, and you just eat it as soon as it comes out.”
“It’s meant to be interactive,” says Skenes. “Family-style eating is the best thing, so it’s all kind of built around that.”
It’s also built around a stunning dining room designed by Skenes and his team, featuring live edge wooden tabletops, bright and colorful tile, and a rather large number of animals, both taxidermy (mounted on the walls of the Game Room) and reproduced in fiberglass (game fish on the walls of the main dining room). Near to the kitchen live tanks bubble, filled with abalone, urchin, fish, and all manner of sea creatures, delivered daily by fisherman to the pier outside the restaurant.
Wines from wine director Mark Bright come from all over the world, in particular the wines of Burgundy, Napa, and Sonoma. Cocktails from bar director Brandyn Tepper give more reasons to grab a seat at the bar or in the lounge, within view of the Bay. There’s space for walk-ins, and for reservations.
When it opens on September 25, the restaurant will serve dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. A second Angler is set to open in Los Angeles later in the fall.
Appetizers are priced $12-$28; mains range from $20-$48