I had a couple of things to do in the Dogpatch neighborhood of SF and somebody recommended I try out Serpentine at the corner of 22nd and 3rd. I hopped on the web and made a 12:30 reservation. Yes, I realize that making a lunch reservation makes me hopelessly pretentious but I am a motivated collector of Open Table points!
It is good that someone pointed me towards Serpentine. It is located on the corner of a warehouse block and it is not the kind of place that I would have accidentally stumbled into on my own.
Once inside the converted warehouse the industrial chic interior makes clear its homage to the area that Serpentine serves so lovingly. The ceilings are high and unfinished with the existing sprinkler works visible to the eye. As your eye traces its way down the walls the external brick is exposed on the front wall and the floor is covered in beautiful hardwood. The seating area is separated from the bar by dark mahogany colored wood with portholes. The bar stools look like tall versions of old-time farm buckets and contrast nicely with the stone and brick and tall glass flower vases on the bar.
When we arrived they acknowledged our reservation but apologized that our table was not ready yet. The restaurant was completely full on a Monday for lunch! The host directed us to the bar and let us know he would call us when they cleared up a table. A bit disappointing, but likely a testament to the popularity of the place.
The bartender greeted us with a British accent and offered to take care of us there and, being hungry, we opted to accept his offer.
He delivered us a couple of menus on their trademark clipboards and took the time to explain the pros and cons of several of the things that we expressed interest in. My compatriot chose the Housemade Fettucini with a cauliflower Romescu sauce. He asked for “a little bit of bacon” to be added to the otherwise vegetarian dish (apologies to Miss Swan). He did not bat an eye but added it to the order and allowed that it was a good suggestion.
I had narrowed my choices down to a savory bread pudding and a local rock cod dish and he directed me towards the cod without a pause. His reasoning was that it was light and flavorful and that the bread pudding might be a bit too heavy for lunch.
The food came quickly and my companion literally inhaled the pasta he was delivered. My cod was served on a bed of hollandaise with roasted kabocha squash, frisee and pomegranate seeds and a few brussels sprouts with just the right amount of char. I can’t believe I used to hate brussels sprouts, I could have eaten a bowl full of these!
The cod was cooked beautifully with the skin still on one side. The skin was crispy and hot and hid a velvety piece of local cod that absorbed the flavors of the surrounding accoutrements.
We finished off lunch with an espresso and a latte with a double shot. Both were made in front of us at the bar and were uniformly excellent. I suspect that the coffee was Peet’s Bean from the taste of it, but I neglected to ask.
So, all in all a very good experience. I was a bit disappointed that they did not have a table available for us at our reservation time, but a busy restaurant is always a good sign. The bartender took excellent care of us and the food was top-notch.
Sepentine is hidden treasure in the manufacturing area of San Francisco and I can recommend it highly.
2495 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107