As a wedding gift, John's company, Hot Pads, gave us a gift certificate to Wayfare Tavern. We were quite excited to try the restaurant but were a bit disgruntled to find out there is a month wait for a decent table on a Friday or Saturday night. If you want a table at 5pm or 10pm then it's wide open but for a decent 8pm table, the wait for the common folks is at least a month. After much anticipation, we finally had our dinner at Wayfare Tavern last Friday.
The restaurant is located in San Francisco's Financial District. It's a modern space with dark wood, an open kitchen and lots of white walls. I liked the minimalism of the restaurant in hopes that the food would do the actually talking. We were sat at a nice table in the back. Our waiter was quite aloof and had absolutely no enthusiasm for his job. For such a hot restaurant, I'd hope the server would have smiled at least once, but not this guy. We ordered the Tomales Bay Muscles and Steak Tartar to start. The mussels were OK at best. The best part of the muscles was the pork belly in the milky Herbsaint cream sauce. The Steak Tartar was much better and plentiful. The tartar was mixed with a delicious French mustard dressing and topped with an egg yolk. Only 4 garlic popovers came with the large tartar, causing us to leave a good portion of it behind. For the amount of steak, the bread does not match at all.
For our entrees, John chose the Steak Frites, a Santa Maria tri-tip with truffle butter, watercress and French fried potatoes, and I chose the Organic Fried Chicken and a side of Baked Macaroni and Cheese. The Steak Frites was good, but I'd say the fries were better. The Fried Chicken was perfection. I was so happy with the flaky skin and tender meat that I had a hard time sharing. I was 100% disappointed that for a $22 plate of fried chicken it didn't come with any sides. Sides cost an addition $8. The entrees aren't pricey at around $20 each, but to not include a side is ridiculous. An $8 Mac and Cheese or side of Brussels Sprouts is a bit much.
The food was good, but I wasn't overwhelmed. If the service was better, the experience would have been a four rather than a three star. When we paid the bill, we used a gift card and the server was clearly annoyed. We had two cards and said one had $200 and the other $50 but we weren't sure which was which. After a scoff he took our gift cards and left. The server should be trying to please the customer, not the other way around. Overall the meal was a decent price, a good bottle of wine, 2 entrees and 2 appetizers all for under $200.