Fish & Farm

I don’t know why, but on my recent trip to San Francisco, I was having a really hard time remembering the name of the restaurant called Fish & Farm. Maybe it was the jet-lag, or all the chocolate and cookies that were coming at me from all angles.

chocolate-covered florentines

But I kept calling the restaurant Farm & Fish.

Or Fish Farm. Or Farm and Fowl.

Aside from having a hard time trying to find a listing for a restaurant about fish farming, because of the offbeat name, I thought the Fish Farm was somewhere in the outer Mission, one of the fringe neighborhoods of San Francisco. Not right downtown, in the gentle theater district.

tater tots

When we pulled up to the restaurant, I was surprised at how slender it was. (What was I expecting? A farm? A hydroponic tank?) But then I was glad, because it’s small size gave them the luxury of spending more time on the food for each guest.

tattoage

Doubly-inked chef Chad Newton sources as much of the food as possible as close to the restaurant as he can.

And another curiosity about the restaurant is that taxes and “fees” (which I’m not sure what those would be—fishing licenses?) are included in the menu price. And that diners were welcome to “…add the gratuity that you feel appropriate”.

A few posts back, someone noted that I’d visibly winced when Ree, the Pioneer Woman, who I was speaking at a conference with a during my visit, mentioned that she uses Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. I thought it was pretty clear that my gesture was meant to give her some a little ribbing. (After all, that woman castrates calves, for lord’s sake—I certainly don’t want to get on her bad side…) I just think it’s interesting how different we folks with food blogs all are, but we have something even greater in common: we like to cook!

And for the record, one can’t possibly make a proper batch of Chex Party Mix without Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (although Furikake Chex Mix is pretty fabulous.) Heck, I’ve been known to shake in a little of the offending orangy powder while tossing up a batch of the aforementioned party mix.

It’s be like serving a wedge of iceberg lettuce and crispy bacon without creamy bleu cheese dressing. Um, I don’t think so.

iceberg salad hamburger

I didn’t seen any locally-sourced Lawry’s seasoned salt in San Francisco, but at Fish & Farm, they did have homemade tater tots, which were much better than the frozen originals. And easily slid right down with our cocktails. In fact, I liked them so much that when the waiter put down the rectangular skillet of the crispy little beasts, stuffed with bacon, we got more than halfway through them before I could grab my camera and nab a shot.

Those who’ve dined with me know that I’m not big on sharing, especially when it involves multiple passing of the plates around the table. And these tater tots were no exception. But I’m glad I graciously agreed to share, since what came next were some picture-perfect renditions of American country classics. Ree would be proud.

Fish & Farm is famous for their juicy hamburger, called the best in San Francisco. But when I saw fried chicken on the menu, I melted into submission. Aside from bar-b-que, cassoulet, duck confit, and a patty melt, a burger smothered with fried onions topped with melted swiss cheese and served between slices of griddled rye bread, fried chicken is my all-time favorite food. And the buttermilk-soaked version here was great. I pretty much ignored the beans and cole slaw, which deserved more attention than they got, and the sweet madeleine-shaped cornbreads, in favor of the crispy-skinned pieces of chicken.

fried chicken

The only downside was that we virtually ignored our knife-stabbed hamburger, which sat patiently with a dagger stuck through it. The kitchen must’ve had some premonition and decided to do that to the burgers so they wouldn’t get away. The one or two bites that I took weren’t enough to verify the claim as the best in San Francisco, so I’m going to have to come back on the next visit.

Fish & Farm
339 Taylor Street
San Francisco
(415) 474-3474

Note: Because the restaurant is close to the theater district, it’s busiest earlier in the evening. You have a better chance of scoring a table if you come after the theater-goers.

30 comments

  • Once I stayed at the Mark Twain hotel and you can enter this restaurant from the lobby. Sadly, we didn’t eat there. I guess I assumed it was going to be a crappy hotel restaurant, even though it looked nice. Oh well! When I think of that trip, I always think of the bellboy, who loved telling us how Billie Holiday was arrested inside the hotel for heroin possession. He told that story at least 3 times. I’ll have to eat there just for the fries, they look so crispy!

  • Bacon stuffed tater tots! Bacon stuffed tater tots! I’m so glad I got past the disconcerting post title, located so close to the beautiful chocolate pralines at the top—I wasn’t at all sure where you were going with that. But you never disappoint, now I know where to get me some bacon stuffed tater tots! I wonder if I can have those smeared directly on my thighs, save some time . . . ?

  • So I guessed the right place! Do I win something? :) Glad you had a good time.

  • hey, c’est contagieux ! While reading, I couldn’t help myself to read fish & farm instead of farm & fish and the contrary :D

    but hmm… I see the two names in the text, what’s the good one ? (on the green link at the end you call them fish and farm, but in bold, under the salad, it’s farm and fish).

  • Wow! I didn’t expect to hear that fried chicken is one of your favorite foods!

  • Whatever kind of cookies those are in the first picture, I want to crawl through the screen and eat them

  • Whenever I see fried chicken on the menu, I flip toooooooo !!!!!!!! I see you had beans with your bird…but I don’t see beans on the menu…

  • That fried chicken looks too delicious for words – did you time this post to coincide with dinner time on the West Coast by any chance? ;)

  • I have got to have those cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Um, yeah those cookies look a ma zing. And may I ask what you were drinking in the second picture?

  • I’d take great fried chicken over duck confit every time, and twice on Sunday if it came w/ great cole slaw. Your SF trip was a true food lover’s dream. Thanks for all the great posts.

    Growing up in Chicago (30 plus years ago) it was considered fine dining and a big deal to have dinner at Lawry’s . The carts with the bloody giant prime rib were the stuff of nightmares for me. My sister is a vegetarian and I think it began there when she was 6 and I was 4! We had a Grandpa who thought taking us all there was a special treat, no matter how we protested and begged not to go. Even the bribe of getting a new dress and party shoes never softened the blow.

    Besides my hatred for prime rib I also never saw the point to Lawry’s Seasoning Salt as I grew up and began cooking and learning about food. Chex Party Mix wasn’t on my radar either I guess.

    But a few years ago I was shown the light. Having lunch alone at a busy typical Greek owned family diner I discovered a new taste sensation. My cheeseburger deluxe came with piping hot crisp on the outside yet light and fluffy on the inside perfect french fries. And they were sprinkled with some orangey powder. It was my first time, and I fell in love. So next time you take your frites out of the fryer to drain wait a few seconds and sprinkle on some Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and let me know what you think.

  • I think if you ever get tired of France and come back to the US, you’d be a great restaurant critic. I’ve really enjoyed reading your reviews. I suppose you could do the job in France, but it might not benefit me as much :)

  • Lindsey: Thanks and glad you like the restaurant write-ups. I don’t really consider myself a ‘reviewer’ since I don’t go to the restaurants three times, plus I don’t take notes, and all the other stuff that reviewers do. (I would, however, like a reviewer’s expense account!) Instead, I like to point people to places that I like and that people who visit those places, whether it be Paris or San Francisco, might enjoy as much as I did.

    Sophia: It was some sort of tomato gazpacho that went nicely with the tots.

    Kirk & Jessica: Those are the Clarine’s Florentines, which I linked to. They were the best florentines I’ve ever had; well-caramelized almonds and dark chocolate. I kept breaking one in half, saying I’d only eat half…then I’d go back and finish the rest of it. Then start on another…they are well-worth trying (although beware…I’m hooked)

    (I posted a different version of chocolate-dipped florentine recipe from Ottolenghi, in London, for those who want to try them at home.)

  • You just can’t remember the name because of the food! haha I love the photos! They are so photogenic and they looks good,too!

  • Ypour website is lovely. I’m half-French (!) – we have family in Paris and were there just a few weeks ago. We had some lovely meals – - of course!

  • Homemade Tater Tots and Fried Chicken! OMG!! That sounds amazing!

  • Hi David,
    I’m halfway through “The Sweet Life in Paris” and this is my first book by you. I am soooooo amused by the book, Paris and most importantly your personality. I can definitely sense who you are from the book and how you write. And thank you for the recipes, I can’t wait to start baking! Thank you so much for such a good read. If you’re ever in Boston, I would die to have you sign the book.
    Ailine.

  • Yay! A post worked! I hope you’ll have continued access to the ‘net and hope that the Freebox will work out for you. Gosh this all sounded good (bacon-stuffed tater tots, OMG!) and I was very highly amused by Beanpaste’s blog which you linked up there. I had to check it out, because when I first saw “Furikake Chex Mix” I misread the first word as “bukake” and burst out laughing, wondering what in the heck THAT could be (the mind boggles).

  • David-Just wanted to compliment you (and the photographer!) on that wonderful portrait in the circle. It’s as good as it gets. Love your site and glad you have an excuse to come back to SF.

  • Chex Mix? Thanks for sharing all the food you had in San Fran. It has been fun to read about your trip.

  • best fried chicken in bay area: Angeline’s Louisiana kitchen. Soaked in buttermilk. So tender. So delicious. And with this creamy sauce on the side..what is it? oh….

    and their strawberry shortcake, deliciously drenched in a mysteriously alcoholic strawberry syrup, is the best thing I have ever tasted.

    I just moved from the bay area to rural France.

    I am having some food pangs when I’m not stuffing my face.

    :-)

  • Oh gosh, I have been dying to try this place! Did you say tater tots?

    Unfortunately I have this problem. Kids. I can’t seem to catch a break. I wonder if it’s too soon to send my 18 month old to boarding school?

  • Well, thanks for the Furikake shout-out! I’m honored!

    I have to agree that Lawry’s is one of those regrettable culinary oddities that, sometimes, is an absolute necessity once or twice a year. I’ve had the same, wee jar lurking in the back of my spices for nearly three years.

  • If I never see another solopsistic sous chef tattoo in my life, it will be too soon.* Feh.

    *No offense meant toward you, David dear. T’ est le roi!

  • Amanda: Actually, the place seemed pretty kid-friendly. It might be better to shoot for lunch, but what kid doesn’t like fried chicken and burgers? (And I’m sure mom could use a Sidecar…or two…)

    Lisa: I know they’ve become a bit de rigeur in the states, but living abroad, since I don’t see them, I guess I still think they’re kind of cool.

    But I promise when I get mine, I won’t show it on the site ; )

  • Fish and Farm. Love that place. I first found out about it while dining in Sacramento several years ago, where a former waiter (from the Sacramento place) was telling the bartender about his new job in SF. And you’re right, the small size does usually translate to better service. Guess I don’t go often enough (living in Los Angeles) to have seen the tater tots, although I’ll be in the City this Tuesday.

    Channeling Homer Simpson: Mmm… Bacon…

  • Everything that this place serves look so yummy. Those chocolate coated almond/pecan thing particularly caught my eye. For some reason, they remind me of something my wife made the other day – honey sesame fudge.

  • Mmmm! It looks delicious!

  • That fried chicken sounds amazing! As for the taxes and fees you mentioned, I think that might be the SF universal health care tax…some restaurants pass the cost on along to their customers. Anyway, I’m going to put Fish & Farm on my list of places to try and I’m definitely going to order me some fried chicken!

  • I love when a Clarine’s Florentine comes at me! Sounds like a hardship ;) Lovely pic.