Restaurant Reviews

The Barrel Room

June 10, 2015
The Shut-Up-and-Give-it-to-Me-Quick Version: 
Orgasmic.
The drinks, the food, the atmosphere… I am happy to say this has sort of become my go-to place in the Financial District.
The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:
This newly opened restaurant (an expanded version of the now-closed Barrel Room in the Tenderloin) has everything you would want in the Financial District: somewhere you can meet a coworker, happy hour, still cozy enough to take a date, open later than most, serves alcohol. Well, you’re welcome because The Barrel Room is all of this presented in a long, narrow restaurant with a handful of barstools and a good number of tables. I have noticed that it gets busy any day of the week. Thanks to their happy hour they are packed until about 6/ 6:30. It’s still busy after that, but there aren’t a ton of people all trying to get a table. I have noticed that sometimes it takes a little longer to get something, but I chalk it up to new restaurant pains and, since I am never on a time constraint, it doesn’t bother me. Another point is sometimes I wish they would open the door to let a little air in because it can get stuffy with everyone and a kitchen.The group behind this restaurant are all sommeliers (hint why they started with a wine bar in the Tenderloin) wanted to expand and serve food (similar to their location in Oakland); however they had to find a chef willing (aka crazy enough) to play by their rules. At the wine bar, they changed their offerings every six weeks… as wine enthusiasts this was their way of showcasing wines from all over the world and featuring hard-to-find, different wines. This, however, wouldn’t work for a restaurant (could you imagine trying to redesign a menu every six weeks?) so they found a chef who was willing to re-imagine everything every 3 months (I mean EVERYTHING… wine, cocktails, menu, and dessert based on different areas of the world). This makes me both excited and sad because I’m already in love with items on this menu, but I’m excited for what’s to come. So get ready because The Barrel Room will keep your palate guessing; they are currently serving food from Latin America and in August they will switch to an Italian-based cuisine. Rest assured the menu will eventually rotate back around, but until then I plan on visiting as many times as I can to savor all that is Latin American at The Barrel Room.

What we ate/drank:

  • Flor ($11)
  • Nuvena Tropicais ($11)
  • Custom wine flight ($14)
  • Housemade charcuterie platter ($26)
  • Stuffed dates ($9)
  • Oysters ($3 each)
  • Roasted manchego ($13)
  • Ostiones al pil-pil ($18)
  • Seared pork belly ($16)
  • Tri-tip with gingered chimichurri ($28)
  • Chocolate cake ($9)
  • Pineapple ($9)

Thoughts?

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The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, flor

 
Both drinks were great, the Flor (on the right) was the sweeter of the two and probably my favorite. I love how unique all their drinks are. The Nuvens Tropicais has cachaca, mango shrub, condensed milk and gin. The flavor is not too sweet and provides just the right amount of alcohol. The Flor has vodka, passion fruit and orange flower water. Between the passion fruit and orange flower water, this drink transported me to the sands of a Mexican beach. It’s summery, tropical and oh so delicious. When I returned the second time (because believe me this restaurant has become my Wednesday go-to), I ordered Flor after Flor.

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, charcuterie board

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, charcuterie board, blood sausage

The house-made charcuterie platter was delicious! Pork loin, bloog sausages and chicken liver pate were accompanied by sweet pickled peppers, house-made mustard, smoked almonds and toast. I loved the pickled peppers (pickled anything is pretty much my new obsession), they went very well with all the meats. This is a great way to start the meal, but make sure you’re hungry because it’s pretty filling.

The Barrel Room, san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant reviews, latin american, financial district, oysters

The oysters were amazing because it was everything I love in one: oysters, lemon and spice. The lime, serrano mignonette was delicious and went so well with the oysters. If you like oysters this is a must order!

Picture

The dates are a great appetizer, satisfying and just the right amount. I was happy to see only a few on the plate since they are filling and very rich. The combination of flavors is great: goat cheese, smoke almonds and bacon. Smokey, sweet and salty, these dates are delicious!

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, manchego cheese, chimichurri

WOW! That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this cheese. Honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything better. If you go to The Barrel Room, you MUST get the roasted manchego! It’s basically a heart attack in a bowl, but trust me it’s worth every bite. I honestly would eat this everyday for lunch if it didn’t mean I would be 500 pounds. The whole wheel of cheese is roasted and topped with saffron, oregano bechamel and gingered chimichurri. The sauce is slightly spicy and has an abundance of flavor. I can’t say enough good things about this. It’s obviously cheesy, but not overly so that it becomes too much. There is no diminishing law of utility when it comes to this dish… I enjoyed my last bite just as much as my first (oh and the second and third time I had it too)!

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, scallops

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, scallops, ostiones al pil-pil

The scallops were great – slightly spicy, a little lemon-y… basically everything I love (read the oyster review again if it isn’t clear haha). Scallops are my favorite, but they often disappoint because they are usually a bit underwhelming. These scallops definitely don’t have that issue, they were hot and oh so delicious. The sauce was so good I had to ask for a spoon.

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, padron, pork belly

I liked their take on the pork belly, it was a bit charred, but not fatty. The dish as a whole was great because where the pork belly lacked a little flavor, the padron peppers, onions and sauce made up for it.Just to quickly mention the wine, they are known for having hard-to-find wine and while I didn’t order any of the flights (I was too busy indulging in the cocktails), Dennis had a few custom flights and loved every one of them (he’s also Mr. Picky so that says a lot). I did try a sip (I mean I wasn’t going to totally miss out) and they all paired very well.

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, tri-tip

I have to admit that this was my least favorite dish; it was very tasty, but compared to everything else it didn’t wow me. I liked the combination of meat, cream and panela cheese – this was an unlikely pairing that worked. I really enjoyed the potatoes, very well cooked and flavorful.

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, chocolate cake

The chocolate cake took a little getting used to (it’s definitely not for everyone), but the more I ate it, the more I liked it. The cake and frosting have a bit of ancho chili which makes it slightly spicy. The strawberries and creme anglaise definitely complement the cake. I thought it was a fun spin on a classic.

The Barrel Room, San Francisco, sf, restaurants, financial district, wine bar, open late, restaurant in san francisco, eat and escape, restaurant review, pineapple , dulce de leche ice cream

I really liked this dessert; it was pretty simple, but very delicious! Rum soaked grilled pineapple topped with salted caramel and dulce de leche ice cream. You can definitely taste the rum, but it is balanced out with the ice cream, making it a great end to your meal!

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