1398 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
1398 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
April 14, 20092.0
Last week, Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery announced that sous chef Ronnie New is now executive chef. He has already infused New Orleans and Southern influences in dishes such as these on the dinner menu: Bourbon glazed spare ribs with corn bread and potato salad ($19), Bluenose bass with roasted sunchokes, artichokes and beet relish ($20), pan-fried pork chops with red eye gravy and mashed potatoes ($18) and mushroom ravioli with sage brown butter, dino kale and Grana Padano ($15).
Taking advantage of the fact that our daughter was down for a long nap after a fun Easter egg hunt at a friend’s house, and that our son was at Grandpa and Grandma’s house for dinner, my husband and I made our way to the Haight last Sunday to check this place out. We were excited to see that their touted housemade sausages were still on the menu ($12 with two sides). We tried the Portuguese linguisa, a salty, slightly spicy thin sausage that paired well with sides of German potato salad and tender rainbow kale. The bratwurst was okay, we had it with roasted sweet potato and sauerkraut.
Oddly enough, the beers and wine on tap seemed a little off. The two beers we sampled – Big Cypress Brown and Dark Star Mild – tasted almost identical and were lacking malty flavor and depth. And I am not a wine snob, but after an initial taste, I had to send back their special Sutton Cellars “Magnolia Blend” of syrah (60%) and carignane (40%) because it was slightly sour. The Tin Barn zinfandel proved to be a bit better.
As far as service goes, both the bar and kitchen had missteps during our meal for which our server graciously tried to take the blame. My first glass of wine came out completely dirty, covered in lipstick and remnants of pulpy orange juice from brunch-time mimosas. Our server said she saw the bartender wipe my second glass clean, but it still had lipstick on it. And after I inquired about the preparation of one of the dishes, our server asked the kitchen. She came back and explained it would be done one way, but to our surprise, it was prepared another. Hmmm. It was at that point that we decided not to try anything more.
I know Magnolia has a loyal following, so for those individuals, there will be a collaboration dinner with buddies from The Linkery of San Diego on May 11th. It is a beer/salumi “simul-dinner” showcasing cured meats from The Linkery and beers from Magnolia, starting at 5:00 p.m. in both places. Also at Magnolia every Tuesday, house beer is $3 all day. They have fried chicken on Thursdays starting at 5:00 p.m. until they run out, and Ronnie’s Beer Dinners happen every last Wednesday of the month featuring a three-course dinner with beer pairings.
Overall, the sausages and sides were good, but the rest of the experience was less than impressive. Unfortunately, I’m not going to rush back to try the new menu, sorry chef New! It’s sort of like comparing apples and oranges, but if my husband and I were in the neighborhood, we would definitely grab a seat at the bar at The Alembic instead. The food there is amazing, and they have a fun and unusual wine and beer list. But that’s another review…
This was the tastiest dish we tried, and I enjoyed the rainbow kale and German potato salad as sides. It was presented in a more aesthetic way than I expected, and was well prepared. It had a lot more flavor than the bratwurst although I imagine some people may find the linguisa too salty, but I really enjoyed it. I suppose they hope you’ll drink more beer with it. It’s ashame that the beverages we had really paled in comparison, and that the kitchen and bar made signifcant mistakes along the way. As a result, the linguisa and those sides aren’t enough of a draw in and of themselves. I’ll be heading elsewhere.
These dishes from the Magnolia menu are contributed by Menuism users directly, as part of a restaurant review, or as part of an image upload.