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Walnut Creek Magazine

Scoma’s: Rediscover This San Francisco Classic

Jul 13, 2017 12:53PM ● By Fran Miller

By Fran Endicott Miller

As any trend-follower and trendsetter knows, everything old eventually becomes new again, and thus, San Francisco classic Scoma’s is primed for (re)discovery. Situated at its Pier 47 wharf location since 1965, Scoma's might easily be brushed-off as a relic of the past. With its crab cocktail, Bloody Marys, and white-coated and black bow-tied wait staff, Scoma’s does harken to another era – one that seemingly might not mesh with current ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant trends. Ironically though, Scoma’s was an original pioneer of the fresh food movement with its ‘pier-to-plate’ practice – a continuing hallmark of the Scoma’s experience.

That crab in your cocktail? It’s sanctioned by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and sourced by local fisherman who sell and deliver direct to the restaurant. That Bloody Mary? It’s hand-crafted with the freshest house made ingredients. And the bow-tied wait staff? Many have been with the restaurant for decades; they are professional, friendly, and the best source in the city for tourism tips. And they are quick to affirm that their employment longevity is a testament to the generosity and magnanimous nature of the Scoma family. 

There are a few new faces on the Scoma’s scene though, such as assistant general manager and bar director Matt Talbert, whose interest in craft spirits has helped to elevate the cocktail and wine options. Under the direction of Executive Chef Efren Sandoval, the restaurant is raising an already high bar on menu offerings, and is applying its hyper-local fish philosophy to other ingredients as well. Seasonable and sustainable is Sandoval's mantra. The food and drink are terrific - exactly what you remember, only better. Same with the interior. The seven separate dining rooms and two bars with picture windows facing the pier and bay are exactly what you remember as well, yet recent ‘era-preserving’ updates have improved the space while maintaining the original charm.

It’s fun; it’s festive; and it’s oh so San Francisco. Here’s what to expect at your next visit:

Manhattan flight

Start with a classic when dining at a classic; Scoma's Barrel-Aged 1965 Manhattan is rested in new charred American oak barrels for 1,965 hours in honor of Scoma’s opening year. Better yet, test your palette with a Manhattan flight: three tastes of three versions with varied ingredients. The refreshing Casa Margarita is also not to be missed: Partida Blanco tequila, Joe Carton Triple Sec, hibiscus infused Agave, and fresh lime juice. Order this “Craft on Draft” drink (and others such as the Moscow Mule or the Anchor Negroni) by the glass, or by the decanter. If wine is your pleasure, Scoma’s Barrel-to-Table program offers a number of California varietals (i.e. Miner Chardonnay, Kenwood Pinot Noir) through a custom tap and barrel system that eliminates oxidation and uses the most environmentally sustainable technology.

Crudo plate

Lazy Man's Cioppino

Feast on the best of the best. Begin with the smoked, sliced, and seared crudo plate for two that includes house cured and cold-smoked Ora King salmon, seared albacore rare, and halibut ceviche Siciliana. Move to a wild gulf prawn and crab cocktail with horseradish infused cocktail sauce. Don’t forget the veggies: an heirloom tomato and house made mozzarella salad that bursts with fresh farm flavor, or the organic red and golden roasted beet salad with avocado, orange, aged balsamic and fresh grated horseradish. Finish with longtime favorite, the “Lazy Man’s” Cioppino, a Fisherman’s Wharf original: crab, prawns, sea scallops, clams, mussels, fresh fish, and calamari served in “Mama” Scoma’s rich tomato broth. Pair with a glass of on-tap Sangiovese for the ultimate taste sensation. And save room for house made cannoli speckled with pistachio and dried apricot. (FYI: For the seafood averse in your party, there are several options such as Wagyu beef, and shortribs.)

Whatever your drink and dining pleasure, your Scoma’s experience is sure to be memorable and worthy of a venture into San Francisco. Getting there is easy. Take Bart to the Embarcadero, walk to the streetcar stop in front of the Ferry Building, hop on, ride to the end of the line, and then take a right down Pier 47. To return, pick up the streetcar on Beach, one block over. If you drive, Scoma’s provides free valet parking at the front door. If lot is full, they validate two hours for lunch and three hours for dinner at Triangle Parking Lot.

Scoma’s: 1965 Al Scoma Way Pier 47: Fisherman’s Wharf: San Francisco


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