Woodhouse Fish Company
2073 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
Lunch and dinner daily
Tried: June 2007
Perhaps because of my less than stellar recent dining experiments, I was rather skeptical about venturing into the Woodhouse Fish Company. I had been so disappointed after the rubbery, chemical-tasting lobster roll at Old Port Lobster Shack, so contrary to the positive endorsements I had seen, that I started with something safer, like fish and chips. The cod was moist on the inside, well-seasoned, and crispy on the outside. I loved that each table had malt vinegar as a standard condiment, in addition to salt, pepper, and ketchup. (Why do restaurants serve fish & chips and never bring over the malt vinegar?) But the chips were still wrong. Standard thin fries-- not bad, but not chips-- which could not stand up to the vinegar without wilting. Thankfully, the tartar sauce was properly creamy, without being gloppy, and piquant, without too much or too little relish.
The fried seafood platter-- oysters, clams, and calamari-- was acceptable but not remarkable. Although the oysters were briny and fresh underneath the fried coating, the batter was a bit too brown and doughy. Plus, the clams and calamari were both on the rubbery side.
The lobster roll, though, was fantastic. The 3 oz. roll, accompanied by fries and cole slaw, is $16 and the 6 oz. roll is $24. I asked for the roll "naked," with the mayonnaise sauce on the side. Instead of gravelly, chemically celery salt, the tender chunks of lobster (with the chunky whole claw meat clearly visible on top) were decorated with miniature dices of fresh celery. The roll was buttery and soft with a lightly crunchy golden layer on the outside. I was really craving a fabulous Meursault to go with the lobster roll. (The wine selections are not horrible, but it is not the type of place that would have an extensive wine list, unlike Swan Oyster Depot; better to stick with beer-- I quite enjoyed the Shipyard Export Ale, mildly caramelly with body, and not too sweet or watery.)
I may have to go back tomorrow.