Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Takeout from Wayfare Tavern

Almost a year ago, I wrote a review of my experience at a group private dining event at Wayfare Tavern.  The food wasn't remarkable, but, it was group dining, and, more importantly, it was before the latest executive chef took over.  Of course, Tyler Florence is still the big name everyone associates with Wayfare Tavern, but the Executive Chef these days is Joey Elenterio.  You may remember his name from a previous post of mine: my absolute top meal of 2012, at Chez TJ, when he was the chef there.  I have such found memories of that meal, and was delighted when I heard that Chef Joey would be taking over at Wayfare Tavern, since it is in San Francisco, rather than Mountain View.

I still haven't actually been for a proper meal at Wayfare Tavern, but I did stop in to pick up a few items for takeout.  I was impressed that I could order basically anything from the menu for takeout, so many places do not allow this.  Sure, I was warned that the plating would suffer, but they had no problem with me doing it.  I ordered at the bar, and chilled there while I waited.  The bartender was friendly, the atmosphere comfortable, and I quite enjoyed my wait for my food, and not only because I decided to treat myself to a cocktail!

I really must get to Wayfare Tavern for a real meal!

Spiced Pumpkin Nog. $11.
While I waited for my takeout order, I decided to treat myself to a cocktail at the bar.  I was feeling particularly seasonally inspired, and went for the Spiced Pumpkin Nog: "spiced rum, pumpkin syrup, averna".

This was an impressive drink, even before I tasted it.  It is hard to see in this photo, but it had a nice cap of foam on top, visually appealing.  The aroma the nutmeg sprinkled on top gave off was lovely.  I wanted to just sit there smelling my cocktail, rather than drinking it.

But drink it I did.  It was a bit eggy.  Nice and frothy.  I'm not sure it really had any dairy in it, besides the egg.  I somewhat expected more classic milk based nog, but this didn't seem to be.  It was far lighter.

Seasonal, flavorful, interesting. I probably wouldn't get it again, but I was happy to try it.  $11 for a well crafted cocktail was fine.
Chicken Liver Pâté: Saba balsamic jelly, arugula. $10.
So, who goes to Wayfare Tavern and orders chicken liver pâté for takeout?  Um, I do.  I know it is a perhaps a strange thing to get to go.  And, after I ordered it, the bartender did come over to warn me that it normally comes served in a beautiful ceramic vessel and that the presentation would really suffer.  I told him I didn't mind, it was the taste I really cared about.  (Don't get me wrong, presentation counts for a lot, but in this case, I was just needing a liver fix!)

The reason I wanted this so badly is that some of my fondest foie gras memories are from my meal when the chef was at Chez TJ.  I knew that he knows how to do liver well, and in particular, how to do mousses (he even sent me home with some foie mousse on that visit!)   How could I not get another one of his liver creations?

It was served with toasted crostini, which were hot and fresh when I picked it up, but obviously cooled off by the time I got it home.  I didn't care, I wasn't in it for the bread anyway.

The flavor of the pâté wasn't all that strong, and I think that people who say they don't like liver could even enjoy this.  Of course, for me, I would have liked it stronger, and with less cream to mask the flavor.  But the said, the consistency was perfect.  So creamy.

On top of the pâté was a layer of saba jelly.  This was stunning.  I love saba in general and had been using it on just about everything (I had a basil plant growing out of control, so as tomato season wound down, heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil drizzled with saba and olive oil were a daily occurrence in my household).  The jelly was a perfect sweet component against the pâté.

But, even better was the saba jelly, was the arugula!  I know, the greens shouldn't really be the most exciting thing here, and no one else probably even noticed them, but for me, they really completed the whole dish.  Fresh, crispy, and intensely peppery! I'm not sure I've ever had arugula with that much spice to it.  I loved it, and the strong spiciness of the arugula and the sweetness of the saba jelly were just perfect together.  There were also some sliced grapes, another sweet component that worked well with the arugula.

A good dish, and I'm sure when it is presented properly, a stunning one too :)  For only $10, it was a generous portion, and a far more refined creation than I was expecting.  I'd get this again.  I can't wait to keep trying more of Chef Joey's liver dishes, and, hopefully someday, another foie one.
Deviled Eggs: bread & butter pickle, green tabasco, celery. $11/6.
The real reason I went to Wayfare Tavern was to get deviled eggs as an appetizer, as I needed a small supplement for a meal, and I'd heard great things about Wayfare Tavern's eggs.  { Side note: after my visit, the eggs were actually removed from the menu, but there was such an uproar that they came back. }

Now, I have a long history with deviled eggs.  They are something I've always enjoyed, long before they became trendy in San Francisco.  When I was in college, they were just about the only thing I could find to eat in my dining hall at lunch.  Not that they SERVED deviled eggs, but they had whole hard boiled eggs in the salad bar.  And mayo, mustard, and pickles in the sandwich bar.  So ... I'd get the eggs, peel them, cut them in half, mix up my filling, stuff it back in, and eat my deviled eggs.  Yes, people thought I was crazy, I'm sure.  But I enjoyed them. Daily.

Anyway, after college, I didn't have deviled eggs for a while.  But since the deviled egg trend hit San Francisco in full force, they started popping up all over town, generally done up in sophisticated ways.  I've gotten back into trying deviled eggs, but usually, I think they are good, but I haven't had any wow me.  I think this is just one area where I've had far too many of my own deviled eggs to really be able to like someone else's as much.  They were my thing!!!

A single order consists of 6 egg halves, so pictured here is a double order.  They worked fine for takeout, except for the fact that they are uh, a bit slippery, and slid all around in the box, resulting in most of them toppling over during transit.  Whoops!  If takeout deviled eggs become a "thing", I think they totally need to come up with a carry case for them, a disposable version of those ridiculous tupperware deviled egg carriers?
Close up of a deviled egg.
The eggs were cut in half the other direction from how I do it.  I always cut down the long side. I know this is just a preference thing, but I really like them cut the other way!  The moment I felt myself caring about this, I realized I was in for trouble.  There is just no way for me to enjoy other people's deviled eggs, I have too many preferences.

Anyway.  The filling was super creamy, very whipped up.  The quantity of filling to egg seemed to imply that either multiple yolks were stuffed back into a single egg, or that there was quite a bit of extra stuff added into it.  It didn't seem that intensely mayo-y, so I think it was just extra yolk.  Perhaps the whites all went into my eggnog :)

I liked the salt level of the filling, and the crunch of the pickles on top, but, they just weren't my deviled eggs.  They were fine, but I wouldn't get them again.
Wayfare Tavern on Urbanspoon
Related Posts with Thumbnails