Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Airport Dining: Takeout from Yankee Pier @ SFO

Update Reviews, 2019 Visits

March 2019

As I cruised through SFO, ready to board an international flight, I decided to swing back by Yankee Pier, intending to either get another Caesar salad, since I had liked it before, or to see what they had for "seasonal" dessert this time, to bring on board in lieu of the on board meal (or, at least, to supplement it).

When I arrived I had quite a wait just to be able to place my takeout order, and I occupied myself checking out the food I saw going by. I kept getting drawn in to the cole slaw I saw on the side of the fish & chips, just a tiny little serving, but it looked good. The menu didn't have it listed as a side, but I figured it was possible to order, so I decided, at total last minute, to get that rather than the Caesar, to go with my dessert.

I ordered eventually at the bar, and, once I was able, the food was ready within just a few minutes, the dessert fetched by the bartender herself, and the slaw quickly handed over by the salad station.
Cole Slaw (Side).
I was expecting a side of cole slaw the same as what came with the fish and chips ... just a little ramekin, but instead, I received a big takeout box full. It ... was a lot of slaw!

It was decent slaw, a mix of mostly green cabbage, with a little purple cabbage, and a little carrot, in a fairly classic mayo based dressing. It was well dressed, but not over dressed, and the slaw was fairly crispy and fresh. I appreciated the different cuts of cabbage. It was well seasoned too, lots of pepper on top.

Overall, not bad. Not something I'd rave about, or go out of my way for, but, a fine cole slaw.
Seasonal Dessert: Cheesecake.
At this point, I'm fairly convinced that they never have a seasonal dessert.  I ask every single time what the seasonal desserts are, and every single time, it is cheesecake or chocolate mousse.  I finally decided to try the cheesecake, just to bring on board with me in case I didn't like the dessert options on the flight.

It came garnished with a little berry sauce, clearly applied once it was in the box, so, kudos to my bartender/server for this.

It was ... ok cheesecake.  A bit of an unnatural yellow, and not particularly creamy nor rich, but it was identifiable as cheesecake.  I think if I really liked cheesecake, and really was looking for the richness, the strong cream cheese flavor, that I would have been disappointed, but, it was fine.

The crust however I really liked.  Which surprised me. It was a compressed graham cracker base I think, but it was sweet and buttery, and I really liked it.  I couldn't quite finish the whole cheesecake, but I assure you, no bite of crust went left behind.

Overall, I suppose this was fine, not offensive, but not particularly good cheesecake.  I might get it again if I really wanted dessert, as it was certainly better than the ice cream, and the options are limited after all.

I really wanted some caramel sauce or whipped cream with it, just, something to enhance it.

April 2019

Ceasar Salad / Popcorn Shrimp / Lobster Roll. $55.
Oh airport pricing.  I know I had a lobster roll in here, but, yeah, $55 worth of food?
Kale Caesar. $8.
"Romaine, baby kale, parmesan, croutons."

I was pleased with this caesar previously, so added it to my order to ensure I at least had something I could count on.  This time, it actually did come with a mix of baby kale and romaine, where last time the menu said kale caesar, but my salad was only romaine.

Otherwise, it was the same, I again really, really liked the dressing (tasted like real anchovy base, lots of parmesan cheese in it, etc), the greens were reasonably fresh and crisp, and there was plenty of thinly shredded parmesan.  A good medium sized salad, and decently priced at $8.

The best part for me is that the salad was medium sized, but the dressing was enough for ... much much more salad.  Which meant I could keep it and use it on future salads, a fantastic thing as I adore this Caesar.
Popcorn Shrimp. $14.
A fairly random order, I know, but sometimes you get off a plane and want fried food!  And I just didn't want fries or onion rings.  So, popcorn shrimp it was.  Plus, this makes me responsible for having protein right?  And people seem to really like it.

The plating made me laugh though, with a few random chunks of cabbage, 2 lime wedges, and crispy shrimp just kinda thrown into a box, that, like many of their boxes, didn't want to stay shut.

I liked it though.  The coating was crispy, it all tasted oh so fried, there was a nice salt level, and the shrimp had a good texture, not rubbery.  The random cabbage was actual welcome to offset the heavy fried food.

I was sad to see that it came with cocktail sauce as the dipping sauce.  Photos and reviews I had read included both cocktail and tartar, and if I had realized the tartar was missing sooner, I certainly would have gone back for it.  The cocktail sauce was fine, but, bo-ring.  Tartar would be a better match, or really, I wanted something like sweet chili or sweet and sour.

Still, I was decently pleased with my crispy fried goodies, and would get this again.
Fresh Maine Lobster Roll. $27.
I know, I know, who gets a lobster roll in an airport? On the wrong side of the country? Probably the same girl who gets octopus in an airport? No plating awards go to this one either.

This at least fared better than the octopus, but I can't say it was a huge success.

The roll, split open, but not toasted, not buttered. Just ... a roll. Slight brioche-like shine to it. Meh.

The lobster filling was decently generous, and was a mix of all different parts of the lobster. Reasonably well cooked, not chewy, not rubbery, but it didn't taste particularly fresh. It was heavily dressed in mayo dressing (which I do like!), with tons of herbs, which I enjoyed the flavor of and made it a bit unique. Nestled under the lobster salad was a single piece of lettuce, saturated in mayo too. I really did like the mayo and herbs quite a bit.

On the side was kettle chips, perhaps house made? Crispy, assorted shapes and sizes. Mine also contained ... 2 pieces of french fry. Score? Fries are usually a $2 upgrade from the fries (and mini salads $3). The fries were fine too.

Overall, not bad, but not great, probably not worth the $27. Next time, I'll try the crab roll?
.  Thus Yankee Pier was my destination.
Soup, Salad, Dessert. $30?!
I settled on the clam chowder, a caesar salad, and ice cream sundae, all for takeout.  Not exciting, but simple, and what I was craving off my flight.

One of these items was amazing.  The others ... beyond mediocre.
The restaurant is a full service restaurant, although it also has walk-in bar seating, and offers takeout.  Since I didn't want to sit in the restaurant and have a longer meal, I opted for takeout, intending to take leftovers home easily, and just go to the nearby foodcourt to eat more quickly.
I wanted a dessert, and the menu listed three options: a simple sundae, scoops of ice cream, or  "Seasonal dessert: Please ask your server."  I asked what desserts were available, and I was told, "Do you want to see a menu?  Here, here is a menu," and the menu was thrust at me.  "It says to ask you?"
 I said.  The bartender, who you order takeout from, glared at me.  "I think we have cheesecake", is all she said.  Hmm.  Not such a "seasonal" dessert.  So I asked what kind of ice cream they had.  "Vanilla."  Well, ok then.  I guess I'd get the sundae?

It was easy to place my order at the bar, and my food arrived quickly.  But the packaging was horrible, nearly every box/bowl making a mess.
New England Clam Chowder (Cup). $7.95.
I have many things to say about this clam chowder.

First, I'm going to start with the portion.  Because it was ... striking.  What you see is what I got.  Yes, a reasonable size little bowl, but not even half full.  Um.  Ok.  The portion size was laughable, which might be ok given that this was the "cup" and they do sell a "bowl" as well, but for $7.95, I expected more than 3 spoonfuls of chowder.  The "bowl" is $11, and even filling this would be less than I expect for that price.

Moving on. Next, packaging.  The lid didn't really fit tight, and, even walking with it to the food court nearby, it spilt everywhere.  Horrible mess.  For takeout intended to be brought on flights, and an item I'm sure is a top takeout item, this made no sense.

Now that I'm done being grumpy about my tiny messy portion, I'll review the actual chowder.

It was fine.  Served hot enough.  Creamy.  Not too watery.  Chunks of skin-on red potatoes and celery rounded out the chowder, plus ... I guess a few clams?  Pretty sure I had ... 3? clams total.  And maybe 10 little pieces of potato and 5 chunks of celery.  I'm not joking.  This portion was tiny, and not exactly loaded up.  But the potatoes were well cooked, not too soggy.

It lacked seasoning though, I wished I at least had cracked pepper to add.

For $7.95 this was just ... not really acceptable.
Classic Caesar Salad. $6.95.
"Parmesan, Croutons."

The Caesar also failed in the packaging department.  As I was handed my bag, the bartender even said, "oh, watch out, the salad box opened up, they don't really shut well."  Awesome.  Luckily, I wasn't going far.

And luckily, it was an awesome Caesar.

Yes, it was just a classic Caesar.  But ... it was a really, truly good Caesar.  One of the best I've had in years, actually.  Juicy, fresh, hearts of romaine.  No brown spots in sight.  Huge shreds of decently aged parmesan.  Really quite a good foundation.

The croutons were the shocker, really well seasoned, garlicky, herby.  I truly enjoyed the croutons.  Far, far better than the croutons from the Giants Clubhouse restaurant around the corner.

And then, the critical component, the dressing.  Super thick, great flavor (yes, I tasted anchovy!), texture from grated parmesan, properly seasoned with pepper.  Fantastic Caesar dressing, and I'm pretty picky about my Caesar.  I truly loved this dressing.

For me, this was a perfect Caesar.  Every element was exactly the style I like.  The portion was fine for the price.  I'd get this again in an instant.  In fact, I want more now.
Funday Sundae. $7.95.
"Vanilla ice cream, fudge & caramel sauce, whipped cream."

I also wanted dessert.  Since my options were cheesecake, plain vanilla ice cream, or a sundae (see above), I went for the sundae, as it seemed to hold the most promise, and I do love ice cream.

Let's just say ... this was not a premium sundae.   I regretting getting it fairly instantly.

The ice cream was simple vanilla ice cream, a bit icy, and freezer burned.  No idea what brand.  Not particularly creamy, no vanilla bean flavor.  The Giants Clubhouse at least uses Strauss vanilla ice cream, and I wished I had gotten my sundae there instead.

The "fudge" was actually just chocolate sauce, thin, watery chocolate sauce, from a bottle.  There was a tiny bit of watery thin caramel as well.  The whipped cream came from a can, generic brand.  They threw a cherry on top, but, coated it in chocolate sauce, so no pop of red here.

Overall, this was as lackluster of a sundae as you can possibly get.  Low end ice cream, whip cream, and sauces, all quite generic, no nuts, no other toppings, and $7.95 for two tiny scoops?

Not worth the price, not very good, and really a shame.  Next time I'll try the Giants Clubhouse one.
Yankee Pier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato