A Traditional Chophouse
With a healthy flair!
It was Saturday Night and The Dining Detectives were in the South Beach - China Basin neighborhood of San Francisco. Our mission this evening was to dine at a new restaurant, The ACME Chophouse, which is located adjacent to Pac Bell Park. The décor is casually elegant featuring the look and feel of an Old San Francisco Grill. This is accomplished by the lovely wooden bar, rich wood paneled walls, Deco lighting and a mix of booths and tables. The recent renovation features aesthetics which are green and sustainable matching the socially responsible business practices of the ACME Chophouse.
We began our evening at the bar and had a cocktail before dining. We enjoyed chatting with the bartenders, John and Jon, who told us that ACME has great food and was jam-packed on Ballgame days, which can be a challenge at the Bar. They love it though and a great time is had by all!
We were soon greeted by Keith Reese, who we know from his previous position at another famous San Francisco Steak House. Keith is now the General Manager at ACME and they could not have made a better choice. He is one of the most pleasant and knowledgeable restaurateurs we know. When you dine there be sure to meet him! Keith shared with us the socially conscious philosophy behind the restaurant. Traci Des Jardins, Managing Chef, Thom Fox, Chef de Cuisine, and Larry Bain, Director of Operations are the visionaries behind ACME. They are committed to using naturally raised meats from Niman Ranch and grass fed local meats from The Western Ranchers Beef Cooperative, as well as poultry, local fish and sustainably grown fresh produce. Healthier food makes for a healthier clientele!
Our server was soon at our table alerting us to the specials which included a grass fed New York Steak and Wild Salmon. We ordered some Santa Lucia Sparkling Italian Mineral Water and some wines by the glass and were about to see what The ACME Chophouse had to offer.
Baby Back Ribs- The ribs were a large starter and were tender and had a spicy sauce. This could be enough for a meal.
Seafood Platter- This was a superior platter which is great choice for Oyster Lovers.
Cracked Dungeness Crab, Clams on The Half Shell, Chilled Shrimp, a generous serving of Oysters on The Half Shell (Kumamoto, Hog Island and Tomales Bay) and Chilled Mussels. All the shellfish was extremely fresh and the sauces added to their taste. The platter was placed on an elevated stand for all to enjoy.
Grass-Fed New York Steak- This was a first for us and we were pleased with the preparation, juiciness and taste. The lower fat content gives the steak a different consistency and taste. It is interesting to note that grass-fed beef cooks much faster than traditional beef, as much as 30% faster. The spices and grilling made it a tasty cut.
Braised Short Ribs- This was our favorite Entrée. It fell off the bone and melted in your mouth with a terrific sauce. Simply superb!
Cured Double Cut Pork Chops- Brined (marinated overnight in brown sugar, kosher salt, lemon and, onion.) This was also a fantastic entrée that was thick cut, moist and flavorful.
Baseball Steak- This is a butchers cut that is sometimes called a hanger steak. The sliced presentation was lovely and it was juicy and moist with a savory flavor.
All entrees are accompanied with sauces of your choice. We particularly enjoyed the Chimichui, Salsa Verde and Whole Grain Mustard sauces with our main courses.
Fabulous Fresh Vegetable Sides
All the sides were prepared with locally grown produce and the taste reflected the freshness. The Creamed Spinach, Scalloped Potatoes and Market Vegetables could not have been better and rounded out the meal perfectly. Even those of you who may shy away from vegetables will find these to be superb!
ACME Sweets- We opted for 4 desserts and usually only mention a few. It was hard to tell which was the best from our choices of Apricot Cheesecake, Peach and Cherry Pie, Butterscotch Pudding, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Cake. The desserts kept being passed back and forth around the table and they were all worthy. The sleeper was the Apricot Cheesecake which was moist and cheesy but not too sweet. It was whipped to perfection, almost like custard and had the unique apricot topping that made it tangy. Along with dessert we were pleased to taste some Ports. The Taylor Floodgate 10 year Tawny which was toasty and carmally and the Nieport 20 year Tawny which had a terrific finish, a dry fig taste and was drier were a perfect accompaniment to the super desserts.
Acme Coffees and Teas are a great closer after a hearty meal. For coffee try the Jaguar Espresso which is Shade Grown in Brazil and Guatemala or the Nicaragua Fair Trade Organic. As for the tea drinkers try the Chamomile Citrus Blossom or the Mint Mélange.
Booth McKinney, the Wine Director afforded us the opportunity to try a number of interesting and better wines by the glass. One could easily find a bottle as well to pair with the cuisine and your budget. The wines that we enjoyed included a French Sancerre, Domaine des Vieux Pruniers, Loire Valley 2000 which was a light White wine like a Sauvignon Blanc which pared perfectly with the Seafood Platter and a Clos du Val, Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 which pared perfectly with the Steaks.
The Acme Chophouse is a welcome addition to the San Francisco Dining Scene. The staff was friendly yet professional and the meal was well paced. The philosophy of locally grown and in season produce and better fed animals with superior preparation produced excellent meals. The portions were ample but not overwhelming leaving us still able to try the superb desserts. We highly recommend The Acme Chophouse and look forward to returning soon with more friends.