Outerlands San Francisco has been one of my favorite restaurants since its opening seven years ago. It has been through several chefs, an expansion, and an ever-changing menu, but it is still an excellent restaurant with creative cuisine featuring locally-grown sustainable foods. Outerlands is not a quick drive from Marin County — we usually allow one hour door-to-door — but is worth the drive. Situated just a couple blocks off of Ocean Beach in San Francisco’s Sunset District, Outerlands caters to a local clientele with many regulars. That is one reason why chef Yoni Levi and pastry chef Brooke Mosley keep the menu fresh with inventive dishes imbued with complex flavors.
Outerlands reminds me of some of the small restaurants I have enjoyed in Europe, and its intimate atmosphere enjoyed by loyal locals also reminds me of one of my favorite Marin restaurants, Molina in Mill Valley. Even after its recent expansion, Outerlands maintains its local community feel, with a hip young enthusiastic wait staff who are clearly happy to work there and who are advocates for the cuisine. The big open space features an open kitchen on one side, and a gorgeous long bar on the other. Rustic wood tables with chairs that are deceptively comfortable (they don’t look like they would be) line the walls of the restaurant. The decor is what I would call “modern beach” complete with driftwood sculpture and wood-lined walls.
“We are committed to an exploration of small business as a powerful means to connect personally and creatively with our larger community: by continuing to challenge ourselves in our creative process; by rooting that process in our surroundings and community relationships; by promoting the personal and career advancement of our staff; by serving our patrons with warmth and originality; by utilizing sustainable local resources at every opportunity.”
They are famous for their “pain au levain,” a moist fluffy flavorful bread they bake on-site. It is served with house cultured butter, central coast creamery goat gouda and candied walnuts. It was a wonderful start to our evening there.
We followed it up with their mixed greens salad and smoked salmon appetizers. The salad was delicately flavored with fresh-cut fennel and topped with shaved grana padano. The smoked salmon was absolutely amazing – large fresh pieces of sliced salmon with shaved apple and slices of egg in a delightful mustard seed dressing. The flavor combination was out of this world and won “best plate” for the evening. We also ordered brassicas, comprised of roasted broccoli and cauliflower in a whipped anchovy sauce. The vegetables were perfectly roasted and well-complimented by the sauce.
It was a cold evenings so we followed the delicious appetizers with the lamb stew, flavored with carrot, parsley and hazelnut. It was a robust dish that paired nicely with the Hall Cabernet Sauvignon we brought — yes, they provide corkage. We also had the gulf shrimp, lightly scented with chile, herbs and satsuma mandarin. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned.
By that point we were completely satiated and could not contemplate the very tempting desserts (butterscotch pudding, walnut tart, and something called “chocolate and honey” served with forbidden rice.) I definitely will save room for desserts next time.
Outerlands Reservations and Contact
Service was excellent – attentive but not intrusive, plates cleared promptly and a good “flow” to the evening with dishes arriving at good intervals. Every table was filled throughout the evening. Reservations are a must via Open Table or call the restaurant directly at 415-661-6140. They also accept reservations via email at emailto: email@example.com. Parking is street parking which can be tricky. Check out my article on Luxe Valet for an alternative.
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