With glass windows for a storefront, exposing the brightly lit bar and tables full of happy diners, Mason Pacific was not only inviting visually but with fabulous reviews and personal recommendations this San Francisco restaurant was a must try. Originally going without the intent on writing about it, my mind was soon changed with the friendly, accommodating and overall five star service we experienced.
While our bottle of 2011 Hall Cabernet decanted we sampled their house red which turned out to be a great starter wine as well as a full bang for your buck. Opting for more of a family style, we started with the Kale Salad, with the kale chopped into thin slices highlighted with pomegranate seeds, pear and a yogurt dressing. With the salad came out the restaurant’s famous buttermilk fried chicken. When I say this is the best fried chicken I have ever tasted, I am not kidding! The flakey buttermilk crust was the perfect amount of salty with almost no grease. The Chef, Sean McTiernan, was kind enough to spend quite a bit of time with us during the meal explaining each dish. The chicken is soaked in a sugar and salt brine for 24 hours and followed with a buttermilk soak for another 24 hours making it so flavorful. It had a remoulade sauce on the side which was a perfect, almost refreshing addition to the salty chicken. I could have, and absolutely would have, had an entire order to myself for my main course.
For our next dishes we chose the brussel sprouts roasted with bacon and grapes, a risotto and Mason Pacific’s ribeye. The risotto was mixed with parmesan and Pleasant Reserve cheese and was placed on a bed of bright green broccoli puree. Topping it off were parmesan crisps, charred broccoli, more Pleasant Reserve cheese and a drizzle of charred scallion oil. This cheesy risotto truly melted in your mouth. The Schmitz Ranch ribeye was an enormous cut of meat for two but fed the three of us perfectly. The steak was accompanied by a small tray with 13 different toppings for you to mix and match for your ribeye slices. These included sea salt, a wine reduction, gorgonzola, house made beef butter, yogurt, dried capers, mustard seed and the charred scallion oil to name a few. The Chef recommended the yogurt and wine reduction combination which went fabulously together.
To top of our wonderful meal, there was no question that we would be sharing a dessert. We ordered the bread pudding with a brown butter and cinnamon caramel sauce topped with a Guinness and ginger ice cream – because who doesn’t love a good bread pudding? Once again, the chef came to the table, asking what we had ordered for our sweet option and started in on a story about one of the other desserts, their Chocolate Crepe Gateaux. As a child, his mother would cook him the same birthday dinner and make this same cake every year. It was individual crepes dipped in chocolate and layered one on top of the other until you had about 70 layers of crepes making up this chocolate cake. He told us that they make a smaller version of it and instead of dipping it in regular chocolate they dip it in their house Pot de Creme and top it with a malted milk chocolate ice cream. Wishing we could switch our dessert choice, Chef Sean promised to bring us a piece of the cake to try. When it came, the individual layers of crepe made this cake look more like a piece of art than an edible dessert. It was incredible. The malted milk chocolate ice cream gave a whole new dimension to the layers of crepe and pot de creme. The bread pudding was also something to rave about. With the caramel sauce oozing into every cavity of the bread pudding and the ginger Guinness ice cream melting on top, each bite had a new bold taste that only left you wanting more.
The whole experience at Mason Pacific was outstanding. I would absolutely come back to this establishment and recommend it to anyone who needs a new restaurant to try. The personal touch of the Chef coming to the table to explain each course, the stories and knowledge behind the food really showed the passion and love that went into each dish. Can’t wait to return!
*All opinions about Mason Pacific are my own*
© Rachel Davidson and Wine, Dine and Wander, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rachel Davidson and Wine, Dine and Wander with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.