There is no shortage of places to drink in the Marina, and after my superlative experiences at Belga, I’ve vowed not to make any glib, easy jokes at their expense. In the case of Scotland Yard, though, any ribbing at all would be out of line.
Chef Jason Raffin, who also led the kitchen at BIN 38 (which previously occupied the space), oriented the kitchen around California-style tapas. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s hardly light pub fare, with poached eggs popping up alongside a mushroom-heavy spice mix that Raffin admitted he has to force himself not to coat everything with. Dishes such as sirloin tartare (remoulade, Champagne mustard, quail egg, and Worcestershire sauce) share space with an intensely flavorful kale Caesar salad (poached, egg, cherry tomatoes, and fried shallots) and Coca-Cola spareribs with toasted almonds and cilantro sprigs. Want to keep it classic? There's a clam chowder puff pie. Feeling a bit trendier? There are Vadouvan market vegetables with golden raisins and toasted pistachios.
While it still has its fair share of televisions mounted to the wall — as one might expect in Chestnut Street’s environs — Scotland Yard’s interior shows a high level of sophistication. There’s bold bordello wallpaper, sure, and a romantic nook here and there. Better still, the outside holds more people than the inside does (80 versus 50, to be exact). Although billing itself as a “contemporary Victorian bar,” Scotland Yard doesn’t play up the Sherlock-Holmes theme beyond a silhouette profile of a man smoking a pipe, and even the English influence is limited to Yorkshire puddings. The rest is modern, sexy, and adult, without any bro’ing out (or yellowed newspaper clippings of lurid 19th-century Metropolitan Police cases).
All this praise for a neighborhood that I’ve generally disliked is making me question my entire Weltanschauung! At least there’s a damn fine three-quarter-pound burger to get my through any existential crises.
Scotland Yard, 3232 Scott, 415-317-3685.