Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Maybe it's because Tyler Florence is accustomed to playing to a national audience on Food Network that six-week-old Wayfare Tavern feels so regionally nonspecific. The Federalist-inn-meets-tallyho-pub aesthetic would play equally well in Boston, Chicago, or Dallas: stags'-head trophies, portraits of anonymous bearded Victorians, and on the soundtrack, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five. It's all a bit like the suiting department at Nordstrom, only ― at lunch yesterday ― none of the guys were wearing suits, merely the dress-shirt-over-golf-tan uniform of the FiDi.
But you've got to hand it to Florence. For all the wood-panel generics, the Mill Valley resident has steeped his Americana menu in locavore specifics: Monterey Bay sardines, Sonoma foie gras, even a dish native to these parts, Hangtown Fry. At Tadich, the oyster-and-bacon-studded omelet is leather-edged and scrappy. Here, the cooks turn out something thick and fluffy, a scrambled-egg cake embedded with crumbed and fried Pacific oysters, crowned with bacon slices and giant watercress plouf. No finesse, only big-fisted proteins. It'd look great on TV. Ain't that America?
Wayfare Tavern: 558 Sacramento (at Leidesdorff), 772-9060.