I first discovered The Chapel on an impromptu-yet-totally-worth-it weeknight Dave Chapelle show. When I found out that it was about to house a restaurant too, I knew a visit was necessary. I mean, a resto named after a room where sacred objects are kept? How creepy and delicious is that?
To venture over here, I gathered up the troops at SF Foodies, a local meetup group for everything that is tasty. For those of you who are new to meetups, it’s a great way to find people with like-minded interests, and it gets you out of your comfort zone as you meet new locals and transplants looking to explore the city. Admittedly, it took me awhile to become comfortable with the idea of dining with complete strangers, but now I see it as a prime opportunity to order a lot of dishes and really delve into what a restaurant such as The Vestry is all about.
The cuisine is a mishmash of European flavors from Italy, France, and the Mediterranean. For being such a new restaurant – I visited upon its first week of opening – service was organized and our server adept at helping us maneuver the menu. I deliberately didn’t do much research beforehand, knowing only that the culinary team came from À Côté, a restaurant in Oakland that I loved eating at when I lived in the East Bay.
Seasonality shows in the menu. The heirloom tomato salad was fresh with the last crops of the year, and I could have easily eaten an entire order of squash blossoms alone.
Entrees are big – they can and should be shared. The highlights were a mountain of mussels that came in a delicious Pernod sauce – a great dipper for bread. The scallops needed a little more salt, but the accompanying salad was excellent.
Desserts really shined, which is how I remember the experience being at À Côté as well. Brioche donuts, which already sound fantastic, became even more so when filled with vanilla and chocolate creams. As y’all know, cheesecake is my all-time favorite food, so obviously I had to order it and loved the tangy taste of the Greek yogurt mixed with figs. The kitchen even sent out a lovely brown butter pear galette with a caramel cream. It could have been too sweet with the butter, course sugar topping, and caramel, but instead everything melded together perfectly.
Verdict: The Vestry is a solid spot to grab a bite before or after a Chapel show. They’re open for brunch too, and well, you know how I feel about brunch; looks like I’ll be making another stop soon. If any of you have eaten at The Vestry, let me know in the comments what you thought!
Dinner and a show, here we go.
777 Valencia Street
Open for dinner and brunch