Since yesterday was my last day of summer, my mom decided that she would treat me for lunch at Wayfare Tavern. I really loved this suggestion because I have been wanting to go there for quite some time. Wayfare Tavern is owned by none other than Food Network Star, Tyler Florence. Essentially it is considered California cuisine and is a popular hangout for people who work in the Financial District.
Anyways, the reason I wanted to go here is because they have my second best fried chicken. I say second because Gus’s Fried Chicken in Memphis has my number one spot.
This is the entrance of the restaurant. I really love the atmosphere here and I really like the color of the paint that has been chosen for the walls, beams, and crown molding. They go together very well and it is carried throughout the entirety of the restaurant. It has a very masculine feel inside, but it is done with a lot of sophistication. I guess the best way I could describe the feel of the room is that it was cozy, because of the color scheme, but it was also very open because of the very high ceilings.
As I went up to the hostess to ask for a table, she asked it I wanted a seat by the chef’s counter. I immediately said yes to that option because the last time I went to Wayfare Tavern, the only seats available were at the bar. I really enjoy watching the prep cook put all the dishes together and send them out to the customers. Now what you see isn’t the main kitchen. They do a lot of plating here and it is really nice to see all the hard work the cooks are putting and you can see how much care they put into the products they put out. If you were wondering, no, Tyler Florence was not there himself. He’s probably busy shooting his TV show. It would have really been awesome to see and meet him, but I understand he’s a very busy man.
To start, we were given some warm popover bread. If you haven’t had one of these before, it’s like Yorkshire pudding. It is crispy on the outside and really airy on the inside. The reason why it is so fluffy is because of the egg. It must have been whipped for a while because it was so fluffy inside.
Since I got to sit by the kitchen, I noticed that our food was going to come out shortly and I was right. First, I’ll show you what my mom ordered.
My mom decided she would order the sirloin steak because she wanted to have something on the heavier side. I also wanted a side of fries so she ordered this so we didn’t have to shell out another $8.00 for fries. The steak was nice and juicy and very tender. I can’t really describe what was in the sauce, but I do know that wine was used. Even though the alcohol was burned off, you could still taste it. What really impressed me on this dish was the onion on the side. It was really sweet and crunchy. Mom guessed that it might we a Maui onion, but I don’t know if they get their ingredients locally or not. As far as fries go, I thought these were pretty descent. They were lightly seasoned with salt and some herbs and they were fairly crispy. They gave so much that we even needed to take it home. As for the steak, I helped finish it off.
Now I know this is not your average fried chicken. There is definitely something special about it. What differentiates it from the others is that the batter is seasoned with rosemary and thyme. Usually, if a chicken is seasoned like that, it usually is roasted. This was the first time I’ve had it fried like that. Also, the batter didn’t take away from the flavor of the chicken. Instead, it enhanced it. One serving came with five pieces, basically half of a chicken. You know how at KFC the breast is really dry and the chicken doesn’t become appetizing anymore? Well the breast was very juicy and I had chicken juice running down my face. Of course, the best part is always the leg so I definitely enjoyed my meal. I mean I better. The dish was $22.00. I know, right!? Can’t you get 2 pieces of chicken at Popeyes for 99cents? It doesn’t matter, it was definitely worth it.
Even though I ended up finishing my food as well as my mom’s, I still had room for dessert. Actually . . . make that two desserts.
My first choice was to try the peach pie with goatsmilk ice cream. All of the dessert here are priced at $9.00 except for this one. This was sold t $12.00 and I wondered why it was significantly more expensive than the rest and that was because you got an entire mini pie instead of just a slice. The pie came out nice and warm and you could tell it was oven fresh and only left out to cool for a little bit. The crust was nice and flaky and very buttery. Oh man! It was like biting into a butter cookie. Paula Deen would be very proud. Who knows? Maybe she and Tyler got together and came up with the recipe. As for the goat’s milk ice cream, it tasted like vanilla ice cream, but not as heavy. I was actually expecting it to taste a little more tart like goat cheese, but this was a very subtle ice cream. It was there to compliment the juicy peaches inside, not to overpower it.
Lastly, we had the chocolate cream pie. Now this is chocolate cream pie! The pudding was Scharffenberger dark chocolate and had a very light layer of caramel ganache. I was worried about the caramel masking the rest of the chocolate (because I don’t like caramel), but I’m glad it was a very thin layer. The only thing it added was some saltiness to cut some of the sweetness in the pie. Also, the whipped cream on top wasn’t overloaded with sugar so I was happy with it.
Of course, we couldn’t finish everything, so we had both pies packed up to take home. One of the bus boys handed us a claim check and we thought he had made a mistake because we did check our coats. He told us that it was to pick up our leftovers that was waiting for us at the front of the restaurant. This was the first time I experienced a service like that. I guess it was because we didn’t have much room at the chef’s counter to put stuff on so they held it for us until we left.
And so back to work we went with our bellies full, but not bloated.
Food: 4.2 / 5
Service: 3.5 / 5 (based on our waiter who just took our orders, but someone else delivered our food. The one who delivered our food told us a little bit about the dish, but that was it)
Atmosphere: 4.7 / 5