photo credit: Palm Court
The Palm Court at RH San Francisco
Marble is everywhere at Palm Court, the RH gallery restaurant in the Dogpatch. As are sand-colored drapes, roman sculptures, tiered-glass chandeliers, and Medjool date palms towering over a trickling fountain. The ginormous glass and steel atrium sits in a restored 80,000-square-foot neoclassical building (with ties to the Golden Gate Bridge) evoking the magnitude of the Panthéon. It’s an impressive Greco-Roman fantasy colliding with the Gilded Age.
The fantasy doesn’t have much depth, though. Those palms? They’re fake. And sadly, no one’ll hand-feed you grapes with the romantic flourish reserved for the gods. Strip away the grandeur, and what remains is lackluster American food at exorbitant prices.
This spot is fixated on getting you to blow through money. The high and mighty theme continues with the “tasteful” dress code, so feel free to work that Net-a-Porter purchase, or whatever outfit you wore to last week’s wedding. Before you even arrive at the host stand, the perfectly nice staff will have already suggested you order champagne from one of the two wine bars in hopes that you’ll swirl it around as you wander the showrooms filled with RH (which you likely know as Restoration Hardware) leather beds, travertine tables, and modular couches that couldn’t fit through the doors of most San Francisco homes. Everything is for sale. Whether you interpret this place as fancy Ikea for adults or capitalist hellscape depends on how hard the champagne has hit.
While the showrooms and restaurant (naturally outfitted by RH) are aspirational, the live-fire-themed menu is not. There’s a grilled half-avocado topped with caviar for $42, a tiny but passable whole-fried branzino, and a minuscule $56 ciabatta sandwich filled with overly charred wagyu. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams, Palm Court is not. For a place with haute life aesthetics, the food is laughably forgettable.
But hey, at least the rooftop views are great. Palm Court has successfully manufactured a space worthy of a grand occasion, especially in a city where jeans and fleece are passable formal attire. We’ll give them that. If you want an excuse to gussy up, are simply curious to check out the impressive building restoration, or are part of the Davos class with actual money to blow—go ahead and make a reservation. But remember that all that glitters is certainly not gold. Better to just grab some wine and wander.
For $56, Palm Court will deliver well-charred and flavorless wagyu on top of the smallest piece of ciabatta. And there’s nothing else in it. We’re not sure how a place so dressed up came to the conclusion to dress this sandwich way, way down, and not in a cool Jonah Hill way.
These are well-seasoned, nicely coated in pecorino romano and (because this is Palm Court) truffles. Sure, we’ll take it, even if a cone of it is $20.
This burger is one of the cheaper sandwiches and mains ($30) on the menu, but it pains us to report that it is bland and plain, like the wagyu sandwich. A patty, a thick slab of Monterey jack cheese, and the previously mentioned ciabatta.
A small, whole-fried branzino that’s not in real competition with the countless whole-fried branzinos across town. And without sides, this perfectly fine branzino is not exciting enough to stand on its own.
This was one of the best cooked things here, but still lacked umph. The chicken was juicy, and the jus had a bit of flavor. The half option is enough for two.
Signs of life. Fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, and some pesto. Since everything here is very much a la carte, we were surprised to see pretty hefty sized bread slices come in.