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American in Soma


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Hours: THURSDAY5:30PM to 10:00PM
    Perfect for
  • First/Early in the Game Dates

TBD won the fictional Infatuation SF award for coolest new room of 2013. One wall is a giant pit of flaming wood with grills precariously suspended above. Most of the seats are turned towards the spectacle of your food being cooked over this monster.

Trust us, it’s badass.

But, somehow, most of the food emerging from this raging inferno arrives at your table lukewarm.

How does this happen?

Two potential explanations: there’s a blast freezer between the grill and the dining area, or someone lets the food sit. Either way, it’s a bummer.

Beyond temperature, everything was a notch off on our visit to TBD. Clearly the recipes were carefully-conceived. But the execution was not quite there (e.g. watery cocktails).

That said, if you’re looking for a wow-your-date spot, this is it. Get a seat facing the fire.

The deal is done.

Food Rundown

Scallops with Citrus

Not very good. All of the ingredients were solid by themselves: juicy scallops, tasty citrus, but when they were put together...bleh. Also, the frozen vegetable juice on top (sorry, food police, it’s “granita”) was not enjoyable. A bad start to the meal, despite our waiter’s recommendation.

Grilled Bread and Butter with Seaweed

The bread here is out of control (from another joint: Josey Baker). The butter is delicious. The seaweed, shockingly enough, kind of worked, even though it looked like the orange flotsam from the public beaches of your childhood. Sadly, like everything else, this was below room temperature. What the hell, people, don’t serve it in a cast iron pan if it’s coming in at 60 degrees. Talk about great expectations.

Leeks Rolled in Coals

Awesome vegetables with a nice char, served tepid. We don’t get it.

Carrots with Lentils and White Sesame

The carrots had a nice sear from the plancha, and the white sesame puree was insanely delicious. That puree is probably the best thing we’ve tasted at TBD. Throw it on everything. Otherwise, there were about three times as many lentils as necessary, and they had way too much oil. Also the dish was not hot. But you expect that at this point.

Pork Andouille Sausage with Fenugreek

A nice slab of sausage, and we had to put “fenugreek” in the description since that’s such a cool word. Yeah, we don’t know what it is either. Also not warm.

Banana Soft Serve with Nilla Wafers

Heavily upsold by our waiter (like the scallops, cocktails, and carrots), this was good but not up to the Bi-Rite/Slocombe standard. SF is an ice cream mecca, restaurants best step their game up. At least serving it cold made sense.