The House is permanently closed
photo credit: Krescent Carasso
Neighborhood restaurants don’t have to be good to be popular. When they’re just OK, you go to them because they’re convenient. But when they’re great, you feel proud to be able to pull them out of your back pocket at a moment’s notice. The House, a small North Beach restaurant serving seasonal, seafood-focused food, falls into the second category.
This spot describes its menu as Asian-American, and most of the dishes represent a true mix of techniques and ingredients. Some of our favorite things here are the wasabi noodles and the sea bass. The noodles, topped with pork or salmon at lunchtime and steak at dinnertime, are spicy without setting off a four-alarm fire in your mouth, and the sea bass, with a garlic ginger soy sauce, is always perfectly cooked. What everything here has in common is a reliance on simple, tasty preparations of fresh ingredients. So it makes sense that you’ll also want to pay attention to the handful of daily specials. They tend to be just as good as (if not better than) the dishes on the regular menu.
Portions are generous but appropriate - two appetizers and one entree should be more than enough to feed two people for dinner (as long as you don’t mind sharing), but if you’d rather just order for yourself, you won’t need a wheelbarrow or some kind of drone service to carry you home. Wines by the glass hover around the $9 range, and considering an entree at dinner will run you $25-$35, that’s a very reasonable price point.
Service is another thing The House has going for it. The owner will most likely seat you, and your server will come by to see if you’d like anything to drink before you can even start to wonder where he or she might be. There aren’t too many tables inside, but on a typical weeknight, you can walk in easily (Friday nights and weekends tend to get busier, so just make a reservation). All of these things make The House a perfect spot to catch up with friends or go on a slightly-more-than-casual date.
This is an easy lunch or dinner option in North Beach, but it’s not the kind of place you end up stopping at just because you can’t think of anywhere else to go. It’s the kind of place you’ll look forward to visiting all week, even if it’s just for a low-key dinner with your roommate. You might even see us there - because like Star Wars and your aunt’s “40th” birthday, we’ll always keep coming back.
These are brought to the table when you sit down. Light, tasty pickles with sesame seeds. We’re fans.
Perfectly cooked octopus that comes with a sriracha aioli, but isn’t overdressed. The tempura potatoes underneath could be crispier, but it’s easy to let that slide because the octopus itself is so good.
Deep-Fried Salmon Roll
Not a roll with a bunch of filler cream cheese jalapeno explosion and “oh yeah, here’s some salmon.” This roll is 96.27% salmon (we calculated that very scientifically) on the inside, and comes with Chinese mustard sauce that gives it some bite. Simple and really good.
Ahi Tuna Tartare
The tuna can be a little over-spiced, which distracts from the flavor of the fish, and the sweet potato chips can also get a little soggy if you wait too long to eat. We recommend getting whatever raw fish appetizer special they have instead.
Warm Wasabi House Noodles
Thick noodles with wasabi flavor that comes through without sinus-clearing heat. Available with flat iron steak during dinner hours, or with either grilled pork or king salmon at lunch. We particularly like these with the grilled pork. A+.
Available at lunch, and not as good as their wasabi peers (these are a little soupy). Still not bad, but not a knockout. If you order these, add some of the grilled chicken.
Grilled Sea Bass
Cooked perfectly every time. The flavor of the fish comes through well, and the garlic ginger soy sauce is a good complement. We like to get this with noodles instead of rice.