Monday, August 18, 2014
Hey now! Look who's got the scoop! Sorry, but I can't resist - I'm just so excited to be writing about something that happened less than two months ago. This past weekend I was lucky enough to see a Facebook post from the chef at Ironside, indicating that Consortium Holdings was opening an open-air bar called Fairweather over their new sandwich shop/delicatessen Rare Form this weekend. It was sweet serendipity for me, because I was staying right around the corner from there with a friend this weekend at the Omni next to the ballpark. She needed a little mini getaway so she booked a room through Priceline for a mini-staycation and invited me to join her. We were pretty impressed with that place too. The room was nice, the pool deck was lovely, and it was a lot of fun to be on vacation in my own town, ten minutes away from my house.
After meeting up at the hotel we walked literally around the corner (ok, maybe two corners) to Rare Form and climbed the stairs in the back (it's a little more complicated than that, but you'll figure it out) to the brand new upstairs rooftop bar. It's not as high as some of the other rooftop spots in town, but what it lacks in external view (which is a pastoral view of the Park at the Park just outside Petco) it makes up for with its own internal beauty.
Like all Consortium projects, this place is long on gorgeousness, with that same killer Granada Tile that makes Intelligentsia in LA such a popular spot, and lots of marble, citrus and greenery. Always a winning formula.
It's a long narrow space, with cozy booths along the railing, the bar right in the center and a long communal marble table at the far side backed by a green wall.
The tables were decked out with little brass hurricane lanterns and they were serving a limited cocktail menu for the opening, but will be in full swing soon.
There were a lot of people in Hawaiian shirts and tiki gear - no doubt because Tiki Oasis was in town this weekend. I didn't make it to any of the festivities but James went to the party on Thursday and checked out the hotel on Friday and said it looked like a blast - we'll have to make that happen next year. I saw this snappy group by the bar on Saturday and asked if I could take their picture - turns out the couple on the right are the owners of Smugglers Cove, one of our favorite tiki bars in San Francisco. Fun running into them.
We ordered tiki style drinks too as it turned out - the Rum Runner for me, and the "Blue Drink" for Beth. There were some opening night jitters in the service and drinks, but we know these guys know how to make cocktails because they do them so well at Craft & Commerce and Polite Provisions, so I have no fear those things will be ironed out asap.
They aren't serving food upstairs and haven't quite figured out how that is going to work yet, but you can order food to go and take it upstairs yourself. They gave us half of our order wrapped to go and half for here - which worked out well enough since the sweet girl working downstairs helped me carry everything.
This was my second time eating at Rare Form. They specialize in sandwiches and call the restaurant a delicatessen. That might be a stretch, but the sandwiches and sides I've tried so far have all been good. I especially liked the Chicken Crisp sandwich we had the other night - a crisp chicken cutlet with buffalo sauce, caper aioli and red cabbage slaw - it's got some good punch to cut the richness of the chicken. Iv'e also tried the Rare Form 44, their version of a Reuben, and the Italian Roast Pork, with braised kale and mustard. We also tried the chicken liver mousse in a jar - called the chicken liver parfait. For the first time in my life, I think they gave us enough toast to go with it. We also had the farro salad, which I wasn't so crazy about it but my friend loved it, and some chips to snack on while we waited for our food.
I haven't always been so complimentary of Consortium Holdings places in the past. The attitude at Craft & Commerce annoyed me, as did the lack of spoons and the frigid atmosphere at Underbelly, and I wasn't bowled over by the meatballs at Soda & Swine at first - but I've continued to go back to both Craft & Commerce and Soda & Swine/Polite Provisions and they've solved a lot of their issues over time. Ironside is gorgeous but the food has been a little uneven - amazing one day, not so much another. As for Rare Form, the service and attitude at are as welcoming as can be. Though the food isn't always perfect and you can't eat the atmosphere at any of these places, I'll definitely keep coming back to this one.
795 J Street
On the walkway next to Park at the Park - off J Street
Posted by Alice Q. Foodie on Monday, August 18, 2014