Angler opened in September 2018 and is the newest venture for chef Joshua Skenes, however he has chosen to be a creative force rather than the chef. It is a large place and lots of mounted fish and mirrors cover the walls. The front of the restaurant is windows to the busy street outside with perfect views of the Bay bridge. Opposite the windows is the large open kitchen and another wall is used to house a long bar with some seating. Seating at tables is at fairly close-set small bare wood dark tables, some of which are served by bench/wall seating. Many chairs are draped with small blankets which could either pad the chair, keep you warm or could just be a decorative touch. Lots of flowers soften the steel structures and exposed brick and the large white cloth napkin is a nice touch. A second room has stuffed mounts of warm blooded animals. Rock music from the 80’s era plays fairly loudly in the background and it felt a bit out-of-step with the casually elegant setting, but is a known touch of Skenes. The menu was small at lunch but several types of raw oysters were available. Otherwise for a restaurant that is focused on fresh, local seafood there were surprisingly few local seafood options other than one type of oyster. In fact for main plate options, there were 3 seafood and 3 meat. Service was friendly, helpful and efficient.
We enjoyed a well made negroni from the bar as we looked over the menu.
Our meal started with a Sweet Chicory Caesar Salad made with Coraline chicory. The leaves were covered with really crispy tasty bread crumbs and dressed with an egg yolk sauce. A generous amount of grated parmesan finished the plate. It was very good and the chicory didn’t have any bitter component. It was not as rich as you’d expect from a Caesar salad and easy to split.
We tried the Pacific Gold oysters from Morro Bay, CA. They were fairly small oysters and nicely fresh. The sauce was made with tomato, lemon and vinegar. It had a slight amount of spice heat but was mostly mild which was good as it didn’t overpower the delicate oysters.
Whole Barbecued Bobwhite Quail was a nicely lacquered whole quail split down the middle. The meat was moist, smokey and succulent. It was sourced from a local grower near Petaluma, CA. and was really terrific. I’m glad we each had our own and didn’t have to split this one. Afterwards they brought a wet cloth to clean up because there’s no way to not get your hands involved in picking every morsel off this bird.
To go with the bird we split a side vegetable of Slowly grilled Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, as the main plate came with no sides or garnish. They were nicely grilled and seasoned with a bit of hot sauce but unfortunately the sauce took over the mushroom flavor. You tasted mostly spicy smoke. I think we would have been better off ordering the Grilled Parker House Rolls as the mushrooms were a disappointment.
For dessert we split a Lemon Tart. It had a lovely graham cracker crust around a smooth mildly flavored interior accented with a dollop of cream. It was nicely balanced and tasty and just the right amount of sweetness. One ding was that the crust wasn’t as buttery tasting as many I’ve had and that would have brought out a richness it lacked.