Sam’s Grill and Seafood Restaurant is the fifth oldest restaurant in the US. It was first listed here in 2015 but I didn’t write up subsequent visits. They credit themselves for helping establish San Francisco as the culinary mecca it is today. They serve local seafood, simply prepared, alongside local vegetables. I thought of it as similar to Tadich Grill but it doesn’t seem to have weathered the pandemic as well. The crowd at lunch was very light and the server was marginal (maybe some language issues here) and tried to sell us on more items when we were ordering plenty. The medium-sized place is full of wood and white tablecloths with some natural light from the windows to the street. The walls are decorated with photos and nature shots. The food was marginal to bad and they charge for bread service.
We split an order of Hangtown Fry which included local oysters, bacon and a cheese omelet. The 3 large fried oysters were on top of the omelet as was the bacon. The omelet was nicely moist with the eggs blended with cheese and scallions but the oysters were awful – strong and distasteful. The bacon was so-so and not at all crisp. The potatoes were young, fresh and tasty.
To pair with the Hangtown Fry we ordered the Golden Dome hash brown potatoes, a side dish. It was nicely browned grated potatoes with creamy ones on the inside. It was very good but looked more like potato Rosti in the photos, where it would be browned in butter on both sides. Even so, it was good with nice flavors.
The plates came with two sides. Sand Dabs a la Sam’s were available and so my husband had those with steamed broccoli and boiled red potatoes. The Sand Dabs had no breading nor any grill flavor or marks, thus they were very bland. The red potatoes with this plate were bigger and less tasty than the ones with the omelet. The broccoli could have used a lot more cooking to make it less raw and edible.
The Petrale Sole was available and I chose it to be mesquite grilled with drawn butter. For my 2 sides, I chose steamed broccoli and German potato salad. The fish had the marks but no flavor of a grill or smoke. It was bland and could have used more butter or something to give it flavor. The thicker parts were cooked nicely but the thinner parts got dry. It needed a lot of lemon to give it some spark. The broccoli had the same raw issues and the German potato salad was yucky.