Since discovering a huge collection of different food stands at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, Pdho and I have been looking for more opportunities to eat there. In addition to the traditional vendors selling raw, organic produce and vegetables, there is a wide variety of vendors selling cooked foods. I’ve already tried a couple different things at Namu’s stand which I found to be pretty tasty. The lox place was another stand that was pretty awesome as well.
It’s quite impressive the set up that some of these vendors put together. They have full-on grills, ovens and stoves going, and when it’s a nice, warm day out (as it was today), those guys are really sweating bullets. Nevertheless, it’s all about the quality of the food, and Hayes Street Grill was so good the first time we went with TUmmy that we decided to go back again with K Squared.
The menu includes a variety of breakfast eats and seafood-centric sandwiches, which is where I immediately gravitated toward. As to be expected, I ordered some Fried Calamari to share which I shared with Pdho and TUmmy. The calamari was very well made. It was lightly battered, tender and tasty, but the dipping sauce was really the star of the appetizer. I think Hayes Street Grill serves American cuisine, but the flavors in the dipping sauce were distinctly Asian. It was a cross between a Thai sweet chili sauce and Vietnamese fish sauce. It really was very good and made the Fried Calamari even better.
On my first experience, I ordered the Dungeness Crab Sandwich. Although the picture doesn’t truly depict the sandwich very well, without a doubt, it was probably one of the better tasting crab sandwiches I’ve ever had. The crab cake was made with a lot of lump crab meat and was sandwiched with some fresh greens, tomatoes and a tartar-flavored aioli spread between a mini baguette. At $10, it wasn’t cheap, but it was definitely worth the price, and I would gladly pay for it again.
On the subsequent visit, they actually ran out of the Dungeness Crab Sandwich (which tells you how popular it is), so I ended up ordering the Soft-shell Crab Sandwich. Like the crab sandwich, the soft shell crab was served with fresh greens, tomatoes, and a tartar aioli on a baguette. Although, both sandwiches are pretty good, I think I preferred the crab sandwich more. The soft shell crab was crunchy and flavorful, but I think the general taste of soft shell crab can be hit or miss. There is a certain after taste, that depending on how the soft shell crab is prepared, is a little more prominent some times more than others.
Overall, I liked the food at Hayes Street Grill. It is definitely more on the pricey side of the spectrum, but after perusing the menu of their brick-and-mortar outpost in Hayes Valley, the pricing is kind of in line with their food. Nevertheless, the calamari and Dungeness Crab Sandwich are worth a try as long as you prepared to splurge $20 for lunch.
Hayes Street Grill at the Farmer’s Market
Behind the Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA
PAFO Ratings for Hayes Street Grill at the Farmer’s Market:
Price 2½ stars
Ambiance 2 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars