Upon stepping inside of Marlowe, I was quite surprised by how intimate the restaurant was. For some reason, I expected a larger, more expansive space a kin to a warehouse-like set up, but with a small bar and a couple handfuls of small tables, the maximum capacity of the restaurant probably hovers around 40 or so. The restaurant’s dark-wooded walls and and a large ream of butcher paper upon which the specials are advertised provided an industrial-like ambiance which was kind of interesting especially for a restaurant in SOMA.
Before even perusing the menu, I knew Pdho and I had to order the Marlowe Burger which has made several “best of” lists from different foodie-focused websites and blogs. I debated between the Warm Rock Shrimp sandwich and the Fried Chicken Sandwich, and at the recommendation of the waitress, we went with the Fried Chicken Sandwich.
Both dishes included french fries served with a horseradish aioli. The french fries were thinly cut, crisply fried, and very well-seasoned. The horseradish aioli added a zesty twist of flavor which was quite tasty without being too overpowering.
The Marlowe Burger was a juicy patty of ground beef topped with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce and a horseradish aioli. The bread was toasted and spread with the same horseradish aioli, and although I thought it was a little bit on the firm side, the dryness of the bread nicely balanced the juiciness oozing from the beef patty and its toppings. It was definitely one tasty burger.
The Fried Chicken Sandwich was equally delicious. Like the burger, the bread on this sandwich was similarly dry and helped to soak up a lot of the oily goodness coming from the fried chicken breast. The most interesting flavor was a slight anchovy-like taste that I assume came from the Caesar-dressed salad mix in the sandwich. It was noticeably pungent but oddly tasty. I actually liked it even though I tend to avoid anchovies on everything from pizzas to salads.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the food, at least for our lunch time meal. At $12, both the burger and chicken sandwich seemed kind of pricey, but considering the restaurants in the area, it wasn’t too surprising. However, the ingredients tasted fresh and flavorful and are somewhat more deserved of its higher than average price tag.
330 Townsend St # 101
San Francisco, CA 94107
PAFO Ratings for Marlowe:
Price 3 stars
Ambiance 3½ stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars