Every so often I get cravings, but I usually have a place in mind to go satisfy that craving. When I found myself craving a lobster roll, I had no idea where to go in the city. There are a few good places outside of the city with Old Port Lobster Shack probably being one of my favorite ones. So I decided to Yelp “lobster roll” and Woodhouse Fish Company turned up at the top of the list with a very solid 4 star rating based on over 1000 reviews.
There were so many items from the menu calling my name, but considering it was just Pdho and myself, I begrudgingly limited our meal to the New England Clam Chowder, Fried Calamari and of course, the full Split Top Maine Lobster Roll.
The Maine Lobster Roll was excellent! The buttery bun, came hot, lightly toasted and teeming with tasty chunks of plump lobster meat. It’s always a delicate decision of how the lobster is prepared, with butter, lemon, mayo or au natural. I prefer mayo, but like this roll, it should be lightly tossed to let the juicy lobster flavor come through. It was served with some crispy thin fries and a small serving of cole slaw. Both were good and complemented the star of the dish, but neither was truly all that special.
The clam chowder actually comes in three possible versions, the New England (Classic), the Manhattan (Tomato-based), and Hartford (New England base with dollops of the Manhattan mixed throughout.) Although tempted to try the Hartford, we opted for the traditional version and it did not disappoint. It was smooth and creamy with chunks of potatoes and clams, far above what one would ever find in any other clam chowder. I think what I enjoyed the most was the addition of white wine that really added a different and notably refined fragrance to the soup.
The Fried Calamari was an equally delicious dish to round out the meal. It was crispy, well-seasoned, and appropriately battered. It really is hard to go wrong with calamari, at least in my opinion.
Unlike NYC, the Lobster Rolls options are pretty limited in the Bay area where the same handful of places consistently make up the limited number of restaurants that serve these tasty crustacean sandwiches. I actually had the same meal at Old Port Lobster Shack which I would say is pretty much on par with one another. I’ve also tried the lobster roll from two trucks which also happen to have restaurants, New England Lobster Company and Sam’s Chowder Mobile. New England’s version might have a slight edge mainly because the lobster to bun ratio is more generous, but Sam’s lobster roll flavor is still good.
All in all, I really enjoyed the meal. The restaurant is a little on the small side and there was a healthy number of people waiting. We arrived around 8pm on a Friday night, and we only waited about 30 minutes before getting seated at the bar. This may not always be the case and since it doesn’t take reservations, it probably can be hit or miss.
Woodhouse Fish Company
1914 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
PAFO Ratings for Woodhouse Fish Company:
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars