The House

Need some tall food? Like, tall as a house? House Restaurant stacks food tall with high-quality technique, fanciful mosaic-like presentations, and vibrant flavors, says Melanie Wong.

The kitchen’s best talents are demonstrated in a wonderful grilled fresh fig salad: a mix of mizuna and other salad greens with six halves of sweet, squishy, delicately charred and caramelized black Mission figs. An even better appetizer is seared dayboat scallops. Described as a spicy ponzu sauce, the emulsified citrusy sauce is more akin to a beurre blanc made with olive oil.

Entrees are generous and equally good. Creamy-textured and crisp-crusted fried chicken livers with garlicky soy marinade are like Chinese fried chicken and are very fresh tasting. Accompanying greens are somewhat underseasoned, yet a good foil for the meal’s other assertive flavors. Braised Niman ranch pork shoulder is topped, unnecessarily but luxuriously, with gorgeously crusty foie gras. The fatty and fork-tender pork gives off warmly spicy, garlicky, and slightly sweet juices that mix well with the side of nori rice and Napa cabbage. Other hits are flatiron steak with wasabi noodles and spicy slaw, and perfect seared crisp-skinned sable (black cod) with Dungeness crab and avocado maki.

As if you’d have room, chocolate cake is great, with deep fudgy texture and crunchy praline bits.

The sole misses are vegetable accompaniments (with rib eye), which are undercooked to the point of hardness; overcooked, tough fried calamari; and bland blueberry bread pudding.

House Restaurant [North Beach]
1230 Grant Ave., San Francisco
415-986-8612
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Board Links: The House in San Francisco