Epic Roasthouse

meter-great+Any restaurant named “Epic Roasthouse” is either incredibly good or a total disappointment. As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to find out for myself recently, and I am happy to report that I had a very non-disappointing experience. The service is great, the food is even better, and the view isn’t bad either. Epic Roasthouse isn’t exactly cheap, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, Taco Bell is right down the street.

We were banished to the 'outdoor area' which was still quite cozy.

We were banished to the ‘outdoor area’ which was still quite cozy.

” Oh dear. This was going to hurt. “

After a trafficky but otherwise uneventful drive into San Francisco, my wife Shawn and I left the car with the valet and walked inside Epic to claim our reservation. The place is oozing with a “reclaimed industrial” vibe, complete with exposed pipes and other excitingly chunky rusted things. It’s trendy and dangerously close to being too hip, but it works. We were led to our table on the patio, where we met up with the remaining 33% of our dinner party and sat down to enjoy the view.

The view here does not suck.

The view here does not suck.

The menu was what I call “typical steakhouse length”, meaning that it fit on exactly two pages. This is either good or bad, depending on your particular tastes, but in this case it was a very good thing. Epic seemed to be reading my mind with every single menu item.

The offerings were refreshingly simple without being boring. Each featured some slight twist to show that they cared enough to make it unique, but not gourmet’d-to-death like so many restaurants love to do by adding of cheetah larnyx extract, hyper rare panda dung mushrooms, and tree frog kidneys. Nope, Epic forgoes the gastric silliness and instead offers good, old fashioned kick-ass steaks with kick-ass sauces, honest but delicious-sounding sides like “Julia Child” potatoes and bacon roasted Brussels sprouts, and desserts so wickedly decadent that you are tempted to skip dinner altogether.



We ordered a couple steaks, a build-your-own salad, and a healthy assortment of sides. The steaks were… well, they were epic. Ok fine, Epic Roasthouse gets to keep its name – they do indeed live up to the hype. They both talk the talk and walk the walk. Confirmed.

To be honest, I expected the steak to be amazing, so it was hardly a surprise. To me, the true character of Epic would be revealed in the side dishes, and I am happy to report that these were even better than the steaks. The clear star of the show was the späetzle gratin – it was a succulent and deliciously cheesy interpretation of classic baked mac that absolutely exploded with flavor. The fries were slightly above average, and the asparagus was tasty and fresh. We all kept going back to the späetzle though, it was simply incredible.

'Späetzle' is German for 'straight to my waistline'.

‘Späetzle’ is German for ‘straight to my waistline’.

At this point in the meal I was already uncomfortably full, and there was no way I was going to have dessert. No chance, none. The waitperson dropped off a dessert menu anyway, a useless gesture, and then my eyes fell on the s’mores brownie cake with peanut brittle.

Oh dear. This was going to hurt.

Have you ever seen peanut brittle at a restaurant before? Me either.

Have you ever seen peanut brittle at a restaurant before? Me either.

Mercifully, Epic’s dessert portion sizes were decidedly un-American (i.e., they were smaller than an aircraft carrier). The smores cake looked exactly as decadent as it sounded, and it tasted even better. The addition of scratch-made peanut brittle to the standard chocolate-graham-marshmallow combination really worked and helped to bring the whole dish together.

One of this things is not like the others.

One of this things is not like the others.

A trio of sorbets also made an appearance at our table. The flavors were cala orange, blackberry, and banana. Those same flavors represented in intensity by font size were cara cara orange, blackberry, and BANANA. The orange was light, the blackberry was light and refreshing, and the banana was IN YOUR FACE and was at least ten times more potent than the other two. The orange and blackberry seemed downright watery after tasting the banana, but they actually worked quite well as a trio.

I have to say that I was rather impressed with my meal at Epic Roasthouse. It’s not a cheap place to eat, but in a strange twist I felt like I actually got my money’s worth out of the meal. Well, mostly anyway. The food is honest, well-made, and just creative enough to justify the lofty prices; think of it as an upscale restaurant that offers real food instead of typical “fine dining” fare. I give Epic 37 out of 40 feet of rusty industrial pipe, a solid rating for a solid establishment.

 +  Straightforward, good food
 +  Killer views
++ Best späetzle outside of Germany
It stings the wallet a bit
The dessert menu will hurt you
+ I guess that’s a good thing though

Epic Roasthouse
369 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 369-9955

Click to add a blog post for Epic Roasthouse on Zomato

This is the gateway to an extremely full belly.

This is the gateway to an extremely full belly.

P.S. Whew, I made it through the whole writeup without saying “epic win” once!

P.P.S. Damnit, I just did.


meter-good+One of the many restaurants on our list of places to visit this trip was Merriman’s Kapalua, a fancy-ish establishment with – you guessed it – a killer view. We’d heard this place can get busy, so we called ahead and attempted to get reservations. Unfortunately, sunset dining times turned out to be very difficult to come by.

The best available dinner reservation time was just after sunset several days later, so my wife and I decided to go there for appetizers instead. Or, as we prefer to say: Pupus (Pronounced “poo poos”). It’s way more fun. Try it. Pupus. (giggle) We dropped our car off at the valet in front of Merriman’s – the only parking option – and walked out to the open seating available on the generously sized patio.

A sunset at Merriman's, as seen through a glass of Fire Rock pale ale. Beyootiful.

A sunset at Merriman’s, as seen through a glass of Fire Rock pale ale. Beyootiful.

” Now I remember why I’ve never liked people with more ab muscles than IQ points “

The patio is located where the old Bay Club swimming pool used to be. Well, actually, it’s still there. The pool has been completely filled with dirt and is mostly covered with a large wooden deck. The uncovered part of the pool sports a lawn and several palm trees. Very strange indeed, but also not really noticeable.

Because this blog is not called “Uninteresting Pool Trivia“, I will now return to talking about food. My better half and I browsed the pupu menu (stifled laugh) and picked out a handful of different items that approximately equated to dinner for two. The service at Merriman’s is a little bit on the slow side, but then again so is Hawaii in general. Besides, we were there to watch the sunset, so it’s not like we were planning on leaving anytime soon anyway.

Pretty darned good sliders. THERE's the beef.

Pretty darned good sliders. THERE’s the beef.

Eventually a tanned and gleeful young lad bounded out of the kitchen area to deliver our four plates of appetizers. “Well gosh!” he said. “With an order this size I’d have thought there were six people here!” Yes, thank you. We get it, we’re little oinkers. Please keep your astute observations to yourself and go iron your collection of khaki shorts. Now I remember why I’ve never liked people with more ab muscles than IQ points.

Thankfully, our pupus (tee hee) turned out to be quite tasty. The smoked bacon and bleu cheese sliders were quite beefy and delicious, and the pork quesadilla was superb – the chili mango “wattah” dipping sauce was to die for. The fish and “chips” (actually breaded and fried eggplant) was also very good; both the breading and the tartar sauce had very nicely amped up flavors. To be somewhat healthy, we also got a goat cheese salad. So there, filter-less meal delivery drone. Nyah.

Warm goat cheese with a crispy crust on froofy salad thing. It was awesome.

Warm goat cheese with a crispy crust on froofy salad thing. It was awesome.

We finished off our “dinner” with some wonderful white chocolate filled malasadas (basically donut holes), complete with local coffee caramel dipping sauce. The molten white chocolate was perilously hot, but we managed to escape with only mildly disfiguring burns. We watched the sun set as we enjoyed our pupus (yes, it’s still funny) – overall it was a very pleasant evening indeed. It took quite a bit longer to get our bill than I would have preferred, but it wasn’t a huge deal … until I saw the total. We cleared $100 easy, even with only one drink each. It must have taken them the whole 30 extra minutes we waited just to total everything up. Well, what’s one to expect? With front row seats for the sunset like we had and more than passable noms, it was still a fair deal.

In the end, I rate this restaurant a decent 9 out of 12 blond-coiffed busboys. The value-for-food formula is questionable, but it does make for a nice night out. If you’re in the mood for a delicious pupu (snort) and your wallet can stand up to a modest beating, stop by Merriman’s Kapalua for a bite.

Multiple locations throughout Hawaii

Merriman's on Urbanspoon

The Kahlua pork quesadilla was slam-dunk piggy deliciousness.

The Kahlua pork quesadilla was slam-dunk piggy deliciousness.