Photos by Craig Lee Photography
The gist: In the five years since Rich Table opened, Hayes Valley has become a dining magnet, with Rich Table one of its big-ticket draws. It's still one of the city's toughest reservations. Now, husband-and-wife chef-owners Evan and Sarah Rich are ready to unveil their more casual, rustic-minded follow-up, RT Rotisserie. Just a block away, the counter-service concept focuses on roasted meats and playful takes on traditional sides.
Pork belly sandwich
The food: Roast chicken, pork belly and cauliflower are the three headliners on the brief menu. Each is prepared using the same brine of buttermilk, umami powder and various herbs, and can be ordered on its own with two sauces; choices include Douglas fir yogurt and chipotle yogurt. Diners can also order each of the three mains as a salad (mixed with kale and other greens) or a sandwich (tucked between Dutch Crunch bread).
A side of charred cabbage slaw
Round out the meal with oysters and a half-dozen sides like charred cabbage slaw and umami fries (sweet potato fries dusted with the porcini seasoning made famous in Rich Table's porcini donuts). Desserts from Sarah Rich stay simple, with a market fruit bowl or "milk and cookies" (a sandwich of milk soft serve and freshly baked mint chocolate chip cookies).
The drinks: Don't expect the flagship's creative cocktails. Here, it's beer and wine only. The lone beer on tap comes from San Francisco's Fort Point Beer Co. For a signature wine, Kutch Wines of Sonoma made a Pinot Noir specifically to pair with RT's roasted meats. Bonus: The bottle prices aren't heavily marked up, priced about the same as three glasses, so take advantage with a group.
The space: The 46-seat, 800-square-foot space features an ordering counter and partially open kitchen (with its prominent rotisserie spit), plus seating at a mix of two- and four-seat tables and a communal table. Aesthetically, there's lots of crossover with the flagship, given the white oak walls, gas-pipe lights and worn white curtains. Tile floors, bright red accents, mounted wall plants and lots of wood add a distinct, contemporary Hayes Valley vibe. Pay special attention to the artwork and ceramics: Evan's dad created the restaurant's chicken logo, a friend painted the rooster mural and all the servingware was custom-made for the restaurant by Jered's Pottery in the East Bay.