There’s bound to be a lot of flap about Epic Roasthouse in the coming weeks as the reviews begin rolling in—even before the Kuletoville meat house opened, it had garnered a great deal of attention owing to its waterfront location and massive cost. I expect all the reviews will talk about the details: how it’s designed to resemble a pump house that—had it existed during the 1906 earthquake—might have prevented the San Francisco fires, how they’re serving a $45 veal porterhouse (yes, you’re reading that right), how you can see the lights of the Bay bridge twinkling in the not-so-distant distance from nearly every seat in the house.
But in case those reviews don’t mention what I consider to be one of Epic’s biggest selling points, let me do so now. Chocolate Soufflé. Salty Caramel Ice Cream.
There are a lot of bad soufflés out there: dry, collapsed, flavorless. If you have been disappointed like I have, then you know what I’m talking about. But Epic’s soufflé does not disappoint. Because it is (of course) baked to order, you have to be willing to wait 15 minutes. When it arrives at your table, resplendent and puffed, your waiter will split the top and pour in the contents of a small ceramic pitcher: chocolate sauce. Then, as a final coup de grace, a ball of caramel ice cream—rich, salty, with the sharp edge of burnt sugar—is set on top. David Thompson (executive pastry chef): my hat is off.
This isn’t a dessert for people who prefer fruit or cheese to end a meal—there’s nothing wussy or understated about this one, I’m happy to say. And while a perfect bowl of mandarin oranges and dates à la Chez Panisse might be fine, sometimes, there are other nights where only something classic, rich and decadent will do. Now, when that night arrives, you’ll know where to go. You can thank me later.