Two things you may not know about Salt House co-owner Doug Washington: 1) He's Canadian 2) He hates poutine. That's precisely why it's been a menu staple at his restaurant since it opened five years ago. His partner, executive chef Mitch Rosenthal thought it would be a funny joke to put poutine on the opening menu at Salt House. It's not too much of a surprise that the Quebecan comfort food—an unmistakable combination of French fries, cheese and gravy—caught on. "It's fat on fat on fat," says Rosenthal. "People love it."
Here's the good news—the team behind Town Hall, Salt House and Anchor & Hope (brothers Mitch and Steve Rosenthal and Doug Washington) is opening a new restuarant. The bad news? The new restaurant, Irving Street Kitchen, is in Portland, Oregon. Like their restaurants here in San Francisco, Irving Street is housed within a historic building in the Pearl district, amidst many other repurposed warehouses—the construction photos above reveal a very familiar landscape. Not that there's anything wrong with that—the three restaurants they own now have been huge hits here in San Francisco, and we're betting they'll do just as well up North.
Last week I spent a couple of nights revisiting some old restaurants—I hit A16 on Monday, which is now under the able tutelage of Liza Shaw, and then the following night I went to Town Hall, where I had not been in an embarrasing several years. I have been wanting to return ever since I heard that Vernon Morales had come on board as chef. Morales was the chef at the now shuttered Winterland, where he made waves with cuisine that nodded at his previous training, which includes a five-month stint at El Bulli and time at Restaurant Daniel in New York.