Under Construction: Waterbar


Rough sketches of the main bar and dining room.

Growing up, I wanted to be an architect, then a doctor, then a lawyer, then an environmental lobbyist (like Annette Bening in the The American President), but luckily I became a writer. Now I get to learn about such a wide array of activities, issues and events. One day, I could be covering an exotic locale, and the next I could be wearing a bright yellow hardhat and touring what’s likely to be a landmark SF restaurant.

Pat Kuleto giving us the low-down.

That’s what I did on Wednesday afternoon, when I got an inside peek at the construction site that will become Waterbar—the latest Pat Kuleto project in Rincon Park along the Embarcadero (near “Cupid’s Span”). In fact, restaurateur and designer Pat Kuleto—of Jardinière, Nick’s Cove, Boulevard, to name a few—himself took us through the skeleton of what’s to become Waterbar’s dining rooms, bars and kitchen.

The tanks—soon to be filled with fish.

The most striking thing about the space—aside from the sweeping Bay views—is that this restaurant is more like a restaurantarium—or maybe an aquarestaurant? They consulted with folks over at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to construct and fill two enormous columns in the main dining area with colorful fish from around the world— don’t be surprised if you come face to face with a piranha from the Amazon. Then there will be four 150- to 200-gallon tanks by the kitchen full of live fish destined for your plate.

Don't the railings remind you of fish bones?

Chef/co-owner Mark Franz and executive chef Parke Ulriche met at Farallon and share a single vision that the food at Waterbar is going to be fresh and simply prepared, with a fair share of tableside theatrics—along the lines of deboning fish. They have other surprises up their sleeves that are sealed under lock and key until after opening day.

It’s going to be phenomenal—just-hooked fish, tasty drinks, outstanding views…. They broke ground about a year ago, and look to open, along with EPIC Roasthouse, in January ’08. Keep your eyes peeled.

Views from one of the private dining rooms.
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