Located on the north end of Tenderloin, a new restaurant named Huxley opened at the bottom of 850 Geary Street in late October. The restaurant’s opening was a team affair, with chef Sara Hauman (Bar Agricole) commanding the kitchen, Brett Cooper (Rubicon, Outerlands, Aster) consulting on the menu, and owner Kris Esqueda (Saison, Sons & Daughters) managing operations. Given the location’s compact size, the team decided on an equally compact menu providing an old style American cuisine that is both hearty and approachable. The recent weather’s cooler temperatures, stubborn cloud cover, and rainy conditions peaked our mood for comfort food and last week we decided to check out the establishment’s fare. Below is a summary of our experiences.
Exterior / Interior
Sunchoke Soup (Fenugreek, Yogurt) – 10
Half Dungeness Crab (Broccoli Rabe, Chili, Satsuma) – 25
Roasted Pork Chop (Bintje Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage) – 38
Compared to commercial white pork, this example was denser, richer and nuttier. The meat had an ideal amount of outer carbonization and seasoning but overall was mildly overcooked and lacked an adequate amount of juiciness. Luckily, tender portions of highly flavorful fat and a buttery white sauce mostly compensated for the meats slight dryness. The pork was surrounded by an uninspiring array of quartered roasted potatoes and over-salted chewy savoy cabbage.
Cornmeal Jam Tart (Apple Butter, Creme Fraiche) – 8
The freshness and high quality of the soup, crab meat, and dessert exemplified a high level of eagerness and effort in dish selection and preparation. There were flaws, however, which included a slightly overcooked premium pork chop and ordinary side accompaniments. The overcooked meat is to be expected from a new kitchen still working out their rhythms but somewhat ordinary accompaniments reflected a larger area that needs improvement. Instead of an afterthought, the accompaniments need to be uniquely selected and creatively prepared in a manner that celebrates the main ingredient. Overall, we had a satisfactory dining experience at Huxley. It just was not that memorable.